by the Rev. Andrew Kuyvenhoven
Isaiah's God is the Holy One of Israel. In God's presence we have to be morally clean. God has chosen his Servant, who will rule in righteousness in a kingdom of peace.
"When you spread out your hands in prayer ... I will hide my eyes from you, even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood" (Isa. 1:15).
The people of Jerusalem thought they pleased God with their good attendance and generous sacrifices at all their religious festivals. But Isaiah shocked them by saying, "God is utterly weary of your feasts and offerings. When you lift up your hands in prayer, God doesn't even want to look or listen. Unless you seek justice, help the oppressed, support the weak, and do what is right, your worship is a big lie."
We should not assume that God always likes our worship either. And we should stop feeling righteous just because we go to church. In the religious environment in which I grew up, a person's piety was measured by the number of church services he or she attended. How astonished we would have been if God had said to us: "My soul hates all this talk and all these songs; don't come here to sing your psalms if you intend to return to the corruption and dishonesty in your everyday life!"
Religious activities can never cover up a crooked life. Israel could not fool God with a smoke screen of sacrifices, and we cannot distract him with a rousing hymn sing.
Worship is the climax of lives that are lived to the glory of God. You and I cannot be God's covenant partners on Sunday if we keep company with the devil on Monday. Our songs of worship make a screechy sound in God's ears when our lives are not in tune with our Maker's will.
Andrew Kuyvenhoven's Daylight, a modern devotional classic, was originally published in 1994. This edition is copyright by Faith Alive Christian Resources, from whom may be ordered Daylight, the predecessor of Twilight.
A man of many accomplishments, Andrew Kuyvenhoven is probably best known for his contributions to Today (formerly The Family Altar), a widely-used monthly devotional booklet associated with the Back to God Hour. Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations for this edition of Twilight are from the New International Version