The things that we do for the LORD pale in comparison to the things that He can do through us. God through the prophet Isaiah judges against Israel’s stubbornness against how He has commanded them to live. At this time, the people continued the practice of offering animal sacrifices to God, but they had abandoned all else that was required of them per the Covenant they shared with God. They thought that fulfilling their Temple rituals was enough to please God without having to commit to Him. But what is there that they could build or accomplish that would impress the One Whose Throne is heaven and Whose footstool is earth? One does not paint a stick figure to impress a famous artist or prepare a lousy peanut butter sandwich to please a world-renowned chef. Much less would the works of people’s hands in and of themselves please the LORD. Yet still, Israel thought that their sacrifices to God of bulls and lambs would be sufficient substitute for their own contrite spirits and humble hearts before Him. They offered animals at the Temple, but refused offer themselves to God. Israel missed the point completely.
The failure of Israel reminds us of how easy it is to do things for the LORD without actually seeking His Will. Doing works of our own hands for Him may sound well and good, but when we think of all that God has done, our own works in comparison are feeble. Besides, our works are not what God wants. “These are the ones I look on with favor,” says the LORD, “Those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.”
What pleases God as He looks upon humanity is contrition which asks His forgiveness, humility which admits a need for Him, and obedience which seeks to be used for His Glory.