When you spread out your hands, I will close my eyes to you; Though you pray the more, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood! Isaiah 1:15 NABRE
Through the prophet Isaiah, God is challenging the people about their transgressions toward worship. They are seen as sinning and rejecting God, not because their worship is not laid down in the law but because their religious practice is done without heartfelt intention. They are offering sacrifices, incense and festivals, but all are rote. What the prophet is inveighing against is religious formalism and the dichotomy between performance and intention. God desires sincerity of heart, virtue, protection of the weak, in other words proper treatment of others. The verse leads to God’s readiness to forgive, to set aside His hostility towards the people if they are willing to have a change of heart, doing so they will eat good things of the land.
God is a judger of hearts. He knows what is in our heart so good works with a poor heart are not received well by God. Generally, these types of acts of charity are to show off for others and not sincere benevolence because we are God’s. The prophet tells the people to learn to do good, this is in order to lead the sort of lives that God wants. Holiness of life requires the daily practice of virtue, whatever circumstances we find ourselves in. Paul speaks about virtues in his often-quoted passage on love, 1 Corinthians 13:1-13. In order to have these virtues we must practice being virtuous. It is not enough to sincerely want to be virtuous. We must make a habit of practicing each virtue through sincere, balanced, calm and patient living; love is seen through deeds, not desire.
What is the state of your heart towards others? Do you practice virtuous living daily?In order to have virtues we must practice being virtuous. It is not enough to sincerely want to be virtuous. We must make a habit of practicing each virtue through sincere, balanced, calm and patient living; love is seen through deeds, not desire. Click To Tweet
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