Posted 7/8/2003 7:37:47 AM

God used Isaiah for many years to give Israel plenty of heads-up as to the consequences of their actions. Isaiah was around for Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah - many years of both good and bad times. Actually, mostly good times; Hezekiah, Jotham, and for the most part Uzziah all lived righteously, and led Israel to do right. Ahaz is famous for his sin, and Uzziah fell into it, but Israel was not far from good godly leadership during this period.

So, why does God's message through Isaiah begin in Is 1:2-8 with a full expression of how His people have disobeyed and rejected the the Lord? They're in the middle of some of the best times, with "only" a few problems. That's a long answer, but we get a clue right off in Is:10-15: they have lost their love for God. Oh, they go through all the motions, just like God told them to, but all the offerings, incense, and prayers are repulsive to God because they are not done out of love, but out of empty ritual.

It's a good thing God knows hearts so well. He is giving Israel generations of warnings before He brings in the Assyrians and Babylonians to scatter the nation in punishment. He knows where our hearts lead us, way before we actually get there, and cares enough about us to strongly warn us, and provide a way of repentance. Our pious actions do not fool God. All the church, giving, friendliness to others, and goodwill toward men is meaningless to Him without our love.

God doesn't just judge and punish, He really does want us to repent; "Come now, and let us reason together." He says Is 1:18. He gives us a way out of this mess Is 1:16-17:

  1. Wash yourselves, be clean from your sins Is 1:16,18
  2. Turn from evil Is 1:16, and obey God Is 1:19
  3. Learn to do good Is 1:17
  4. Seek justice
  5. Reprove the ruthless
  6. Defend orphans
  7. Plead for widows
God doesn't judge for no reason, petulantly. He is longsuffering and willing to forgive. But when sin and rejection continues, He cannot deny His character and allow sin to proliferate among His people, and will refine away the dross and alloy Is 1:25 from the gold that is His people. He has a goal in mind: restoration of righteousness and faithfulness Is 1:26, He's doesn't judge out of reactionary anger.

God hates sin, has the power to defeat it, and does so all the time. He did it for Israel, He's done it for me, and can do it for you. There is no reason to live in sin, with the opportunity to serve God is righteousness is offered so freely Rom 6:23.

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