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“The worship of the people of Judah in the days of Isaiah had become an empty sham. Little by little, they had laid aside the commandments of God in favor of the commandments of men. As a judgment against them for their wicked presumption, the Lord gave them up to blindness.

This spiritual blindness to the plain truth of God's Word was particularly evident in the prophets, upon whom was poured out ‘a spirit of deep sleep.’ As for the people, the Bible had become to them ‘a sealed book.’ Its teachings were unintelligible to them, as if they were illiterate.

It is not difficult to see how these things apply to the Church today. When God's commands are displaced by the doctrines and commandments of men, the teachers are given over to spiritual blindness and Biblical illiteracy becomes the defining characteristic of the people. People continue to ‘draw near to God,’ but they only render lip-service to Him, since their hearts are not instructed by a love for His precepts. They prefer to follow the dictates of their own wisdom and their worship becomes a vain show.

Matthew Henry writes: ‘They do not make the word of God the rule of their worship, nor his will their reason. They worshipped the God of Israel, not according to his appointment, but their own inventions, the directions of their false prophets or their idolatrous kings, or the usages of the nations that were around them. The tradition of the elders was of more value and validity with them than the laws which move God commanded Moses.’

Jesus clearly applied this passage to the superstitious practices of the Pharisees, who elevated human traditions above God's commands in their worship. Paul also alludes to it in Colossians 2:22, by which it is clear that this principle applies with equal force to New Covenant worship. The commandments of men are not to be the rule of worship. When they become so, God gives the Church over to a spirit of stupor, and the people fall into doctrinal ignorance.” (Comin, 220-221)

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