Enough Is Enough.
“Wash yourselves and be clean! Get your sins out of my sight. Give up your evil ways.” – Isaiah 1:16 NLT
God is loving, patient, and kind. He is long-suffering. He extends mercy and grace. He is faithful and keeps His promises. But God is not a doormat to be walked on, taken for granted, and treated with disrespect. He is the God of the universe, the creator of all things. His patience has its limits. And Isaiah 1 and 2 give us a somewhat unsettling glimpse of God when He has had His patience tested one time too many. He never stops loving the people of Israel, but He does become fed up with their actions and attitudes, their unfaithfulness and hypocrisy. And He lets them know exactly what is going to happen unless they repent of their sins and turn back to Him. Isaiah has the not-so-fun responsibility of bringing a message of warning and judgment to the people of Judah regarding their rebellion and God’s coming response to it.
God has had enough. He is loving, but He is not going to allow the people He has chosen as His own to continue to live in open rebellion and mock His name. He is sick of their religious rituals and observances. It is nothing less than hypocrisy. “What makes you think I want all your sacrifices?” he asks them (Isaiah 1:11 NLT). “I am sick of your burnt offerings of rams” (Isaiah 1:11b NLT). “Stop bringing me your meaningless gifts” (Isaiah 1:12 NLT). Unlike the northern kingdom of Israel, Judah was still worshiping at the Temple and keeping the religious observances God had established for them. They were making their sacrifices, giving their offerings, and observing all the appropriate feasts and festivals. But their hearts weren’t in it. In fact, God tells them their hearts are sick. Their faith was worthless, impure and diluted. They were just as idolatrous as their northern neighbors. They were just as unfaithful. And so God sends Isaiah with a message that is partly a warning of judgment and a call to repentance. “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. If you will only obey me…” (Isaiah 1:18-19 NLT).
God is calling them to return to Him. He warns them that if they don’t, He will be forced to deal with their pride and arrogance. They have wealth, power, pride and idols in abundance. But God tells them, “Human pride will be brought down, and human arrogance will be humbled” (Isaiah 2:11 NLT). God will cause them to return to Him. He will not allow them to continue to live in open rebellion to Him. So He warns them of the consequences and pleads with them to repent and return. “Don’t put your trust in mere humans. They are as frail as breath. What good are they?” (Isaiah 2:22 NLT). Trust in God. Turn back to God. Put your faith and hope in God. That same call could be issued to many of us today. We are going through the religious motions, serving God outwardly, but refusing to trust in Him inwardly. The message of Isaiah is timeless. May we listen to what the Lord has to say.
Father, help me hear what You are saying through Isaiah. Don’t let me read this book just as some historical document, but as the living, breathing Word of God. Show me my own sins through the lives of the people of Judah. Call me to repentance. Reveal Yourself to me through this incredible book. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men