Read Isaiah 1.
The message from the Lord is so clear, logical, and reasonable although so many refused to hear it. Although this message was to the Israel, it does give us a better understanding of God’s heart towards His people and how His people responded to Him.
Their Choice to Rebel
God made Israel, although He is their Father, the children rebelled against Him. They wandered away and didn’t realize their sin. They provoked the Lord’s anger as they turned away from Him. In verses two through four we see the Lord saying even the ox and donkey know their master, but not my own children. Nothing hurts like your own child shunning you.
In verse five through nine, God goes on to outline His children’s sickness and describes the desolation because of it. He reminds them they would not exist had He not saved a remnant.
Their Worthless Worship
He further outlines the problem with the children’s worship and how wicked it had become to Him. God is Holy, therefore, He is forced to hide His eyes from His children and refused to answer their prayers. They worshiped Him with their mouths but their hearts were far from Him. Can you hear God’s heart breaking as He describes this?
God reminds the children what is expected of them in Isaiah 1:16-17 NKJV: “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, learn to do good, seek justice, rebuke the oppressor, defend the fatherless, plead for the widow.” Notice how the first four items are geared to the individual’s responsibility: (1) Wash yourself, (2) cease doing evil, (3) learn to do good, and (4) seek justice. All of these are aimed at changing their inward heart and mind. Next, God says (1) rebuke the oppressor, (2) defend the fatherless, and (3) plead for the widow. Notice how these three items appear to be outward reaching and geared towards helping others. God’s message has always been the same: Love God and love others.
Reward for Obedience
Isaiah 1:18-20 NKJV says “Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord, though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow…” God says let’s work together, “if you are willing and obedient you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword.” The reward for obedience was exchanging their scarlet sin into white wool. Again, we see God showing the way to forgiveness.
Sadly, the children of Israel didn’t want to obey, so God takes matters into His own hands. He explains in verses 24-31 He will take vengeance on His adversaries, He will purge away the dross and alloy from His children, He will restore the judges and Zion will be redeemed with justice. Consider what the Lord said He will do. Know the word “will” is in the present tense. The Lord is doing these things within the moment of today. Next God describes happens to those who don’t turn to Him. All those who forsake Him shall be consumed. They shall be ashamed. They shall be embarrassed. They shall burn together in the end and no one shall quench them. Consider the future tense of the word “shall”. Notice how the statements about judgment are all future tense. The Lord is patient and doesn’t want a single one to perish. But in order for there to be justice these things must happen to those who do not return to the Lord.
Lord, thank you for your word. May be better understand your heart and choose to draw closer to you as we study your word. Renew our minds and enable us to live for you. In Jesus’ name Amen.
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