I’ll be brief today, but I am struck by Isaiah’s challenge to Israel, to set aside their formal worship and to engaged in the activities the God truly cherishes. In Isaiah 1, we read a challenge to our behavior followed by an invitation to repentance.
17 Learn to do good.
Help the oppressed.
Defend the cause of orphans.
Fight for the rights of widows.
18 “Come now, let’s settle this,”
says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
I will make them as white as snow.
Though they are red like crimson,
I will make them as white as wool.
Israel is presented with a choice, and we are as well.
25 I will raise my fist against you.
I will melt you down and skim off your slag.
I will remove all your impurities.
26 Then I will give you good judges again
and wise counselors like you used to have.
Then Jerusalem will again be called the Home of Justice
and the Faithful City.”
27 Zion will be restored by justice;
those who repent will be revived by righteousness.
28 But rebels and sinners will be completely destroyed,
and those who desert the Lord will be consumed.
We need to make a choice which direction we will go, as individuals, as churches and as a nation. The choice is clear – for justice and faithfulness and the consequences are equally clear – restoration or destruction.
I am always inspired when I read Isaiah and Jeremiah. They spoke as God spoke to them and were true prophets in the sense of being God’s mouthpiece. There is some prediction of the future, but most of their messages were calls to repentance and restoration.
And we’ll be reading them for most of the months of September and October. Here we go!