When you come in to visit me,
who asks these things of you?
Trample my courts no more!
Bring no more worthless offerings;
your incense is loathsome to me.
New moon and sabbath, calling of assemblies,
octaves with wickedness: these I cannot bear.
Your new moons and festivals I detest;
they weigh me down, I tire of the load.
When you spread out your hands,
I close my eyes to you;
Though you pray the more,
I will not listen.
Your hands are full of blood!
Wash yourselves clean!
Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes;
cease doing evil; learn to do good.
Make justice your aim: redress the wronged,
hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow.
— Isaiah 1:10-17
The peace of the Lord be with you. Today the reading from Isaiah reminds us of some very important points. Isaiah is addressing the people and reminding them that God has seen both their actions and their motivations. As you can tell from the words, God is not pleased with what he has observed. God knows when we are doing something intentionally with devotion versus the times when we are going through the motions. God makes it clear that what really pleases him is when we show our love for him by taking care of those who are most vulnerable, who are most in need of our assistance.
As difficult as it may be to hear, these half measures and the neglect of the most vulnerable are very offensive to God. For me, these words are painful to hear; but they are helpful because at times I get tired, I get distracted, I get discouraged — and these things affect my motivations and intentions.
Heavenly Father thank you for your instruction today, help me to recognize when I’m not at my best and to ask for your help. May you be glorified and praised by all our motivations, intentions, and actions. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.