04/23/2018 in: Food for Thoughton
A German proverb says, “What is the use of running when we are not on the right road?” No matter how much effort we expend in travel, our efforts are wasted if we’re not heading in the right direction.
RUNNING AWAY FROM GOD
This proverb illustrates a profound Biblical truth—working strenuously to be righteous and religious is wasted effort if we’re not moving in the right direction. In Isaiah 58, for example, God notes that the people are praying and fasting, but they are headed in the wrong direction. Their religious fervor is not about God, even though it looks like it is. Their religion is all about themselves, because they are merely “eager for God to come near them” (v. 2).
If they were really interested in getting to know God, their focus would be on the people God called them to love: the poor and the needy.
Instead, we find them indicted for exploiting workers, quarreling and violence (vv. 3–4). They are not, in short, loving their neighbors. How can they love God whom they have not seen when they are failing to love the neighbor right in front of them (see 1Jn 4:20)? It’s clear that they are running in the wrong spiritual direction. Running away from God, even though their piety makes it look like they are running toward God. As the proverb says, that’s just wasted effort.
How do you think this looks for us today? In what ways is it easy to appear that we are running toward God while running the wrong way? Share with us in the comments!