"Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals I hate with all my being. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening. Your hands are full of blood! " (Isaiah 1:14-15)
As the prophet addresses the people of Israel, he lays into them hard calling out folly after folly. In verses 14 and 15 basically saying, “you’re efforts are worthless and angering. You missed the point entirely. The Lord God has no time for you!”
Misguided efforts. I’m sure the Israelites thought that if they continued action of feasts and festivals then perhaps God would grant grace for their sin and error. But instead of pleasing the Lord, their misunderstanding of the assignment caused even greater angst.
I’m reminded of that Marvel scene between Thor and Loki, where after an emotional argument Loki says to his brother, “I never wanted the throne, I only ever wanted to be your equal.” In that moment, Thor realizes he had it all wrong. All the action and non-actions weren’t meant for Loki’s glory, but to earn Thor’s love and respect. Likewise, I’m reminded of what Pastor Wayne has said about hitting the assignment mark; “We won’t be held accountable for how much we have done, but for how much we have done of what He (God) has asked us to do.”
At the end, it won’t matter how many songs or worship have been written, or how many services were done, or how many people attend church. All our modern-day efforts of feast and festivals aren’t the point of following Jesus. Yes, I do believe they play a part in the big picture, but when the layers are peeled away at the core of every assignment, of every action, needs to be love. Jesus even says it himself when asked what the greatest commandment is. Four words, love God love people. Again, I do believe we can do that through our feasts and festivals, but that’s just the tip of the spear. What needs to penetrate through the heart is our heart to love God love people and change the world.
In order for me to keep the main thing the main thing I need to remember to:
- Connect everything to a soul. It’s not about numbers it’s about connecting soul to soul, heart to heart. We say at New Hope that “a mind can reach a mind but only a heart can touch a heart.” When we connect heart to heart to Jesus and others we not only bless, but receiving blessing.
- Come back to the first love. I need to constantly return to the moment where Jesus touched my heart and every effort and action after came from a pure place of love, gratefulness and hope.
- Listen for His voice. With all the noise I can’t get discouraged if the audible sound of God is drowned out. I need to lean in closer and the best way to do that is stay rooted in His word. I heard it said recently that if you can’t hear God’s voice then ready your Bible out loud!
Jesus, I pray my actions and efforts are a sweet sound in Your ears. Forgive me for losing sight of the assignment and thank you for your grace to refocus my eyes to the target. I pray my faithfulness exceeds the feasts and festivals done in Your name. Purify my heart and make it clean. Amen