Click here for today’s reading http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah%201-4&version=NIV
WHOA BABY!!!! God sends the prophets to WARN HIS people, to try to get their ATTENTION, to try to get them to CALL ON HIS NAME, CONFESS their sins, REPENT, and have a ONE On ONE relationship with HIM, obey HIM, DO HIS will…. HOW often have we heard this since we started our reading????
At the time of Isaiah’s writing, the Northern Kingdom of Israel no longer exists. The Southern Kingdom of Judah is still hanging on….but barely. ISAIAH is TRYING to get them to LISTEN and OBEY the LORD. HE is trying to get them to WAKE UP!!!
What stood out to me is 3:9 “The look on their faces testifies against them, they parade their sin like Sodom; they do not hide it. Woe to them! THEY HAVE BROUGHT DISASTER UPON THEMSELVES.”
DID YOU CATCH THAT…. THEY HAVE BROUGHT DISASTER UPON THEMSELVES.
Unfortunately Judah will not listen and they will fall just like Israel and WHY…. because they refused to listen to The Lord. Judah and Israel USED to be ONE country. THEY BELIEVED in GOD. They still believe in God, they just don’t want to do life HIS way. It is important to understand that their CHOICES and CONSEQUENCES did not happen over night. Their moral descent was a gradual spiritual departure from God….. GRADUAL…..first there is complacency towards God…..then spiritual confusion…..then merging God with idols, and ultimately……total rebellion and rejection of God’s ways.
As you read these 4 chapters notice the things Judah was NOT doing.. they were not worshiping God, but idols and SACRIFICING their children to these idols…they had blood on their hands….they KNEW God’s ways but REFUSED to follow them….they HEARD the prophets but rebelled against their warnings….(OH NO … OUR GOD will NOT put us through bad things, there are NO consequences to our behavior, we are accepting of everyone and everything…we are good people.) Step by step they turned against God and when their hearts were hardened…..their rebellion and actions were out and out brazen….selfish…self centered…no care for the needy….for the widows….for the poor…ONLY for themselves!!
Does this sound familiar to anyone? Let me ask this a different way, does God EVER change? NO…. HE does NOT. HE IS the same yesterday, today, and for always. HIS WORD is the SAME yesterday, today, and always. And as bad as Judah had become….God STILL WANTED them to return to HIM. HE sent people to warn them, to bring them back to HIM, so they could each have that loving, personal, wonderful relationship with HIM.
So as you read Isaiah REMEMBER ABOVE ALL that it TRULY is a book of HOPE!!! It will take a hard look at some topics to help us examine our own lives, where we are, how we live for HIM, do we pray for our leaders, etc. As we are focused on Judah and what they are doing as well as what they are NOT doing…. think about our country. What things as a nation are we doing and what things are we not doing??? We as a people have become so tolerant that we have lost ourselves in our tolerance. I am NOT saying tolerance is a bad thing, after all part of love is tolerance. However, we are to live by the Word of the MOST HIS GOD and KNOW what is right and wrong in our living. We are taught as believers in Jesus Christ to love the sinner but not the sin, yet somehow we can’t tell the difference anymore between the sinner and the sin so we are tolerant of it all. Often our tolerance has given us another way to place God on the back burner in our lives. Following God DOES NOT MEAN we are the judge and the jury for things in life (like we are not supposed to go shoot someone because they are living life against God’s ways.) However, God expects us to lovingly, humbly, meekly ….. STAND UP for HIM, LIVE for HIM, OBEY HIM, LOVE like HE loves, and SHARE what HE has done in our lives with those around us.
Look at the things that have happened in our nation in the recent past….. we have stopped prayer in schools, at public events; we are allowing the 10 Commandments to be removed from public property; and most of us don’t know if “In God we Trust” will remain on our money because our politicians are allowed to keep things secret from us; we are allowing people to determine where a nativity scene can be placed; we are passing laws about abortion left and right (remember in Isaiah where it said they had blood on their hands…they sacrificed hundreds of their babies to Baal and other gods…..since abortion has become law THOUSANDS of babies lives have been ended.) Did anyone listen to the announcers discuss the pregnancy of Prince William and Princess Kate? The ENTIRE discussion was about the “Royal Baby”….not the “Royal Fetus!!” We have laws on our books that can convict a murderer for a double murder if both the mother and her baby were killed….but when it comes to abortion…..it is a fetus. The bottom line is our culture, our society, our nation is gradually taking its focus off of God. And, those who try to keep their focus on HIM are made out to be fools, incompetents, intolerants, troublemakers, etc, to the “main stream”.
Israel had many many idols with obvious statues built in honor of these idols/gods. You may be saying, but America doesn’t have idols…..but think about as a society, where most of our energy goes…..making money, watching TV shows and listening to music that may not be healthy, reading the wrong types of books, sex outside of marriage, pornography, drugs, alcohol, gambling, worrying what other people think of us and if we will fit in, wanting the latest everything, and the list just keeps on going.
My point in saying all of this is NOT to condemn. IN Jesus there is NO condemnation. My point in saying this is to help each of us see how much like Judah and Israel our country, our world has become. Look how much like Sodom and Gomorrah Israel and Judah became!!! Isaiah is as much a warning for us today as it was for the people 2500+ years ago. God corrects HIS people. The correction is may be through nature, through the attack by other nations upon us, through captivity, etc. HOW will He correct us? Who will HE let us fall captive to? Is HE allowing the enemy to sift us? Isaiah is much more than a historical book….it is a book of prophesy…and MOST important…even for us today….it is a book of HOPE (I know I’ve said that before…but I don’t want you to forget that.)
A few words in Chapter 1, verse 4 that you may want to make notes of from the original Hebrew are:
Sinful (chote) means breaking a personal relationship, not just a law
Guilt (won) means a lifestyle bent out of shape
Evildoers ( ra a) wicked in the most general ways, unbelievers
Corruption (mere im) destruction that eliminates the possibility for well-being
They had forsaken and spurned the Lord.
If you reread verses 11-17, God clearly, CLEARLY says HE DOES NOT WANT RELIGION. HE wants RELATIONSHIP. God does not want Religion without relationship, God does not care what denomination we are….. HE cares about whether we have a RELATIONSHIP, a PERSONAL relationship with Jesus Christ…. He does NOT want us in a Religion without relationship HE wants a relationship of real religion.
Let’s Open this book wide OPEN. Let’s dig deep. Use the comment section to ask or discuss any of the Scriptures. This will be the most CHALLENGING of books to read, it is poetry, historical, prophetical and at times mind boggling.
The Lord is concerned about our Holiness, not about our prosperity. Chapters 2-4 are a pre-vision for the Christian Faith. It is also a prophecy of the New Jerusalem, Zion, as it speaks in Revelation. One day Zion will be the center of the World and it will be the total conclusion of Peace on Earth.
These chapters are clearly mixed with scriptures of Jesus Christ. Any time you see the word ‘raised up’ take a moment to see if it is the moment of Jesus on the Cross. Often referred to as the Temple. For example,
In the last days
the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established
as chief among the mountains;
it will be raised above the hills,
and all nations will stream to it. Many peoples will come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
to the house of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways,
so that we may walk in his paths.”
The law will go out from Zion,
the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
The reading today ended with the symbolism of the Branch of God (notice the capitalizing) , who is Jesus, and speaks of the cleansing power of the Spirit. The reading ended today with a wonderful verse referring to the Branch:
It will be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day, and a refuge and hiding place from the storm and rain.
The last verses in Chapter 4….made the today’s reading the HOPE for me. God’s peace fell over me when I was reading these last verses because of the HOPE.
Sharing HIS love,