The LORD says: "These people come near to Me with their mouth and honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me." Isaiah 19:13
When a branch of the St. Louis public library was to be closed for lack of use, some 2,000 persons of the neighborhood signed their names to a petition to keep it open. It was found, however, that only about 10 percent of the signers had library cards.
What people do very often lags far behind of what they say. Performances fall short of promises. Ideals considered good for others are not fulfilled by those who plead for them.
The mouths of many are far more "obedient" than their hearts, the Lord said through the prophet Isaiah. Lips say yes, but their lives say no. This inconsistency was noted by Jesus. That is why in Matthew 15:8 He quoted this text when the Pharisees insisted on observing the man-made ceremonial law of hand-washing but left the true Word and will of God undone.
During the days of Jesus' final suffering, the fickleness, if not the perversity, of human nature became most clear. Where was Peter on Good Friday after he had so strongly affirmed his loyalty to Christ? When Jesus announced His final journey to Jerusalem, Thomas said to the other disciples, "Let us also go, that we may die with Him" (John 11:16). Noble words, yes, but where was he after our Lord's arrest in Gethsemane? And where was he when on Easter evening the risen Savior appeared to the ten disciples?
Jesus said to Pontius Pilate that His servants "would fight to prevent My arrest" (John 18:36) if His were an earthly kingdom. Apparently many had promised to stand by Him. But where were they now--those thousands who after the miraculous feeding were ready to crown Him a king?
Our Lord, who gave His life for us, is certainly pleased when, in thankfulness, we come near to Him and honor Him with our lips, as we do in this devotion. It pleases Him above all if our declared loyalty passes from hearts to mouths, from lips to lives lived for Him. Then we are in harmony not only with ourselves but also with Him.
PRAYER: Lord God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and our Father, help us to be true to You till death. Amen.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, 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. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)
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