One day some Pharisees and teachers of religious law arrived from Jerusalem to see Jesus. They noticed that some of his disciples failed to follow the Jewish ritual of hand washing before eating. (The Jews, especially the Pharisees, do not eat until they have poured water over their cupped hands, as required by their ancient traditions. Similarly, they don’t eat anything from the market until they immerse their hands in water. This is but one of many traditions they have clung to—such as their ceremonial washing of cups, pitchers, and kettles.)
So the Pharisees and teachers of religious law asked him, “Why don’t your disciples follow our age-old tradition? They eat without first performing the hand-washing ceremony.”
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.
Their worship is a farce,
for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’
For you ignore God’s law and substitute your own tradition.”NLT
Another translation puts it this way:——————-
“Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written,
“‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’
You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.” ESV
We have tradition vs. the Word of God/His commands. Do we find ourselves holding on to traditions over God’s Word? Jesus said that makes us a hypocrite. We do well to be aware of the origin of what we do. Hold all before the light of the Word to see if it be of God. We do well to be sure our energies are put into following His commands over man’s traditions. We do well to do all things from the heart. Jesus quotes Isaiah, “These people honor me with their lips.” Lip service rather than heart service. Man’s rules rather than God’s laws/commands. Jesus plainly puts it out there for us. This worship that is only lip service, traditional man-made, is in vain – it is not from the heart.
Where is our faith? In God or man? What we actually do shows what we actually believe. How much of what we do is man-based rather than God driven? We need to be alert to what causes us to do what we do… Where is our focus and do we spend enough time in the Word to be able to tell the difference? Is our worship real, genuine?
When we worship is it from the heart? Do we put as much effort into following God’s commands as we do our traditions? Do we have the sometimes intense concern to comply with ‘rules’ without considering whether they be of God or man? Who is Lord…?
We can know who He is and what He does. We can know who He says we are, what we can do through Christ. We can have God’s Word alive and active in us! Our worship can be real!!