“Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.”
Religion is often used as a word to explain people’s faith and their understanding of a greater power/being than themselves. Religion is also used in a derogatory way when explaining habits and lifestyles that reflect what one believes by the way they act (often external practices yet inwardly empty). However true religion is not bad at all.
In today’s reading we find Israel is in persecution. They have been unfaithful to their first love and as consequence find themselves in ruin and under the rule of a heathen nation. Outwardly they were a very religious people yet inwardly there hearts were completely empty. Living like this may be ok for time, but it eventually has its consequences, separation from God. God knows our hearts and actually He takes no please in our external acts if our inward hearts are not in line with His will. In fact it is our heart relationship with God that should be reflected by our outward actions.
God spoke through Isaiah to tell the people of Israel that He was not interested in their outward acts of religion because He knew that their hearts were far away from Him. “I am sick of your burnt offerings of rams and the fat of the fattened cattle” (verse 11), “Though you offer many prayers, I will not listen” (verse 15). These words may seem harsh from the Lord, but the truth is that their hearts were so opposite from their actions, that it was almost like they were mocking God when they brought sacrifices and offered prayers to Him. God doesn’t want us to live living two lives. He wants our hearts and actions to be reflective of our genuine and true relationship with Him. So what is does this true religion look like?