Obedience without honor is hypocrisy
And so the Lord says, “These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. And their worship of me is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote. Because of this, I will once again astound these hypocrites with amazing wonders. The wisdom of the wise will pass away, and the intelligence of the intelligent will disappear.” – Isaiah 29:13-14
2 Kings 23:2-25
2 And the king went up to the Temple of the LORD with all the people of Judah and Jerusalem, along with the priests and the prophets – all the people from the least to the greatest. There the king read to them the entire Book of the Covenant that had been found in the LORD’s Temple.
3 The king took his place of authority beside the pillar and renewed the covenant in the LORD’s presence. He pledged to obey the LORD by keeping all his commands, laws, and decrees with all his heart and soul.
24 Josiah also got rid of the mediums and psychics, the household gods, the idols, and every other kind of detestable practice, both in Jerusalem and throughout the land of Judah. He did this in obedience to the laws written in the scroll that Hilkiah the priest had found in the LORD’s Temple.
25 Never before had there been a king like Josiah, who turned to the LORD with all his heart and soul and strength, obeying all the laws of Moses. And there has never been a king like him since.
One hideous development of modern warfare is the IED. IEDs have been in the news for decades. The term IED came into mainstream use during the Iraq War that began in 2003. IEDs are “homemade” bombs and/or destructive devices used to kill, maim, destroy, incapacitate, harass, or distract. They are also called roadside bombs. The IED (Improvised Explosive Device) is constructed out of military materials or whatever other materials are available. There is no one procedure to make an IED. Materials and explosives available vary greatly from place to place. But there are several common features. For example, they are intentionally deceptive and contain a detonation mechanism. They are typically deployed near walkways or along thoroughfares.
Before the advent of the IED, the concealed weapon of choice was the time bomb. A time bomb is an explosive device whose detonation is triggered by a timer.
Sadly, early childhood experiences often set IEDs or time bombs in our spirits. Later in life, they unexpectedly are triggered and go off. Regrettably, we often do not know that they had been planted until they explode and the damage is done.
Obedience without honor is hypocrisy. It creates a time bomb. Outward conformity, without real, deep, heartfelt devotion and love is no more than mere pretense. Worst still, it is utterly offensive to the Father. He desires obedience that flows from a human heart overflowing with love and respect, not superficial, meaningless displays of religious devotion.
6 Jesus replied, “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
7 Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’”
Consider the old cliché about “standing up on the inside.” The story is told of a 4-year old little girl’s mom. Mom has come to the end of her rope regarding the little girl’s misbehavior. She says, “Alexa, go sit in the corner, right now! Don’t get up until I tell you to!” Alexa goes to the corner and sits down. In a few minutes, Alexa retorts, “Mom, I am sitting down on the outside, but I am standing up on the inside!” It is part of our fallen DNA. Sadly, many children of the King are in that mode: outward compliance but inward rebellion. A rebellious spirit is invisible and often indiscernible. Often only the Father and the person themselves know what exists.
If we are rebelling on the inside, no matter how good it may appear on the outside, we are not really obeying at all.
Malachi 1:10 “How I wish one of you would shut the Temple doors so that these worthless sacrifices could not be offered! I am not pleased with you,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, “and I will not accept your offerings.”
REFLECT & PRAY
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
Father you know the secrets of our hearts. Search my heart and reveal what You want me to see and address.
How do these time bombs get set? There are planted by insults to the tender, vulnerable spirits of little children.
Consider a little boy whose dad is never home. He spends most of his time talking with his mom. He grows into his teenage years; his conversations often turn into arguments. An invisible IED is planted that it’s okay and normal to argue with a woman. Later in life, he marries young lady and the homemade bomb is triggered and goes off, and he begins to argue with her. Their relationship is marred.
Consider the little girl who obeys her parents purely out of fear of the consequences of not doing so. There is no love or respect. Later in life, she marries a young man. Her hidden IED goes off. She does not respect or value his wishes or opinions. She merely goes along to keep the peace, but she churns inside. Over time they grow further and further apart and they have no conscious awareness on why.
These time bombs are insidious and diabolical. Children of the King enter the kingdom with live time bombs ready to explode at any time. They have no idea that these incendiary devices lurk inside primed and waiting to go off.
Why is it important that we become aware of our triggers and explosive responses? We often go into denial and hide the truth from ourselves and also attempt to hide them from the Father as well. How foolish to try to get something by Him. The Father knows everything all the time.
15 What sorrow awaits those who try to hide their plans from the LORD, who do their evil deeds in the dark! “The LORD can’t see us,” they say. “He doesn’t know what’s going on!”
16 How foolish can you be? He is the Potter, and he is certainly greater than you, the clay! Should the created thing say of the one who made it, “He didn’t make me”? Does a jar ever say, “The potter who made me is stupid?”
Is there any way to uncover and safely remove our inner explosive devices? Yes, of course. The Father knows us thoroughly and He searches every heart. He is able to reveal our weaponized wounds.
9 The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?
10 But I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives.
He will reveal them to each child of the King if they desire Him to do so. The process can be long and arduous. But will redemption and freedom are at the end of the tunnel.
Isaiah 1:18 Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD, though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.