Insincere worship (Isa 29:13-29:14)

“Yahweh said.

‘These people draw near

With their mouths.

They honor me

With their lips.

However their hearts

Are far from me.

Their worship of me is

A human commandment

Learned by rote.

So I will again do

Marvelous things

With this people,

I will again do

Shocking things.

I will again do

Amazing things.

The wisdom of their wise

Shall perish.

The discernment of their discerning

Shall be hidden’”

This oracle of Yahweh, via Isaiah, centers on insincere worship. They adore the Lord with their mouths and lips, but their hearts are far away. They only praise the Lord because of human demands, as they recite rote prayers. However, Yahweh, the Lord, was going to do marvelous, amazing, and shocking things for his people. The wisdom of the wise would perish, while the discernment of the discerning was hidden.

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Put wisdom into practice (Sir 51:26-51:30)

“I resolved to live

According to wisdom.

I was zealous for the good.

I shall never be disappointed.

My soul grappled with wisdom.

In my conduct

I was strict.

I spread out my hands

To the heavens.

I lamented my ignorance of her.

I directed my soul to her.

In purity

I found her.

With her,

I gained understanding

From the first.

Therefore I will never be forsaken.

My heart was stirred to seek her.

Therefore I have gained a prize possession.

The Lord gave me my tongue

As a reward.

I will praise him with it.”

Sirach or this author wanted to live according to wisdom, to put wisdom into practice. He was zealous for the good things, so that he was never disappointed. He was strict in his conduct, as his soul wrestled with wisdom. He admitted in prayer that he was ignorant of wisdom, but he tried to purify his soul to find out more. Finally, he gained the understanding that he would never be abandoned by God. His heart was stirred to seek her even more. The result was a prize possession, the Lord gave him a speaking tongue so that he could praise the Lord even much more.