Psalm for the Day

Monday, February 11, 2013

A warning and a promise….


Wash and make yourselves clean.
Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong.
 Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.

 “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.


If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land…”            Isa. 1:16-19  NIV

 

What a warning!

We can remove ourselves so far from God that we no longer recognize Him, we no longer hear Him speak in fact we can reach the place where we no longer even care about Him, or realize the heartache our rebellion and disobedience causes Him.

That is a sad and desperate situation to be in: not able to respond to the God who is the source of our life; without hope, without Jesus we are lost and isolated on the sea of life.


Isaiah talks about the rebellion of God’s people, and their rejection of their creator. In Isaiah 1:10 he even refers to them as Sodom and Gomorrah, two cities famous for their wickedness, which were destroyed in the days of Abraham.

We have a people who have gone so far in rebellion and disobedience to their God that they are no longer able to recognize Him or respond to Him in anyway and whose sin is as great as that of Sodom and Gomorrah.

This is a sad picture and a dire situation to be in.

Sadly, it gets worse. He even calls their worship of Him sin, because they are offering Him sacrifices, but with rebellious hearts. They were going through all the motions of worship, but they did not really mean it.

They were offering sheep and goats, but not themselves, still in disobedience and with a spirit of sin and rebellion. When that happens, worship ceases to be worship, and becomes sin. God was not accepting their worship or listening to their prayers.

This is a horrible, solemn warning that we can create for ourselves, by our rebellious hearts and attitudes……….. so alienated from God that we are completely removed from Him and our worship of Him is worse than useless.

But then, in verses 16-19, we have the promise.

Suddenly, in the midst of describing their hopeless state God reveals His heart of compassion to give them a chance to repent. When final condemnation looked like it was coming, mercy came instead. Though their sins were scarlet, though they were guilty of disobedience and murder, He would purify them. He didn’t just forgive them, but He cleansed them, made them clean again, He restored the Father-Son relationship that they had deliberately and wantonly broken.

Their repentance would bring pardon. It was God making the initiative in restoring the relationship had come from Him.

Later in Isaiah we hear how this was achieved.  Isaiah 53:4-6 looks ahead to the death of Jesus, who took the blame for our sin and rebellion.

The promise went on to say that IF they were willing AND obedient, they would eat the fruit of the land and share in the good things.  But there came a further warning, death by the sword if they persisted in their rebellion.

All this applies to us as much as to the Israelites of Isaiah’s day. Our natural state is to be in such open habitual rebellion and disobedience to God that we are no longer able to respond to Him or to recognize Him or His voice.

But the promise is to us as well. He has made the initiative, and no matter how filthy our sins are, He will purify them through the blood of Jesus. 

 But the warning of death also applies if we reject Him.

 

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”  I John 1:9 NIV

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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