#DailyDevotion When God Calls You Names
Isaiah 110Hear what the LORD says, you rulers of Sodom; listen to the Word of our God, you people of Gomorrah: 11“Of what use to Me are your many sacrifices?” asks the LORD. “I’ve had enough burnt offerings of rams and enough fat from fattened calves. And I don’t delight in the blood of bulls, lambs, and male goats. 12When you come to appear before Me, who asks for this trampling of My courts? 13Don’t bring any more worthless food offerings. I detest the incense, your festivals on the first of the month, your Sabbaths and calling of assemblies. I can’t stand ungodliness with religious festivals. 14I hate your festivals on the first of the month and at other appointed times. They’ve become a burden to Me, and I’m tired of putting up with them. 15So when you spread out your hands, I will cover My eyes so I won’t see you. Even when you pray a lot, I will not listen — your hands are full of blood.
Can you believe this? Listen to what the LORD says to Israel and Judah. He’s calling them Sodom and Gomorrah! Certainly the Israelites had heard about Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis. They knew what those cities were like. Now the LORD calls them by these names. It wouldn’t be the last time the LORD would make this comparison. However, the sins of the Israelites have surpassed that of the Sodomites, for they had the revelation of the LORD and they had rebelled against it.
It’s quite amusing here for the LORD to be asking “Who told you to bring me these offerings? Who told you I wanted these sacrifices? Who told you to bring offer me this incense, festivals and Sabbaths?” It’s amusing because the LORD did tell the Israelites to offer up these sacrifices. He did command them to offer up incense. He commanded their Sabbaths and assemblies. The LORD commanded the trampling of the courts by his people.
Yet, if anything, what this text teaches us is if our hearts are not in our worship of the LORD our outward actions mean nothing to him. But it isn’t as if the LORD never told them this in the first place. In the Torah, the Law, Deut. 10 it is written, 16“Then circumcise your hearts, and don’t be stubborn anymore.” If you’d rather see a good sermon instead of hear one, you’re probably one of these Israelites because you’re only interested in outward works. You could care less of the intention of the heart of the one doing the good work.
The LORD here though sees their hearts. They are not circumcised. They are worse than the people of Sodom and Gomorrah for they had the Torah, the very instruction of the LORD. They had the witness of their fathers who saw the mighty acts of the LORD delivering them time and again. Yet their hearts did not belong to the LORD. They may have carried out the religious requirements (yet even here they failed because they worshipped other gods and idols) but their hearts were not in it.
Jesus would accuse their descendents of the same thing. He told them if the miracles they had seen and the teaching they had heard would have been done in Sodom and Gomorrah they would have repented and believed, but Capernaum and Jerusalem would not. What matters to God is what is on our hearts. Do we trust his Son Jesus? Have our hearts been circumcised by the Spirit in baptism? (Col. 2:11) Do we come to Church with glad hearts to receive from Christ his gifts or because we have to come? Do we do good to our neighbor because that is what God expects of us or because be believe God has been good to us in Christ Jesus?
The Lord our God does not want our good works if they are not from a heart that believes Jesus died for it. If our works do not flow from fear, love and trust in God above all things, they are but filthy rags to him and you are no better than the Sodomites. Trust in your Father for he has sent you his Son Jesus Christ to reconcile you to him and him to you. In this faith, you will be pleasing to God your Father.
Heavenly Father, create in us faith that trust in Jesus Christ that everything we do may be from a circumcised heart and have your approval. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.