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Pelajaran 9 _Selasa 23_

Post by admin on Thu Aug 25, 2011 3:21 pm

August 23
No More Vain Oblations
It is easy to forget that so much of the writing of the Old Testament, especially the writings of the prophets, was written as admonitions and warnings to God’s covenant people, to the ones who were His “true church.” Most of these people professed to follow the true God, had a basic understanding of biblical truths (at least much more than their heathen neighbors), and knew the right things to say and do in worship. Yet, as becomes very clear to anyone reading the prophets, all this was nowhere near enough.
Read Isaiah 1:11–15. How are we to understand what the Lord, who instituted all these services, is saying to them?
The answer is found, really, in the few verses that follow (Isa. 1:16–18), which in many ways is similar to what we saw in Sunday’s lesson on Micah. Without question, the church is for sinners, and if we had to wait until we were perfect before we could worship the Lord, then none of us would worship Him.
But that is not what the Bible is saying here or what it ever says. It is saying that God is more interested in how we treat others, especially the weak and helpless among us, than He is in all sorts of religious rituals, even the ones that He instituted.
Read Isaiah 58:1–10. What is wrong with the fasting described here? How does God say that the people should fast? What point can we take from this for ourselves, whether or not we fast?
Fasting is a form of self-denial about which Jesus had much to say. But some kinds of fasting are nothing but a vain show. Fasting can be a symptom of hypocrisy, coveting the privileges of obedience while detesting its responsibilities. Self-denial, motivated by love for God, ministers to those in need. This is the kind of fasting (self-denial) that honors Him. This is the kind of life that leads to the kind of worship that He does not despise, a worship that shows the sinner that, just as he or she has been the recipient of grace and undeserved love, so, too, must he or she dispense grace and undeserved love to others. That is the kind of self-denial that reveals true faith (Luke 9:23), the kind of self-denial at the heart of what it means to be a follower of Jesus.

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