“From the ends of the earth we have heard songs: “Glory to the righteous!” But I said, “I am ruined, ruined! Woe to me! The treacherous dealers have dealt treacherously, indeed, the treacherous dealers have dealt very treacherously,” Isaiah 24:16.
“When you come to appear before Me, who has required this from your hand, to trample My courts? Bring no more futile sacrifices; incense is an abomination to Me. The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies — I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting. Your New Moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates; they are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood” Isaiah 1:12-15.
“What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead,” James 2:14-17.
Is it possible to have empty prayers, empty blessings of others – even at times empty praises? According to these verses quoted above, yes, this sadly is possible and some of us during our Christian walk and experience have either been guilty of this ourselves or, as often happens, we have been so disappointed by the shallowness – even emptiness – of those who blessed us with their words – I’ll pray for you but kept their purses – and with their purses also their hearts – closed to do anything about our need, “than just pray about it.”
I am writing these things because I believe God who is truth wants us to be truthful ourselves in relation to the persons and circumstances we encounter, not to escape in many prayers but refuse to repent of those things which we carry still with us. This the Word says will not work. It was Joshua to whom the Lord said:
“Get up! Why do you lie thus on your face? Israel has sinned …” Joshua 7:10, 11a.
I believe it was the amazing, faithful and saintly intercessor Rees Howells who learned that it was not right and proper to pray God to bless someone when it was in his power to do so himself. As my son once remarked, “many Christians use their prayers to escape doing anything about which they so earnestly pray.” Sadly this seems to be so true with many.
I am writing these words for us to reevaluate our prayers, our so often nice words of blessings to fellow believers – even our praises if in some way we are not in danger to use these religious activities as a blinder or excuse not to act accordingly with our own deeds of love. Hereby all men shall know that we are His disciples not because we pray or sing songs or even say blessings to others but, as He said, because of our love for one another.
I think it is all so sad that whereas the main thing the Lord asks of us all – to really love and care for one another – has become so rare among us. If this is His main – yes He says His ‘one commandment’ – that He gives us, how should we take care that this one important commandment remains our focus point, seeing that it is already true what He Himself forewarned that in the end “the love of many will grow cold. Thus the Word says: “Let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth,” 1 John 3:18.
May that fruit of His Spirit grow in all of us!
I thank our heavenly Father for all those of you who in this spirit have helped us carry the torch thus also your torch – for His beloved people Israel. Thank you so much!
Jan Willem van der Hoeven, Director
International Christian Zionist Center
Republished with the kind permission of Author Jan Willem van der Hoeven, Director of International Christian Zionist Center.
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