In 2008, Jon Foreman, the lead singer for Switchfoot, released a solo album that included a song titled Instead of a Show, based on Isaiah 1. Here’s a video of the song:
When I first heard this, I was in a place of questioning many things about the organized church system, and this song became a sort of anthem in my head. I pointed, aimed, and shot these lyrics directly at the church system, and I felt validated.
But over time, as I listened to the song, I realized that it wasn’t pointed at anyone else, or at least it wasn’t my job to point it at anyone… except myself.
It’s my own religious show that God detests.
It’s my own striving and struggling to prove that I’m good enough that God is fed up with.
Its the show that I put on to display that I (supposedly) have it all together that God can no longer stand.
It’s me who needs to realize that I can’t do God’s work for Him. Spiritually speaking, I can’t do anything myself.
The problem is, I tend to pretend that I can.
How He hates all my show!
How frequently I need to remember my strength is found when I am weak, because when I acknowledge my weakness, Jesus can step in and work.
Thank goodness, He has done all the work and I can count it all finished in Christ.
This song has nothing to do with the church system; it is pointed inside at my own heart.
And instead of religious show, God asks that we show His love to ourselves and others.
How simple is that???
Follow the LIFE!
Isaiah 1:11-20 (NLT)
11 “What makes you think I want all your sacrifices?”
says the Lord.
“I am sick of your burnt offerings of rams
and the fat of fattened cattle.
I get no pleasure from the blood
of bulls and lambs and goats.
12 When you come to worship me,
who asked you to parade through my courts with all your ceremony?
13 Stop bringing me your meaningless gifts;
the incense of your offerings disgusts me!
As for your celebrations of the new moon and the Sabbath
and your special days for fasting—
they are all sinful and false.
I want no more of your pious meetings.
14 I hate your new moon celebrations and your annual festivals.
They are a burden to me. I cannot stand them!
15 When you lift up your hands in prayer, I will not look.
Though you offer many prayers, I will not listen,
for your hands are covered with the blood of innocent victims.
16 Wash yourselves and be clean!
Get your sins out of my sight.
Give up your evil ways.
17 Learn to do good.
Help the oppressed.
Defend the cause of orphans.
Fight for the rights of widows.
18 “Come now, let’s settle this,”
says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
I will make them as white as snow.
Though they are red like crimson,
I will make them as white as wool.
19 If you will only obey me,
you will have plenty to eat.
20 But if you turn away and refuse to listen,
you will be devoured by the sword of your enemies.
I, the Lord, have spoken!”