#DailyDevotion The LORD Our God Doesn’t Practice Magick
Isaiah 583”‘Why don’t You see our fasting? Why don’t You know how we deny ourselves? Look, when you fast, you do what you want; you mistreat all your workers.’ 4Look, you know you fast only to quarrel and fight and hit with a wicked fist. The fasting you do now will not get you a hearing above. 5Is this the kind of fasting I want, when a man denies himself for a day? Is it to bow your head like a cattail and make your bed of sackcloth and ashes? Do you call this fasting, a day that pleases the LORD?”
The LORD, the God of Israel, doesn’t practice magick. What do I mean by magick? Magick is like chemistry and is very transactional on spiritual level. If you do x, y and z and you say the right words the a, b and c will happen. The Israelites are practicing magick here. They think if they fast, if they don’t eat, if the perform the appropriate rituals, then the LORD has to answer their prayers and perform for them what they want him to do.
Yet that is not how the LORD works. A lot of Christians think the LORD operates this way as well. If they say the prayer of Jabez then things will go great for them. If say this prayer from the bible or that prayer from the bible, God will hear and perform. Many believe if they tithe their income then the LORD will have to bestow blessings upon them. If they fast then the LORD will have to hear, listen and perform according to their wishes. Yet the LORD doesn’t work like that.
Yes the LORD wants us to pray and prayers from the Bible are good examples to follow and to do. Yes, the LORD does promise to reward those who give to him. Yes, it is a good practice to fast and humble yourselves before the LORD. But the LORD our God doesn’t look merely at the outward actions of men to decide how to respond to them.
Look at how the LORD responds to their complaint! When they fast they are acting according to their own selfish wills and desires. They are sinning by mistreating their workers. When they fast they are quarreling and fist fighting. The LORD asks, “Is this the kind of thing I’m asking for when I call you to fast?”
1 Sam. 16:7 “the LORD looks into the heart.” Yes, our intentions the LORD looks at when we perform the outward signs he commands. Not only were the Israelites not right in their hearts towards the LORD when they performed their religious acts, the rest of their lives also witnessed to their wicked hearts. Their lives were self-centered, selfish and were only thinking of themselves. They did think about being good to others because they loved God. No, in their hearts they hated God and thought he could be bargained with by mere actions, rituals and the right words.
Jesus says, “This is the work of God, that you believe in the one the Father has sent and to love your neighbor as yourself.” Without fear, love and trust in God and in his Son Jesus Christ, every good thing you do is wicked before God. Everything done apart from faith is sin. If your outward actions are wicked toward your brothers, your heart is most certainly not right with God and nothing you do or say can move him to be gracious to you. So set your heart to trust God’s Son and to love your neighbor with the love God has given you.
Heavenly Father, we confess our unworthiness and beg your grace to hear our prayers. Give us your Holy Spirit that we may act with a right heart. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.