Isaiah 1.13 commands, Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me….I cannot bear your worthless assemblies.
The problem with the One True God is that He is not fooled by religion.
Religion is to be a means by which we express our love and worship toward God. Religion is not God, neither does it’s rituals please God, unless the life of the one performing the ritual is consistent in living a life pleasing to God.
We just finished the season of Lent where many Christians perform the duty of sacrifice in an effort to identify with Him Who sacrificed His life for humanity. I am always amazed how we equate giving up chocolate or beer with Jesus’ death on the Cross for sin. The disconnect seems pretty extreme to me. Is this even something God wants or expects from us?
God told His prophet Isaiah He was far more concerned with our treatment of the poor and the needy than with sacrifices and offerings. God was way more concerned with our failure to hunger for Him than He was with our fasting for Him.
This duplicity of outward religion with inward depravity is despised by everyone viewing it but somehow acceptable to the one doing it.
This is why Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism will always prove themselves false to serious students of God because these religions focus exclusively on outward performance rather than inward truth.
The God of the Bible, the God Who lived on earth as one of us, defined Himself as Truth and requires those who would worship Him to do so in spirit and in truth. This means that our religion, our worship of God must be without hypocrisy, it must reflect the true character and nature of God while recognizing our own depravity.
Christianity is the only religion that makes sense because it is the only one that recognizes we are incapable of pleasing God without His help. We are born reprobates and hypocrites, like an infant incapable of caring for itself, we are incapable of pleasing God without God reaching down to us in love, pardon, mercy and grace.
The only thing our God requires from us is that we love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength and that we love each other as we love ourselves.
While immensely difficult in one way religious ritual cannot deliver obedience to this command. Only a heart set upon God and the doing of His will, desperate in need of His presence, can live a life truly pleasing to God.