Each Sunday countless people congregate in church buildings to worship God. But for many of them, going to church is merely an item on their checklist—an activity that fulfills their “spiritual duty.” Although they may be moved by the music and sermon, they quickly lose the feeling and return to a life in which God seems distant, and the world’s pleasures begin to look more attractive.
Isaiah’s time apparently wasn’t so different from ours. Listen to God’s assessment: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught” (Isa. 29:13 NIV).
What is the solution when God’s people begin to take Him for granted? Isaiah’s encounter with the Lord in today’s reading provides a good example. When he saw God’s awesome holiness, Isaiah was filled with fear and profound awareness of his own sin. In distress, he cried out, “Woe is me, for I am ruined!” (Isa. 6:5). After being cleansed from his sin, his one desire was to serve the Lord as His prophet, and he said, “Here am I. Send me!” (Isa. 6:8).
Although it’s unlikely we will experience a vision like this, every time we open God’s Word, we have an opportunity to see “the King, the Lord of hosts” (Isa. 6:5) as Isaiah did. What’s even more amazing is that this majestic, holy God invites us into an intimate relationship with Him through His Son.
If your spiritual life has become too mechanical, it’s time to approach your time with God differently. Pray for a heart that is open to a true encounter with Him, and wait patiently for His provision.