“’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 best from the land….” (Isaiah 1:18, 19 NIV)The people were following the rituals God had prescribed but neglected justice and mercy to the most vulnerable of their citizens. They were rebellious and loaded with guilt. Their land was ravaged by other nations that burned, plundered and laid it waste. The leaders were dishonest rebels who consorted with thieves and lead the people into “sacred” groves of oaks, superstitions, divination, idols and dependence on those who knew not God.
They had become a stench in God’s nostrils and yet he offered hope. It doesn’t matter how stubborn the stain; God can eradicate it. He doesn’t offer to hide it but to take it away completely. He not only can, he wants to. He begs his people to come. He wants them (and us) to eat the best from the land rather than to be devoured by the sword (or guns).
“Stop doing wrong, learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.” Reach out to those in need.
I haven’t been so good at this. An elderly widow lives alone next door and longs for stimulating conversation but when did I last spend time with her? Far too long.
God, you are awesome! You forgive and erase our sin and yet too often I find myself serving my own needs rather than trying to meet the needs of others. Change my heart, Lord! Change my heart!
[Okay, so that was a bit disjointed but I’m leaving it for now.]