This charge against Israel is to a people so insensitive to God and truth that they are blind to dishonesty's destructive power. On the national scene, we parade slogans such as "In God We Trust" and "One Nation Under God." Daily in the courts, citizens by the thousands swear on Bibles and then proceed to lie on the witness stand. Millions attend church on Sunday but then conduct business Monday through Saturday in the normal, self-centered, "let's get as much as we can" fashion.
We Americans grew up in this twisted environment and perhaps never really questioned it—we merely accepted it as normal. To some degree, it has conditioned our approach to life. In Isaiah 29, God accuses His people of hypocritically playing games with His truth and of not facing up to its standards in daily life. Jesus quotes verse 13 in Matthew 15:8, charging the scribes and Pharisees with being hypocrites. In both cases, the context is strikingly similar. In both, deceived and hypocritical people mishandle God's revelation. However, after a period of persistent practice, the deception or hypocrisy establishes itself as the way of life!
John W. Ritenbaugh
The Ninth Commandment
God does care how we worship Him; He gives specific commands about how He wants to be glorified according to His standards and not our own. It does matter whether or not we share in the celebration of this world's pagan religious holidays. Though the Bible—the Word of God—makes no direct references to New Year's Eve, Lent, Easter, Halloween, or Christmas, the origins of these pagan holidays are mentioned as being abominations to God.
Martin G. Collins
Hypocrisy is an oft-repeated indictment against Americans as a people. "In God we trust" and "One nation under God," we boast. But taken as a nation, neither is true. By the thousands, citizens swear on Bibles daily in the courts, but our courts are a mockery of justice. Americans attend church on Sunday, but it is business as usual Monday through Saturday.
We grew up in this, and it has conditioned our approach to life. In these verses in Isaiah, God accuses His people of playing games with His truth by not facing up to its standards. Jesus quotes verse 13 in Matthew 15:8-9, and in both cases the context is strikingly similar: Deceived or hypocritical people mishandle the revelation of God. The major problem, though, is that it remains unchecked, and eventually, the deception or hypocrisy becomes set as the way of life.
John W. Ritenbaugh
The Ninth Commandment (1997)
Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing Isaiah 29:13: