Isaiah, the prophet, pulls no punches. He’s not really a guy who sugar coats the truth. The Lord gave him a word and he said it.

Isaiah 1: 13 Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting.

God was telling the people to stop the sacrifices, but why? Weren’t they just obeying God’s command? Why would God tell them to disobey?

1 Samuel 15:22 And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.

23For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king.

It would seem that the greater obedience is to listen to the Lord, not to do religious things. During this season, many celebrate Lent. I’m not against Lent at all, but I think it matters less what you’re giving up and more what you’re adding.

My friend posted this today on facebook:

“What an insightful article from Regina Brett in “The Plain Dealer” [excerpted]:

‘Lent can be a dangerous time for holy people. It can be tempting to think that God wants more from you, more sacrifice and service, when all God really wants is your attention. Instead, we add more spiritual clutter to our lives and clog the arteries to our souls by getting busier for God…

…Instead, we add more to our spiritual to-do list. Our holy doing can be our undoing. You can’t earn love, you can’t lose it, and you can’t gain more of it by performing great deeds. You are already loved completely. Instead of fasting for 40 days, why not feast on God’s love?

Holy rest could be our holiest work. It takes great faith to rest in God’s love instead of our own doing.'”

Resting in Gods love, in His voice, in His arms…

Romans 21:1 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.

It would seem that this message of obedience over sacrifice, of intimacy over rigid structure, of love over judgement never goes out of style.