Lip Service

Friday, March 24, 2017, 1:20 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “When in The Stillness.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Isaiah 29:13-24 (NASB).

With Their Words (vv. 13-14)

Then the Lord said,

“Because 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,
Therefore behold, I will once again deal marvelously with this people, wondrously marvelous;
And the wisdom of their wise men will perish,
And the discernment of their discerning men will be concealed.”

There are many people in this world who profess to believe in God, in Jesus Christ, but their belief is profession only, and not in transformation of the heart. Their acts of faith are performance only. They go through the rituals of religious practice, but it is only for show. They want people to believe they have faith in God, or that they are Christians, but their lifestyles say the opposite. Or, they may have, at one time, turned their hearts to the Lord, but have since wandered away from him, yet they keep up a façade of faith, as though they are truly walking in faith, when they are really living in sin.

They talk the walk, but they don’t walk the walk. They may read their Bibles, and know all kinds of scriptures, and they may even be teachers or preachers of the Word of God, but they don’t put the Word into practice in their own lives. They are hearers of the Word, but not doers of the Word. They are just going through the motions, so they look like Christians to others, but oftentimes this is to cover-up for evil. They want to look good on the outside so people will think they are good, all the while they hide an insidious lifestyle when behind closed doors, where no one can see but God.

In Dark Places (vv. 15-16)

Woe to those who deeply hide their plans from the Lord,
And whose deeds are done in a dark place,
And they say, “Who sees us?” or “Who knows us?”
You turn things around!
Shall the potter be considered as equal with the clay,
That what is made would say to its maker, “He did not make me”;
Or what is formed say to him who formed it, “He has no understanding”?

Sometimes it is those who seem to be the most sincere, honest, and trustworthy who are the biggest danger to others. They appear as “Mr. Nice Guy,” or as “Ms. Sweetness,” when, in reality, they are nothing of the kind. They are not to be trusted because their façade is a clever disguise to lure unsuspecting minds into deception or into sin. Yet, this may not be obvious. They are good at hiding their sins from other people, but not from God. He always sees what is going on behind closed doors. Yet, they have the illusion that God doesn’t see or that he doesn’t care, or that he will do nothing, or that he delights in them even when they are living in sinful rebellion against him. Yet, by their lifestyles, they deny the Lord who made them.

One of the biggest ways this is being acted out in the Christian world today, I believe, is via the viewing of pornography and/or engaging in conversations via private chats between people of interest who are married to others. With the use of smart phones, tablets (I Pads, etc.) and laptop computers, a man or a woman, or a child, can look at pornographic images or have private chats with a love (romantic) interest in total secrecy and privacy right in his or her own home, and even with no one suspecting. One doesn’t even have to venture out of one’s own home to commit adultery. Yet, you may think “no one sees” and thus “no one knows,” but God knows.

Blinded Eyes Opened (vv. 17-21)

Is it not yet just a little while
Before Lebanon will be turned into a fertile field,
And the fertile field will be considered as a forest?
On that day the deaf will hear words of a book,
And out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see.
The afflicted also will increase their gladness in the Lord,
And the needy of mankind will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.
For the ruthless will come to an end and the scorner will be finished,
Indeed all who are intent on doing evil will be cut off;
Who cause a person to be indicted by a word,
And ensnare him who adjudicates at the gate,
And defraud the one in the right with meaningless arguments.

This is hope, is it not? It is hope that, one day, those who are now giving lip service and performance only to God, and who are hiding their evil deeds in secret, can be brought to a place of repentance. It is hope that, one day, those who are blinded to their own sins, via lying to themselves over and over again, will have their blinded eyes opened. They will finally face the reality of their sinful condition, and will, in truth, turn from their sins and will turn to follow Jesus Christ in obedience and in surrender to his will. Though not all will, this gives us hope that some will, and that is encouraging!

Although I don’t wish that anyone should perish and be cut off from God, I know that not all will turn their hearts to God. And, that is a sad reality. Although I don’t wish harm to anyone or that they be punished for eternity for their sin, I know that many will reject Christ, and that they will face eternal damnation, and the thought of that brings tears to my eyes. I do desire, though, that they would face some type of divine discipline and correction that would get their attention, so that they will turn their hearts to God, so that they will not remain lost in their sins, and so they will have the hope of eternal life with God. Yet, I also weep over those who are victims (or targets) of the wicked, who have had to endure their abuses, disdain and persecutions. I rejoice that, one day, the godly, who are now oppressed and afflicted, will be relieved of their suffering. That brings me great joy!

Godly Wisdom (vv. 22-24)

Therefore thus says the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob:

“Jacob shall not now be ashamed, nor shall his face now turn pale;
But when he sees his children, the work of My hands, in his midst,
They will sanctify My name;
Indeed, they will sanctify the Holy One of Jacob
And will stand in awe of the God of Israel.
“Those who err in mind will know the truth,
And those who criticize will accept instruction.

This is a picture of salvation from sin and of God’s awesome grace. It is also a picture of a revival of the wayward church who has returned to her Lord. Sometimes things look so hopeless in this world of ours when we see evil prevailing and the wicked continuing in their wicked ways, and the godly being oppressed and persecuted. And, we wonder when the eyes of the blind will finally be opened, and the deceived will now have understanding. We see so much pain and sorrow all around us, and we wonder when it will finally be over, and when God will revive his adulterous church and will turn their hearts back to him. Yet, we do not give up hope. We persevere. And, we wait on God and trust him that he has all things under his control.

And, so, we walk by faith and not by sight. We take life one day at a time, and we trust God to work in both our lives and in the lives of others.

When in The Stillness / An Original Work / September 26, 2011

When in the stillness of this moment,
Speak to me, Lord, I humbly pray.
Be my desire, set me on fire,
Teach me to love always.
Help me to walk in fellowship with You,
Listening to You; sit at Your feet.
Whisper Your words to me,
Oh, how gently, guiding me in Your truth.

While we are waiting for Your blessing,
Lord, in our hearts be King today.
Help us to live for you ev’ry moment,
List’ning to what You say.
May we not stray from your word within us,
Help us obey You, Lord, in all things,
Walking each moment, Lord, in Your presence,
Our offerings to You bring.

Help us to love You, Lord, our master;
Be an example of Your love,
Helping the hurting, lift up the fallen,
Showing them Your great love.
Teach them to love You, follow You always,
Bearing their cross and turning from sin;
Walking in daily fellowship with You,
Making You Lord and King.

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