Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes! Cease to do evil, Learn to do right! Seek justice, relieve the oppressed, and correct the oppressor. Defend the fatherless, plead for the widow. (Isaiah 1:16, 17 AMP)
Our Heavenly Father, disciplines those whom He loves (Prov. 3:12; Heb. 12:6; Rev. 3:19). Through the prophet Isaiah, God scolds the children of Israel. He describes how He’s been a nurturing and loving parent, who has raised them well, instilled in them His Godly principles. He delivered them from slavery, fed and clothed them in the dessert, gave them shelter from the rain. He led them to the promise land, a prosperous land. God has gone above and beyond meeting their needs, but now they had turned their backs on Him. Those He’d been so faithful to had completely deserted Him.
As you read through the beginning chapter of Isaiah, you feel God’s anger, His hurt and pain. You can feel how disappointed He was for the way His children had been behaving. Mothers, can you relate? You’ve been there when your children have done something they knew was wrong? They’ve behaved in a manner that was contrary to the way you raised them. Remember how disappointed and hurt you were? Remember how angry you felt? You were angry, disappointed and hurt because they knew better. They knew right from wrong, and since they knew, you disciplined them. That’s how God felt.
As a Father, God had come to Israel’s aid time after time. He’s been their faithful God. Despite, Israel had turned their backs on God. Once again they had walked away from His love. Again they had abandoned His principles, began doing evil things – godless things that God detests. And from their rebellion and corruption, they were wounded and afflicted by their own doing. Their evil was causing harm to themselves. Their lives were a mess as a result of their outrageous sinful life (Isa.1:5-8).
Even worse, God’s children had turned their worship for Him into a game, a spectacle. Israel’s sacrifices, their offerings, and their worship were a big half-time show! All worthless and all detestable to God. Their worship was not real, their giving wasn’t from the heart, but was just performance (Isa.1:11-14). God was tired of them playing church. All of it had become wearisome to God. He was not pleased, but angry! He said, “When you pray and ask for help, I will close My eyes and will not listen” (Isa. 1:15). Just the thought of that verse is devastating to me. Can you imagine our Heavenly Father not listening to us? Basically, turning His back on us?
God admonished Israel as He admonishes us today: Change your ways. Stop sinning. Stop doing wrong and learn to do right. Remember what I’ve taught you. Return to Me. Comfort the hurting. Help the homeless. Stand up for the weak and helpless. Do your Christian duty.
SELF CHECK √: Has my life been a reflection of the Savior? Have I been focusing so much on rituals, church programs and performances that I’m neglecting what’s most important, to glorify God with my life? Have I deserted God? Have I removed God and His principles from my everyday life in order to satisfy me?