God HATES HYPOCRICY in our WORSHIP: "Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: 'These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.' "(Matt 15:7-9)
Our Lord Jesus Christ had harsh words to speak about the scribes and Pharisees from Jerusalem (the religious elite) who tried to find fault against the disciples of Jesus who did not do the ceremonial cleansing before they ate food. Jesus bluntly told them that they were fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah 29:13: Therefore the Lord said: "Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men" (Isaiah 29:13). Isaiah spoke it of the men of that generation to which he prophesied, yet Christ applies it to these scribes and Pharisees.
These scribes and Pharisees professed to honor God with their lips, but their heart was far from Him. Their worship was worthless because they were giving higher priority to the traditions of men than to the Word of God. How were the scribes and Pharisees hypocritical in their worship?
- They drew close to God through empty words showing to others their spiritual piety as they were the ‘professional’ worshipers of Israel.
- Inwardly there was no love towards God; they just made their voices to be heard as a lip service (Isaiah 58:4).
- Their hearts were far from God even during their motions of worship.
Let us clearly understand that hypocrisy is a contradiction between our words and deeds. We show hypocrisy when we praise and worship God, but our hearts are not in our worship (vv. 5-7). We are eager to listen to God’s word, but we do not do what God requires from us (Ezek. 33:31-32). We preach to others only and not to ourselves (Rom. 2:21-23; Psalms 50:16). God hates hypocrisy in our worship – let us avoid it at all cost!
"This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness." (Eph 4:17-19)