“When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood.”  Isaiah 1:15

The worship God rejects here is not idolatrous worship.  It is biblical worship, Levitical worship, offered by the people with elaborate, even sacrificial, abundance.  But God says he hates it, right down to the core of his being: “Your appointed feasts my soul hates” (verse 14).  Why does God detest their biblically correct, personally sincere worship?  “Your hands are full of blood” – human blood.

They were lifting their hands to God in prayer and praise.  They could not see what God saw – that those very hands were dripping with the blood of people they had mistreated.  They compartmentalized.  They disconnected what God connected.  They honestly did not see what God clearly saw.  What does God see?  What does God want us to see?  That the acceptability of our vertical worship is inseparable from the beauty of our horizontal relationships.

Loving one another makes a difference in our worship of God.  Maybe all the difference.

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Ray Ortlund


Ray Ortlund is senior pastor of Immanuel Church in Nashville, Tennessee, and serves as a Council member with The Gospel Coalition. You can follow him on Twitter.

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