Ezekiel 33:30–33, Matthew 15:1–9 (read online ⧉)
Let’s be honest with ourselves. Let’s look at ourselves. Let’s look at the lives we lead, the lives we live. Is it us that God is talking to Ezekiel about?
Reading only the surface of the Scriptures, of course not. The Israelites had turned prophets into spectacles. Perhaps the merchants and peddlers followed the prophets hawking their wares. Perhaps the people’s hearts were so calloused that even the words of God—sharper than any sword—could not carve the hardness away. Pastors, preachers, teachers, prophets, evangelists, apostles all speaking the Word of God, and no one listens. Truly listens.
When hearing the word of God, do the people respond even with a heartbeat, or does it just go in one ear and out the other? God’s word never returns void, but the human heart often wants nothing to do with feeling the Creator of the universe actually love them. Sound crazy when said that way, yet we look at the world and come to no other conclusion. The sad part is much of that same lack of response occurs in the pews on Sundays. Yes, it’s true. People are concerned about others falling asleep or being on their devices, but the truth is that sometimes sitting there “listening” is a more deceptive behavior than anything else.
The words in Ezekiel continue with empty and pointless worship. Jesus’ words in Matthew while echoing Isaiah also echoing Ezekiel. How many people don’t worship God when singing the songs? How many even listen to the songs?
1) If you are concerned about other people worshiping or listening to the word when you should be, what might be the problem?
2) How do worship traditions strengthen your faith? How could they weaken it?
3) How are the essentials for worship defined? Who defines them?