Today as I read Isaiah 58:2-12, I was struck by the realization that the Israelites did observe some semblance of appropriate religious practice. It is easy to assume from the depth of their fall that they totally gave themselves over to paganistic worship without ever thinking again of the one true God. But, in reading the prophets it appears that they did still recognize themselves as God’s chosen people. As such, they still acted as if they called on His Name and worshipped Him, even though their worship of Him was so intermingled with that of idols that they didn’t know where one ended and the other started.
But, the thing that really grabbed me was the contrast between their perception of their own worship and God’s true vision. Look at verse two:
Yet they seek Me day by day and delight to know My ways,
As a nation that has done righteousness
And has not forsaken the ordinance of their God.
They ask Me for just decisions,
They delight in the nearness of God. Isaiah 58:2
But the following verses show that though they claimed to seek God and delight in His ways, their actions proved otherwise. Even in the midst of their so-called worship, their self-centeredness proved that they were out for personal blessing and benefit, not for intimacy with God.
I had to stop and evaluate my own quest for spiritual growth. What is my motivation? What is the true condition of my heart? Do I really want to grow and become more focused on His glory? Or do I seek my own edification?
Too often it’s the latter. I want to be well considered. I want to receive blessings. I want to overflow with joy and peace and be remembered for my confidence in the Lord. None of those are inherently bad, but my motivation in attaining them is me, me, me. It’s selfishness. True growth comes when my motivation is the glorification of God and the edification of others. It comes when I am more concerned that someone else see the hand of God than that I grow another ounce or inch spiritually.
That’s a hard concept to consider. I know I will always battle selfishness and will always hunger for my own relationship with Christ to grow, as well it should. But, I am also challenged to see an increased hunger to grow beyond myself. To make God’s glory my true motivation. As a result, the growth I crave will come in ways more amazing than I could ever imagine!