Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Our Old Testament passage for this week is from Isaiah 1:10-18. Here, God condemns the Israelites for bringing sacrifices and celebrating their festivals, times set aside for God. What’s going on with this passage? It can easily be used as a statement against the forms of worship. God doesn’t want us to bring offerings, to make sacrifices, or to celebrate holidays.
The passage doesn’t say that. What it does say is that God is not pleased with the way Israel is worshiping. They have neglected forgiveness. They scorn God’s mercy and grace. They make his sacrifices, feasts, and festivals all about themselves rather than about him.
In this passage, God calls his people to repentance and trust. They are to find all they need in him, not in their own obedience. This does not mean that the people of Israel are not to obey. The sacrifices have not yet been fulfilled in Christ. The eternal rest in Christ is not yet supplied. God’s people still dedicate themselves to him. But that’s just the point. They dedicate themselves to God. It does not go the other way. All our holidays, all our worship, all our devotional life is to point to God’s mercy. It is not about what we do. It’s about who God is. Our role, though we seem to be bringing something to the table, is really to bring ourselves and receive God’s mercy.
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