So when you stretch out your hands in prayer, I will turn my eyes away from you. Even though you offer many prayers, I will not listen because your hands are covered with blood. “Wash yourselves! Become clean! Get your evil deeds out of my sight. Stop doing evil.
Consider this, you people who forget God. Otherwise, I will tear you to pieces, and there will be no one left to rescue you. Whoever offers thanks as a sacrifice honors me. I will let everyone who continues in my way see the salvation that comes from God.”
When we pray to God, what are we offering Him? In Isaiah chapter 1, the Israelites were offering God the same animal sacrifices that they had been offering since God himself had instituted this bloody system of worship after the Jewish exodus from Egypt. So why were these sacrifices no longer acceptable? Firstly, they no longer had any meaning to the people. It was simply a case of business as usual – this is something we are supposed to do, so let’s get it done. Instead of prostrating themselves before the Lord and weeping at the fact that their sinfulness required the blood of another life to atone for, they killed a few animals out of habit, said the required prayers, and got on with their lives.
And their lives were evil.
Evil. What is that?
Ultimately, evil is not realizing that we are an absolute abomination before the Holy God who created us. Evil is thinking that we are good enough by our own efforts to please God and reach His standards. Evil is forgetting God, and many who call themselves Christians and faithfully attend church multiple times a week have forgotten God.
We carry on with our lives – putting our own desires, comfort and wisdom first. We go to church like good little believers, put our 10% in the bag, and think we are all that and a bag of chips. Sundays and maybe Wednesday evenings we check the right boxes, say our genuinely heartfelt prayers for the poor, suffering world we live in, and think that the rest of the week is ours to fornicate with as we please.
Our Christianity is no longer about God and who He is and what He has done for us. It is about us and who we are and what we can do for ourselves. Our Christianity stinks, because the hands we lift up in prayer are covered with the blood of our own efforts, rather than the blood of the perfect Lamb. Our sacrifice is detestable to God, and He makes it very clear to us what He is going to do with us.
He will tear us to pieces, and there will be no one left to rescue us.
Thankfully, the answer to the problem is as clearly described to us as the problem is.
Wash… become clean… stop doing evil… offer a sacrifice of thanks… continue in God’s way rather than our own ways. God provided Himself as the only acceptable sacrifice. Only God meets God’s standards, and only God was able to survive the punishment due to anyone who can’t meet His standards. Trusting in the Way that God provided for our salvation IS the only way to salvation.
If we go before God with anything in our hearts and minds other than Jesus, He will turn His eyes away from us. Our hands are covered in the wrong blood. But when we turn and follow the Way, and go before God with empty hands and a heart full of thanksgiving, He will show us salvation.
(The doubter) said to Jesus, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going. So how can we know the way?”
Jesus answered, “I am The Way, and The Truth, and The Life. The only way to the Father is through me.