“go with their flocks and with their herds.” The people are being very religious and bringing multitudes of animal sacrifices to the Temple to seek God, but their heart is not right with God. They may be “religious,” but they do what they want to do and disobey God in their thoughts and deeds, so God will not listen to them. This is a consistent message in Scripture, and verses like this occur many times in both the Old and New Testaments. [For more information, see commentary on Matt. 5:23].
“He has withdrawn himself from them.” Sacrifices and offerings made to God by wicked people are detestable to God; He has no respect for them and will not accept them. Sacrifices and offerings were never designed to make a person with an evil heart acceptable in the sight of God. Proverbs 21:27 and 28:9 say that the sacrifices of a wicked person are an abomination to God. Similarly, God will not listen to the prayers of wicked and unrepentant people; they are an abomination to Him (Prov. 28:9). [For more information about the sacrifices of wicked people being of no value, see commentary on Amos 5:22].