“These people come near to Me with their mouth and honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me.” Isaiah 29:13
On Easter Sunday people flock to church in droves. Easter lilies grace the sanctuaries. Special music fills the air. Voices join in praise to the risen Christ. When ushers take down the extra chairs, the organ postlude ends, and worshipers have filed out of the churches with a “Happy Easter” greeting to all, life returns to normal. Empty pews greet the pastor on succeeding Sundays, and the spirit often seems lacking in worship.
The words of Isaiah aimed at a self-satisfied, hypocritical Israel seem appropriate; “These people come near to Me with their mouth and honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me.” How easy for us to worship only with our lips halfheartedly. In the post-Easter season we do well to reflect on our relationship to God. Admitting that our hearts at times are far away from the risen Savior, we turn to Him for mercy. He offers us His nail-pierced hands of love and forgiveness.
Isaiah offers great hope for our ongoing worship from the heart: “Once more the humble will rejoice in the LORD … those who are wayward in spirit will gain understanding” (Isaiah 29:19, 24). Praise-filled worship waits as we gather with God’s people every Sunday. Moved by the crucified and risen Savior, our mouth and lips reflect the joy of our hearts.
PRAYER: Thank You, Lord God, for bringing me joy through Your forgiveness. May I continually praise You in worship. Amen.
(Devotions from “My Daily Devotion” by Dr. Stephen J. Carter, copyright 1988 CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. For ordering information, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit www.cph.org.)
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