Heroes of the Bible

Hypocrisy: Calloused Hearts

Isaiah told people to open their ears to hear and understand. Isaiah told people to open their eyes to see and perceive. Isaiah told people to remove the callouses from their hearts. Isaiah told people to reject the temptations of the Power of Money, the Power of Religion, and the Power of the Kingdoms of the World. Instead, the people needed to love the one and only God with all their heart and soul and strength. The people needed to love becoming people who become like the LORD—people who are compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. (Exodus 34:6-7).

When the LORD sent the Prophet Isaiah to the people of Israel, the LORD warned him that he faced a discouraging task. (Isaiah 6:1-13).

Why?

Because the hearts of the people had become calloused. They were ever hearing, but not understanding. They were ever seeing, but not perceiving. (Isaiah 6:9-10).

Why were they not hearing and understanding? Why were they not seeing and perceiving?

All they like sheep had gone astray. (Isaiah 53:6).

They had turned aside from loving the LORD their God with all their heart and with all their soul and with all their strength. (Deuteronomy 6:5).

They had become “a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption! They [had] forsaken the LORD; they had spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on him.” (Isaiah 1:4).

They had turned aside from loving the LORD—they had forsaken and spurned the Holy One of Israel—because they were following the Power of Money, the Power of Religion, and the Power of the Kingdoms of the World.

I often denounce the temptations of the Power of Money, the Power of Religion, and the Power of the Kingdoms of the World.

Why?

These were the three temptations that Jesus had to overcome during 40 days in the wilderness near the start of his public ministry. (Matthew 4:1-11: Luke 4:1-13; see my blogs listed below under READ MORE).

Furthermore, the Scriptures that Jesus quoted to overcome these temptations were based upon these three temptations that Israel struggled to overcome during 40 years in the wilderness near the start of its existence as a nation. (Deuteronomy 8:3; Deuteronomy 6:13; Deuteronomy 6:16).

These three temptations also led Ancient Israel astray in the time of Isaiah.

Isaiah denounced the ways the people were following the Power of Money. He said:

“Woe to you who add house to house

   and join field to field

till no space is left

   and you live alone in the land” (Isaiah 5:8).

“Woe to those who rise early in the morning

   to run after their drinks,

who stay up late at night

   till they are inflamed with wine

They have harps and lyres at their banquets,

   pipes and timbrels and wine,

but they have no regard for the deeds of the LORD,

   no respect for the work of his hands.”

(Isaiah 5:11-12).

Isaiah denounced the ways the people were following the Power of Religion.

The LORD had had all he could take of their sacrifices to show off their religious zeal. The LORD detested such meaningless offerings. They were detestable to him. (Isaiah 1:11-13).

The LORD hated with all his being their feasts and festivals to show off their religious fervor. Such hypocritical feasts and festivals had become a burden to him. He was weary of bearing them. (Isaiah 1:13-15).

The hands of the people were full of blood. And so, when they spread their hypocritical hands in prayer, he hid his eyes from them. Even when they offered many prayers to show off their religious zeal, he was not listening. (Isaiah 1:15).

Instead of relying on the Power of Religion, the LORD told the people to:

“Wash and make yourselves clean.

   Take your evil deeds out of my sight;

   stop doing wrong.

Learn to do right; seek justice.

   Defend the oppressed.

Take up the cause of the fatherless;

   plead the case of the widow.”

(Isaiah 1:16-17).

Isaiah denounced the ways the people were following the Power of the Kingdoms of the World. He said:

“Your rulers are rebels.

   partners with thieves;

they all love bribes

   and chase after gifts.

They do not defend the cause of the fatherless;

   the widow’s case does not come before them.”

(Isaiah 1:23).

Isaiah told people to open their ears to hear and understand. Isaiah told people to open their eyes to see and perceive. Isaiah told people to remove the callouses from their hearts.

Isaiah told people to reject the temptations of the Power of Money, the Power of Religion, and the Power of the Kingdoms of the World.

Instead, the people needed to love the one and only God with all their heart and soul and strength.

The people needed to love becoming people who become like the LORD—people who are compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. (Exodus 34:6-7).

If people turned to the LORD, the LORD would forgive their wickedness, rebellion and sin. The LORD promised:

“Though your sins are like scarlet,

   they shall be white as snow;

though they are red as crimson,

   they shall be [white] like wool.”

(Isaiah 1:18).

The three temptations of the Power of Money, the Power of Religion, and the Power of the Kingdoms of the World continue to challenge all Humanity today.

Therefore, Isaiah’s challenge to the people of Ancient Israel challenges all Humanity today.

All Humanity needs to stop forsaking the LORD, spurning the Holy One of Humanity, and turning their backs on him.

All Humanity needs to stop being led astray by the Power of Money, the Power of Religion, and the Power of the Kingdoms of the World.

All Humanity needs to remove the callouses from their hearts by hearing and understanding, seeing and perceiving.

All Humanity needs to follow the Way of Jesus—the Holy One of Humanity—who embodies the personality of: “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands [of generations], and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.” (Exodus 34:6-7; Matthew 5:17; John 1:1-14).

All Humanity needs to turn to the LORD so that, though our sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though our sins are red as crimson, the amazing grace of the LORD’s compassion shall make our sins as white as wool.

Then the vision of Isaiah shall be fulfilled:

   “In the last days

the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established

   as the highest of the mountains;

it will be exalted above the hills,

   and all nations will stream to it.

Many peoples will come and say,

‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,

   to the temple of the God of Jacob.

He will teach us his ways,

   so that we may walk in his paths.’

The law will go out from Zion,

   the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

He will judge between the nations

   and will settle disputes for many peoples.

They will beat their swords into plowshares

   and their spears into pruning hooks.

Nation will not take up sword against nation,

   nor will they train for war anymore.”

(Isaiah 1:2-4)

READ MORE

For my thoughts about the Temple and Jesus, please read my blog “Building the Temple—Jesus”.

For my thoughts about the Temple and Isaiah, please read my blog “Building the Temple—Isaiah”.

For my thoughts arising out of the three temptations that Jesus had to overcome during 40 days in the wilderness near the start of his public ministry, please read my blogs: “Do Not Live on ‘Bread’ Alone”, “Do Not Jump Off the Temple”, “Do Not Seek the Kingdoms of the World and Their Authority”, “Beware the Power of Money”, “Beware the Power of Religion”, “Beware the Power of the Kingdoms of the World”, and “Jesus Climbs the Temple Mount”.

For an example of hypocrisy in action, please read my blog “Jezebel and Ahab: Greed, Lies and Violence”.