“[…] That is how all the work of their hands is; whatever they present there is unclean.”
God doesn’t care so much about the sacrifice we are giving him as he does about what motivates us to give it. (Hag. 1:5)
We should not undermine our privilege of knowing and serving the true God by letting our worship become mechanical and superficial in nature.
Those who try to serve God hypocritically lose his blessing and his friendship.
On the other hand, if we ‘set our heart in our ways’ by trying to find joy in his service, we can experience more blessings than we could have imagined. (Hag. 2:7; Mal. 3:10)
”Jehovah will enter into judgment with the elders and princes of his people.”
Are you tired of seeing religious hypocrisy?
It is relieving to know that God Himself certainly is tired of it and he will call into account insincere ministers using his name to harm others.
In Isaiah’s day, the priests were ‘stealing from the poor’ and ‘crushing God’s people.’ (Is. 3:14,15)
Today, some religious leaders profit from their congregations’ donations. Others use the trust members of their faith have placed in them to exploit them in commercial transactions.
Jehovah God promises to bring back their heartless deeds upon their own heads. (Is. 3:11)
However, we cannot conclude that all organized religion is evil as a result of the misconduct of some.
The prophet compares true worship to a mountain to which peace-lovers turn to in order learn about the true God. (Is. 2:3,4)
“Here I am. Testify against me before Jehovah and before his anointed one: Whose bull or whose donkey have I taken? Or whom have I defrauded or crushed? From whose hand have I accepted a bribe to make me look the other way? If I have, I will restore it to you.”
~1 Samuel 12:3
Samuel had a clean conscience because he maintained sincere, wholehearted worship of Jehovah throughout his life.
The people he served were able to testify: “You have not defrauded us or crushed us or accepted anything at all from anyone’s hand,” (1 Sam. 12:4).
While leaders of false religion use their religious institution as a sort of business and as a means to sustain themselves materially, true believers do not take advantage of their spiritual brothers to gain material benefits (Matt. 10:8; 1 Pet. 5:2).
We must be careful to always keep our form of worship free of commercial or potentially corrupt personal interests in order to not imitate the oppressive attitude of hypocritical church leaders (John 2:15,16).
Then we should ask ourselves: can I swear before Jehovah, like Samuel, that I have defrauded no one?