Stop and be astonished; blind yourselves and be blind! They are drunk, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with beer. For the Lord has poured out on you an overwhelming urge to sleep; He has shut your eyes – the prophets, and covered your heads – the seers. For you the entire vision will be like the words of a sealed document. If it is given to one who can read and he is asked to read it, he will say, “I can’t read it, because it is sealed.” And if the document is given to one who cannot read and he is asked to read it, he will say, “I can’t read.” The Lord said: Because these people approach Me with their mouths to honor Me with lip-service – yet their hearts are far from Me, and their worship [consists of] man-made rules learned [by rote] –therefore I will again confound these people with wonder after wonder. The wisdom of their wise men will vanish, and the understanding of the perceptive will be hidden. Woe to those who go to great lengths to hide their plans from the Lord. [They do] their works in darkness, and say, “Who sees us? Who knows us?”
You have turned things around, as if the potter were the same as the clay. How can what is made say about its maker, “He didn’t make me”? How can what is formed say about the one who formed it, “He doesn’t understand [what he’s doing]”?
Isn’t [it true that] in just a little while Lebanon will become an orchard, and the orchard will seem like a forest? On that day the deaf will hear the words of a document, and out of a deep darkness the eyes of the blind will see. The humble will have joy after joy in the Lord, and the poor people will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. Isaiah 29:9-19 (HCSB)
Today there are so many issues about “religion”! What form of religion is the right religion? What religion is the source of truth to a world desiring to know the truth? Is there a religion that anyone can rely upon as the right way to understand this world and the Creator of the world? Well. Let’s consider first of all what religion is: Religion consists of man-made ideas, rules, laws, traditions and teachings about life and the world we live in and what lies beyond. Religion is like the analogy in the passage above – the clay is telling the potter what shape the potter is to make the clay.
God never desired His people to enter into a religion. God does not require pomp and circumstance to worship Him. God is not pleased by processions and possessions that are designated in religious ceremonies. The preparation the Lord calls for is the people’s hearts, minds and souls. The Lord is not the creator of religion and thus is not interested in the argument of what religion is the right religion. The Lord offers a relationship and only those in relationship with the Lord have the blessing of His revelation of what is truth. Even the ecclesia of the New Testament that Jesus spoke about is improperly named a church, which we today define as an organization, a structure made of men, by men, for the members. Today when we speak of a church we envision everything but what Jesus intended by the term ecclesia, which means “called out”. In essence, the “called out” are those who recognize and have placed their faith in the Lord and the relationship that He has intended for man. The church was never intended to be constructed with walls that separate His people from the world. The church was never intended to be an organization of men who establish rules, laws, teachings, and traditions that define what they are comfortable with. Man was never intended to define what worship is all about. If worship is directed to God, then it is God who must instruct man in how to please Him in worship, and that is plainly stated in His Word.
According to this passage, preachers and teachers who instruct according to ways of the church are at risk of man-made truths to please the people, but fall well-short of pleasing God, because the church organization has often failed to be the source of God’s will, God’s ways, God’s wisdom according to God’s Word.
Warning: God’s Word, God’s Truth is not like Wikipedia where everyone can add their own definition and understanding of the truth about various words. When that happens in the church where religion is the emphasis, the blind are instructing the blind, and the truths taught are deigned to please men, not God. The Word of God is not intended to please men, but to change the hearts, souls and minds of men.