READ: Isaiah 29-30
THINK: Not everything is as it seems. Appearances can be deceiving. This is true of situations, things and people-even those who claim to follow God. Some people appear to be committed. They go through the motions. They seem to say and do the right things. They may even display a passion to pray and praise God. But it can all be a sham-an illusion-because their hearts are not fully devoted to God. They regard God's commands and standards as options they can take or leave. Instead of truly valuing and appreciating God and His Word, they take false security in their phony faith and religious routines. They may fool others, and they're certainly deceiving themselves. But they can't fool God. How about you? Are you what you appear to be?
RESPOND: What is Ariel (29:1), and why would God bring judgment on it? (See 29:1-4 note.) What happens when people who have known God and His expectations deliberately persist in rejecting them? (See 29:1-4 note.) In what ways would God bring judgment on Jerusalem and how would He ultimately rescue His people? (See 29:5-8 note.) What does it mean when God says that people "honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me" (29:13)? (See 29:13 note.) What are some ways that people might demonstrate this hypocritical behavior, and why is this so dangerous? (See 29:13 note.) What evidence do you see today of people responding to God as described in 29:15-16? Why and in what ways does Isaiah's prophecies of judgment also convey hope? (See 29:17-24 note.) In what way do many people today-in and out of the church-show the same attitude described in 30:10? (See 30:10 note.) In what way can people-then and now-find spiritual salvation, rest and strength (30:15)? (See 30:15 note.) In what ways did God demonstrate His desire to be gracious and compassionate to His people? (See 30:18-26 note.) What are the immediate and long-term applications of 30:25-26? (See 30:25 note.)
PRAY: Pray that God would help you keep your heart pure and devoted to Him and that He would provide any discipline necessary to remove any insincerity or hypocrisy in your life.
ACT: If in any way you're being spiritually hypocritical-saying or doing what appears to be right but not really being right with God-confess that sin to the Lord and accept His help to make a change in your heart.
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