Thursday, February 19, 2009

Lip Labor - Isaiah 29

"Then the Lord said:
'... this people draw near with their words
and honor Me with their lip service,
but they remove their hearts far from Me,
and their reverence for Me consists of
tradition learned by rote."
(vs 13)

We love games! Far too often we play the part that we want others to believe about us. We vainly think that perception is reality. Reality is that which is known by God. What He knows to be true about us is that which is truly true. We may fool men but we will never fool God Who alone searches the heart and weighs the mind. "Nothing can be hidden from God" including my motives.

The people of Jerusalem are playing their little "God games" here in chapter 29. They draw near to him in lip labor, saying the right things and singing the right songs. In reality their religion is only from their tongues forward. It is merely wind that they blow not breath that they breathe! Here is a vivid description of hypocrisy. They honor God with their words "but they remove their hearts far from Me."

This morning the question before me is - how is my heart? Am I living my life for the praise and confirmation of men or for the glory of God? Do my lips and my heart align? Do I truly love the LORD my God with all my heart, mind, soul and strength? Am I loving my neighbor as myself in word AND in deed AND for the glory of God alone?

Truthfully, there is a root of "people pleasing" in all of us. We like the applause of men. We are naturally lip laborers. Look long enough and you will see some remnant of hypocrite in me - for I am a sinner. I am ever in need of grace. Perhaps the honest acknowledgement of that is what separates the ruined hypocrite from the redeemed hypocrite.

O LORD, please make my lips and life and mind and heart to match up and overflow with the reality of what You have done and are doing in me. Make me to live my chief end which is to "glorify God and to enjoy Him forever." Make my heart near to You my Lord and my God! May my lips and my life be in union with love for my Lord.

Thankful for sanctifying grace,

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