The Bible, like many books, is full of people. In this book, there are lots of people with names. According to the Biographical Bible, there are 3,237 named people in the Bible. Out of those people, there are 1,863 uniquely named people. However, we often read verses like this, particularly in the Old Testament.

The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.

Isaiah 29:13 (NIV)

The people the Lord refers to within this verse’s context are the Israelites. When we read the Bible, we can break down the groups of named and unnamed people into two groups. The Israelites and everyone else. Most of the time, “everyone else” consisted of Israel’s enemies. 

When we read the Bible, it’s easy to forget that we’re reading true stories about real people. Even when we remember the stories and people are real, it’s tempting to separate ourselves from “those people.” After all, the most recent people we read about have been dead for almost 2,000 years and lived lives we couldn’t imagine ourselves in. It seems pretty factual to say that the lives of those people in the Bible and our lives today are entirely different. Just examine the advances in science and technology. Even something as “basic” as the light bulb would have been considered mystical 2,000 years ago. 

Yet, despite all of our scientific, technological, and societal advances, people are basically the same. 

Consider the book of Isaiah. This book was written over 2,700 years ago. What does Isaiah 29:13 say? You can look up and read it, but here it is again.

The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.

Isaiah 29:13 (NIV)

A quick search on Google tells me there are approximately 2.8 billion Christians worldwide. That number is nonsense. There may be 2.8 billion people who claim to be Christian, but they are not. I don’t say this because I’m judging those people. I say this because all I have to do to see that there aren’t that many Christians worldwide is watch the news. The population of the world is closing in on 8 billion people. The last I checked, we’re at 7.96 billion people, and 2.8 of them are Christian? That’s roughly 35%. I cannot believe that 35% of the world is saved, and regularly pray to God when I see the state of the world. I can, however, read Isaiah 29:13 and say “those people” are us. At least, in part. 

How about these verses from Isaiah?

Woe to those who go to great depths to hide their plans from the Lord, who do their work in darkness and think, “Who sees us? Who will know?” You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, “You did not make me”? Can the pot say to the potter, “You know nothing”?

Isaiah 29:15-16 (NIV)

One way I measure my growth in the Lord is how often I lie to myself. Before I was saved, I lied to myself all the time. I rarely accepted the responsibility for my life being the way it was. Heck, I didn’t take responsibility for me being who I was. If I thought about God, I’d have been like those people in Isaiah 29:15-16 who thought God was just like me. How about you? How often do you find yourself telling yourself something that isn’t true? Or someone else? We’re doing that whenever we make excuses for something we’ve done instead of owning up to the truth. Lying to ourselves. 

Although the “woe” in these two verses is aimed at the same Israelites we read about in Isaiah 29:13, we can apply it to the world. The world back then and the world today. And tomorrow because people don’t change. 

Let’s say there’s suddenly some scientific breakthrough in the next 25 years that allows us to finally realistically explore outer space. We start finding habitable planets and colonizing them. Let’s say with that technology come all the advances we saw in shows like Star Trek. Beaming all over the place, etc. There are so many scientific, technological, and scientific advances that the world is unrecognizable from today. Guess what? People would still be the same. 

When we read the Bible, if we don’t acknowledge that the way the people in the Bible behaved is fundamentally the same as people today, we’re in trouble. It’s that simple. 

Do you know God? God knows you, and he loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, and he wants you to know him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, freed from death, and live eternally with him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation:

Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I repent from my ways. Wash me in your blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe that you died on the cross, were buried, and on the third day, God the Father raised you from the dead. Right now, Lord Jesus, I open the door to my heart and receive you into my heart as my Lord and personal Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.