Bring no more offerings of vanity (emptiness, falsity, vainglory, and futility); [your hollow offering of] incense is an abomination to Me; the New Moons and Sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot endure--[it is] iniquity and profanation, even the solemn meeting. -Isaiah 1:13 (AMP)
I remember a time back when I was driving down the road with two of our sons. They were both under the age of four at the time. I ran out of gas. To add to the already disturbing situation, I was in an area of farmland, and cell service was not that great. But that wasn’t even the worst part about it. My husband owned a gas station.
By the grace of God, I was able to get through to David. Did he bring me fuel? Yes, in the red gas can that holds enough to get you by until you can get to the fill-up station. But it was embarrassing for him. Why? Because he had made every provision available to me, yet here I was, on the side of the road, with two children under four, because I was just trying to get by.
The “humorous”, it was not funny at all, part of the situation was that I was sitting in that vehicle, knowing I was out of gas, and I was still turning the key in the ignition. Was I praying for a miraculous impartation of fuel into the tank? Probably! But the provision had already been made. I chose not to fill up, I ran out before I got to my destination and I had taken my children along for the ride.
The parallels between my story and Christian life today can be astonishing. God has made all of the provisions for us and yet we are trying to get by. We don’t take the time to fill up. We are left turning the ignition on our Spiritual tank, knowing full well that it is empty. And what witness does that bear to the world we are trying to convince to take the ride with us?
God spoke through the Prophet Isaiah to His people about their empty, hollow offerings.
That’s right; they were keeping the New Moons and Sabbaths, all the “correct church services”. They were bringing their offerings and holding their “solemn assemblies”. And God said that they were an abomination to Him. That is a pretty strong word choice. The word actually translates as loathsome, detestable.
What? They were actually keeping the appointed feasts, festivals and offerings and God detested them? Why?
All of the activities, actions, and presentations were empty, futile, hollow, false and vain glorious. They were just for show.
My car, in great condition, sitting on the side of the road, was just for show. Its purpose was pointless without the fuel it needed to carry me to my destination.
Our walk with God is just the same. You have nothing to offer Him accept to give back what He has given to you. He has to fill you so that you have something to give back to Him.
Going through the motions will leave you drained; empty, out of gas on the side of the road. That applies to whatever road you may be on in your journey be it spiritual, mental, physical, emotional, or financial.
Again in Isaiah 65:1 the Lord reveals His heart:
I WAS [ready to be] inquired of by those who asked not; I was [ready to be] found by those who sought Me not. I said, Here I am, here I am [says I AM] to a nation [Israel] that has not called on My name.
Can you imagine leaving God standing there while He is saying, “Here I am, here I am”? No, you would never do that, intentionally.
I would never intentionally run out of gas on the side of the road with two children in the car either. But I made the choice, for whatever reason, to drive by and just try to make it.
Fumes, from the tank that was previously full, are not enough to get us by. It might smell, like the tank is full when you take off the gas cap, but it’s only vapor, and it’s not going to get you anywhere.
Going to church, doing the activities, bringing your offering can be compared to the vehicle. It looks in great running condition. It could even be shiny and brand new. What’s the point of a shiny car with no fuel? A clunker with a full tank is of more use.
What is in your tank? Only you and God know.
But this I know. He has already made the provision for you. You don’t have to run on fumes or just try to get by. He is ready, willing, waiting and calling, “Here I am, here I am”. Are you going to pass Him by, and end up on the side of the road on your journey? Or are you going to heed His call to stop, and keep your tank full?
At God’s filling station, the fuel is premium, it’s free, it will never run out and you’ll never know emptiness again.