from Lynda Lindsey
“The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master’s crib, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.” Ah, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, offspring of evildoers, children who deal corruptly! They have forsaken the Lord, they have despised the Holy One of Israel, they are utterly estranged. Isaiah 1:3-4
When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers I will not listen; your hands are full of blood, wash yourselves; make yourselves clean… Cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.
“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land;” Isaiah 1:18-19
Isaiah prophesied against Judah at a time when Judah had despised and spurned God, the Holy One of Israel. Judah moved away from God to follow foreign, wicked kings and adopted, even reveled in, the despicable practices that went along with worship of pagan gods. Isaiah’s message from God: a time of terrible judgment is coming, a time when God will punish His people for their evil. Still, God eloquently pleads for His people to return to Him, to reason together with Him, to accept His offer of grace, so that even though their sins are like scarlet, they shall become like wool.
God’s children were so inured to sin that they no longer understand how far away from God they were. With no understanding of God’s purity and holiness, they cast off all restraint, abandoning God, casting Him aside as something useless, in pursuit of their hedonistic ways. God, wearied by His people’s sin, rebellion, and unfaithfulness hid His eyes and covered His ears to their hypocritical prayers. Yet, if God’s people would repent, cease to do evil, learn to do good, begin to seek justice and correct oppression, God’s grace would abound.
God, the righteous judge, desires our repentance, our return to Him, and He designs every circumstance to smelt away our dross, to purify and cleanse us. God’s grace, always on offer to repentant sinners, always astounds: the vilest of sinners, once submerged in the scarlet flow of Jesus’ blood, is washed clean! Restored to God, we once again eat the good of the land and are useful for His purpose. We, His sent-out-ones, stand for righteousness and justice, seek the highest good for all, and promote Him in the land. Come now, reason together with the Lord!