By LaGard Smith
The Daily Bible Devotional
For it is: Do and do, do and do, rule on rule, rule on rule; a little here, a little there… Isaiah 28:10
Examine any highly bureaucratic political system, and you will see a close correlation between its extreme orientation to rules and a fundamental lack of spiritual underpinnings. Consider how tightly controlled officially atheist nations have been and how increasingly regulated secularist societies have become. Moral and spiritual vacuums always beg to be filled. And what better way to take up the slack than with laws, rules and regulations. Onerous laws, rules, and regulations! Despite all the frenetic religious exercise visible on the surface in Israel, inwardly the nation was spiritually dead. God’s people were caught between two mirroring forces – a spiritual sterility that invited an escalation of rule making; an escalation of rule making that inexorably led to even more sterility. The more burdensome the rules, the more the people suffered from spiritual fatigue. Rules are laborious, not liberating. Exhausting, not exhilarating.
For Israel’s control-freak religious leaders, the word from Isaiah was to give the people a rest! God has given us enough rules. The last thing we need is more – especially man-made! The pretense was that more rules fostered greater righteousness. But that is always a sham. Notice in the follow-up verses how God threatened to punish the rule makers by subjecting them to captivity where there would be nothing but rules imposes on them. It should stand as a warning to us today. If our religious life is mostly about rule keeping, our spiritually vacuous lives will be further emasculated by those very rules.