Heartfelt Devotion (Isaiah 29:13–14) - Radical

Heartfelt Devotion (Isaiah 29:13–14)

And the Lord said, “Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me and their fear of me as a commandment taught by men. Therefore, behold, I will again do wonderful things with this people with wonder upon wonder. And the wisdom of their wise men shall perish. And the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden.”
– Isaiah 29:13–14

Just to make clear that last verse, verse 14, talking about God doing wonderful things with this people, wonder upon wonder. That’s not a good wonderful. That’s a wonderful, astounding picture of judgment. And I want you to hear in verse 13, why that is.

Isaiah 29:13–14 provides a picture of what true worship looks like.

Because the Lord said, “This people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips.”

They give lip service to God. They profess to know and worship God, they sing songs to God. And they say things about God. “When in reality their hearts are far from me,” God says. “And their fear of me,” God says, “is a commandment taught by men.” It’s manufactured by men. In other words, when someone knows God and their heart is close to God, is drawn to God, who loves God, then that person doesn’t have to be told to fear God. They see God for who he is. They fear God for who he is.

Because they know him and because they love him and because they worship him. And so I just want to ask you the question today, is your heart close to God? That’s what Isaiah 29:13 beckons us to ask. Not, do you go to church? Or not, do you say that you’re a Christian? Not, do you sing songs to God? Not, do you say things about God?

Isaiah 29:13–14 reminds us that worship begins in the heart.

You can do all those things. You can go to church, you can sing, you can lead out and sing. And you can say all kinds of things about God, but your heart be far from God. That’s the question, is your heart, today, right now, is your heart close to God in such a way that you fear God, you revere him, you worship him, in awe of who he is? Not because someone tells you that’s what you should do. So if your heart is not close to God right now, ask the question, why not? What is keeping you from having a heart close to God?

And pray that God would remove those things, that God would cleanse things in your heart that are keeping you from being close to him. That God would draw you in your heart, in the depth of who you are, to himself in deeper ways. And even if you would say, “Yes, my heart is close to God and I do fear God.” That you would pray the same thing, that God would draw you closer to him and bring you into deeper fear of who he is.

So let’s pray this. Oh God, we want to have hearts that are close to you. God, please keep us from being like these people in Isaiah 29 who drew near to you with their mouths and honored you with their lips, but their hearts were far from you and they didn’t truly fear you. Lord, we pray that that would not be a description of our lives. God, please keep us from getting into any religious routine where we honor you with our lips and yet our hearts are far from you.

This verse encourages us to pour our hearts before God

God, we pray for hearts close to you. We pray that you would open our eyes and help us to see anything, everything in our hearts that’s keeping us from being closer to you. God, we pray that you would remove those things, oh God, please draw us closer to you. We want our hearts to be as close as possible to you. We want to be closer to you tomorrow than this time today.

So God bring about in our lives that our hearts will be drawn closer to you every day. And that we would grow in the fear of you and love for you as the overflow of hearts close to you. And God, we pray that you would help us to lead others to experience life in closeness to you, to be captured by your heart for them.

Prayer for the Mandinka People

God, help us to share the gospel with somebody today. And God we pray for the Mandinka people of Gambia and Guinea-Bissau, for this people group of two and a half million who have mostly never heard the good news of your heart for them, your love for them.

And Jesus God, we pray that would change for the Mandinka, that their hearts would be drawn to you. Send out laborers to the Mandinka, we pray. We pray for the spread of the gospel among the Mandinka of Gambia and Guinea-Bissau, for your glory in the transformation of their hearts, even as we pray for the continual transformation of our hearts. All according to your word in Isaiah:29:3–14. We pray for this in Jesus name. Amen.

David Platt

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


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