Thomas McCauley said…

The test of one’s true character is what one would have done if one were not caught out.

Isaiah 29:13 The Lord says: ‘‘These people come near to me with their mouth and honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.

I think we all struggle with hidden agendas, wrong deeds and attitudes that no one knows about. Actually, these things are expressions of our true character.

We are able to deceive other people. We can be known as somebody with strong convictions. We can plead for more prayer meetings at the church and more lively services. We can fight against abortion. But is this talk just to boost ourselves? Is it just talking?

The Lord knows everything about us. He knows when we honour Him with our mouths while our hearts are far from Him (29:13). Nothing is secret before God (29:15).

Israel, the prophet says, were hypocrites. First of all they became spiritually blind (29:10). God's will became too difficult for them to understand or to read (29:11-12). Furthermore, they thought that it was sufficient to worship God according to the rules of people (29:13). These two aspects of their hypocrisy are related. When we serve God the way we want to serve him, according to our own rules, we also become deaf for His word. We understand it as it suits us. We don’t like any sharp words from the prophet (29:9-13). One then easily makes the preacher someone who does not really understand God’s will, or we get rid of him/her. Or we just say, “Leave me alone. I know what is right.”

Israel’s disobedience was the reason why the landed up in the Babylonian exile. The city of God became a city of judgement. However, many centuries later outside Jerusalem, the judgment of God fell upon the Son of God, so that we could be liberated from the judgment we deserved. This is how God freed us from the spiritual blindness and made us new. Now we can serve him in truth and sincerity - with heart and lives and mouths!

God of grace, you set me free by the blood of Jesus Christ. Free me from hypocrisy, by the power of your Spirit. Amen.