Stop bringing meaningless offerings!
(Alexander Smellie, "The Hour of Silence" 1899)
"Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations — I cannot bear your evil assemblies! Your New Moon festivals and your appointed feasts, My soul hates! They have become a burden to Me; I am weary of bearing them!" Isaiah 1:13-14
It is not mere outward ritual which God asks from me.
God desires my adoration:
a sense of His solemn and consummate holiness;
a bowing low in heart and mind before the sevenfold radiance of His majesty;
a realizing of His infinite condescension in suffering and dying for me.
I cannot be too reverent when I am face to face with Him.
God desires my confession:
a feeling of the evil of my doings, not superficial — but deep and penetrating;
an abhorring of myself, and a repentance in dust and ashes;
a cry from the depths, "In me dwells no good thing!"
I have need to understand more vividly, more humblingly, the exceeding sinfulness of sin.
God desires my petitions:
a sincere pouring out of my soul's desires;
a taking fast hold of God's almighty strength;
a clinging with both hands earnestly to the Rock of Ages.
Simply, naturally, explicitly, whole-heartedly, let me unbosom my necessities to Him — that He may answer them according to His wise and holy will.
God desires my thanksgiving:
thanksgiving which is thanks-living also;
a humble ceasing to do evil, and a patient learning to do well;
a glad and grateful obedience;
a bondslave's vow, "I love my Master — I will not go out free!"
Jesus Christ asks all, from the innermost pulsation of conscious being — to the most tangible outworks of my life!
Such is the service my God will welcome — my God who hates all meaningless offerings, and who is wearied with mere ritualism and formality.