Do you imagine God needs you, your worship, or your works? He doesn’t. He doesn’t even want ritualistic superficial worship. He is not blessed by your singing songs to Him while you think about your lunch plans. He is not blessed by sacrifices made down to the letter of the law if the heart is not in it. God is blessed by the person whose sacrifice is their pride, who worships Him in truth and spirit, and who believes and obeys Him. Verses 1-3 put it this way,
“Thus says the Lord:
“Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool;
what is the house that you would build for me,
and what is the place of my rest?
2 All these things my hand has made,
and so all these things came to be,
declares the Lord.
But this is the one to whom I will look:
he who is humble and contrite in spirit
and trembles at my word.
3 “He who slaughters an ox is like one who kills a man;
he who sacrifices a lamb, like one who breaks a dog's neck;
he who presents a grain offering, like one who offers pig's blood;
he who makes a memorial offering of frankincense, like one who blesses an idol.
These have chosen their own ways,
and their soul delights in their abominations;”
If you have not humbled yourself to worship God in your spirit, then your acts of worship are mere posturing and you may as well be insulting Him rather than praising Him with your lips or ceremonies. God considers those whose worship is shallow and insincere His enemies.
God doesn’t need you, you need Him. He desires you to be in a real relationship with Him. He wants you to know the joy and love He has for you. Following Jesus is not about following rules and conforming to the standards of the church. Following Jesus is about being a friend of God and transforming to the image of Christ.
God promises recompense to His enemies and reward to His friends. Believer, you may feel injustice now as you suffer hate and injustice for your faith, but God is a God of justice and He assures you that they will pay for their wrongs. He promise His friends not only future rewards but compensations and gifts now as well. Your relationship with Him gives you relief and help from the Almighty. The same God who will destroy your enemies preserves you. Verses 12-14 read,
“For thus says the Lord:
“Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river,
and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream;
and you shall nurse, you shall be carried upon her hip,
and bounced upon her knees.
13 As one whom his mother comforts,
so I will comfort you;
you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.
14 You shall see, and your heart shall rejoice;
your bones shall flourish like the grass;
and the hand of the Lord shall be known to his servants,
and he shall show his indignation against his enemies.”
Do you try to make yourself better? Do you do all you can to be good? You can’t make yourself good. You can’t ever do enough to make yourself good enough. Trying to make yourself good enough is an atrocity to God, just as if you sacrificed a pig and drank its blood. Verse 17 puts it like this,
“Those who sanctify and purify themselves to go into the gardens, following one in the midst, eating pig's flesh and the abomination and mice, shall come to an end together, declares the Lord.”
God doesn’t want your convoluted methods to show Him you are a good Christian. He doesn’t want your elaborate ways of saying you love Him. He wants you to know Him, love Him, and follow Him with your whole heart, mind, soul, and strength. He wants a mutual camaraderie and deep familiarity with you.
God knows your heart. He knows the hearts of everyone. He discerns the affected from the genuine. There are two ends. One for God’s friends and one for His enemies. Verses 22-24 describe them,
“For as the new heavens and the new earth
that I make
shall remain before me, says the Lord,
so shall your offspring and your name remain.
23 From new moon to new moon,
and from Sabbath to Sabbath,
all flesh shall come to worship before me,
declares the Lord.
24 “And they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.”
Examine your walk with the Lord. Is Jesus truly your Lord or is it you in charge? Is your worship earnest? Perhaps there is some mendacity or hollowness to your worship. God reveals those things to you so you can give them to Him. Let Him purify you. Let Him transform you. Humble yourself before your Lord God before He humbles you.