Religion Gone Wrong
Read Isaiah 1:5-3:26
"Your hands are full of blood; wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong, learn to do right!"Isaiah 1:15-17
The disgusting thing about Isaiah's rebellious nation is that they were a religious people (see vv. 10-15). They attended temple services and brought a multitude of sacrifices to the Lord; but their hearts were far from God, and their worship was hypocritical. Judah's worship of Jehovah was iniquity, not piety; and God was sick of it!
But before passing judgement on worshipers in a bygone era, perhaps we should confess the sins of the "worshiping church" today. According to researcher George Barna, 93 percent of the households in the United States contain a Bible, and more than 60 percent of the people surveyed claimed to be religious; but we would never know it from the way people act. One protestant church exists for every 550 adults in America, but does all this "religion" make much difference in our sinful society?
The average church allocates about 5 percent of its budget for reaching others with the gospel, but 30 percent for buildings and maintenance. Where churches have life and growth, such construction may be needed; but too often the building becomes "a millstone instead of a milestone," to quote Vance Havner. At least 62 percent of the people Barna surveyed said that the church was not relevant to today's world and was losing its influence on society. (See The Frog in the Kettle by George Barna, published by Regal Books.) It may be that, like the worshipers in the ancient Jewish temple, we are only going through the motions.