Wow! I started reading Isaiah today. What a powerful opening! This is the message I have been hearing so clearly from God lately. God wants me to know Him, not my sacrifices.
In much of Isaiah, Chapter 1, God tells the Israelites that He hates their sacrifices and religious festivals. He wants them to learn to do good and seek justice. He tells them to give up their evil ways and help the oppressed, defend the cause of orphans, and fight for the rights of widows. In our day and our society, it would be helping those who are poor and being treated unjustly or unfairly.
Also, the main theme at the beginning of Chapter 1 is that the people don’t even appreciate God at all. They’ve forgotten who created them. Isn’t that so true for our society and culture today? If we would only choose to recognize, honour and obey God. Then He would bless us. Alas, since we refuse to believe in Him, He must withhold His blessings from us.
Even an ox knows its owner,
and a donkey recognizes its master’s care—
but Israel doesn’t know its master.
My people don’t recognize my care for them.”
4 Oh, what a sinful nation they are—
loaded down with a burden of guilt.
They are evil people,
corrupt children who have rejected the Lord.
They have despised the Holy One of Israel
and turned their backs on him. (Isaiah 1:3-4 NLT)
I believe that most people have drifted so far away from God that even if they wanted to start believing in Him and honoring Him with their lives, they would have no idea how to do that or where to start. I love what Pastor Jason taught us. He said to just start with one obedient step. When you hear that still small voice of God in your head telling you to do something, like reading some Bible chapters or verses, or helping that friend in need, or giving to that person whom you know needs help, it just starts like that. Begin to recognize the voice you’re hearing is God, the Holy Spirit directing you.
I believe it’s hard for people to grasp that God exists because they’ve denied His existence for so many generations. It’s such a foreign thought to them. They think it’s silly or weird to think that God is real. However, in reality, it is even sillier and weirder to think God isn’t real. The enemy of our souls has tricked us into thinking there is no God. We have fallen so deeply into unbelief that we think it’s foolish to believe in God. We think we have done everything for ourselves, that we do not need God. The truth is we wouldn’t even be alive if God had not decided to form us. It’s like we spit in the face of God when we deny He exists, but He keeps loving us anyway.
He wants to give us abundant lives but cannot when we deny Him. By abundant, I don’t just mean “financially” abundant. Our society always gets so hung up on money. He may make us wealthy but also gives us other blessings: spiritual, intellectual, physical, and emotional blessings. When we deny Him, we get the life we created for ourselves instead of the amazing life we could have if we acknowledged His existence and His loving care for us. If we started thanking God every day for our lives, His creation and blessings, it would begin a huge shift in our lives. That verse in Matthew 7:7, where Jesus tells us to keep seeking Him, and you will find He is true.
“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. (Matthew 7:7 NLT)
Personally, this is what I have done (even though it often didn’t feel like God was really there). For years, I just kept chasing Him and looking for Him, and now I have found Him. I am feeling closer and closer to Him as I pursue Him. He’s also shown me glimpses of my past to let me know that He’s been there all along, been this close all along, but I just couldn’t see it. I am so confident of His existence and care for myself and my family now. I feel so secure in His love. I wish that every person on this earth could find this life, the life they were created to live, resting peacefully and secure in the love of their Heavenly Father.
Thank you, Father God, thank you for everything! Thank you for not giving up on us!