KJV:Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men
ESV:And the Lord said: “Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men
NIV: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.
AMP:And the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near Me with their mouth and honor Me with their lips but remove their hearts and minds far from Me, and their fear and reverence for Me are a commandment of men that is learned by repetition [without any thought as to the meaning]
It is surely a terrible thing for one to have God’s fear as a result of man’s precept. Fearing God mainly by reason of man’s presentation of Him may not be helpful, and can be so detrimental. Let your fear of God be based on your personal encounter with God, while you are genuinely sincere with and cherishing the experience from your heart. That way you can always go on with the Lord through thin and thick, shine and rain, without necessarily having any brethren around you to cheer you on.
If all the fear of God you’ve known so far in your life is as a result of what man has told you, you are not doing yourself a good job. Honestly, you are not trying at all. When you will be up against boisterous storms of life, you might not be able to withstand with such knowledge. It takes personal encounter with the Lord to stand the test of times continually. Take your Christian race serious, and get into series of encounters with God continually. Let it be daily renewed. Believe the Lord Jesus Christ by what you also directly hear from Him (and not just what you know of Him from somebody), and make sure you are sincere with yourself from your heart in all things.
Remember God tries the reins. He searches the heart, to know the truth thereof. Do not try to hide from God. Many that do such are deceiving themselves into the awaiting destruction. See these:
Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the Lord, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us?
Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin
Coming back to our study:
Hear what these people said to the person that preached to them.
KJV: And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.
KJV: So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days.
KJV: And many more believed because of his own word;
KJV: And said unto the woman, now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.
But somebody may be thinking, I wish I could hear Jesus Christ directly like this people. Yes, you can. In our time, by faith, we hear Jesus Christ directly by meditating on God’s word for ourselves daily. Though sometimes the Lord may choose to reveal Himself to the individual in different kinds of visions, yet it is as He wills. So, don’t be praying for such visitation. Satan may transform himself and visit you. Anyway, let’s take a cue from the Bereans.
And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures DAILY, whether those things were so.
This is exactly how we go about it in our time. Remember Jesus Christ knows all about your whole life more than any man can. And most times many study God’s word with their own personal glasses on, and not Holy Spirit’s. And such may not perfectly present God to you. Of which we have many like that today. I say, therefore, meet with Jesus Christ directly for yourself, via His word, and by the help of the Holy Spirit. Reverence and fear Him for your personal encounter with Him, for surely, our God is a consuming fire. You are surely in the safest place knowing Him directly with all sincerity and genuine desire from your heart.