12 Sunday after Pentecost - Proper 14
"What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the Lord; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of he-goats." Isaiah 1: 11
Isaiah was called by God to be a prophet to the leaders and the people of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. When the united kingdom divided following the death of Solomon, the people of the Israel were cut-off from the Temple in Jerusalem in Judah. Therefore, they began to sacrifice at the ancient holy place of Bethel and at the a place in Dan, both places adorned by order of the king with a golden calf. What was the greatest sin of Israel? They did not worship the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They instead worshiped idols and the Ba'als of the people of the land. God does not want empty sacrifices offered to lifeless idols. He wants his people to worship HIM. More importantly, he wants his people to know him and follow him because it is right to do so.
"Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil. learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow." Isaiah 1: 16-17