Listen, heavens, and pay attention, earth, for the Lord has spoken: “I have raised children and brought them up, but they have rebelled against Me. The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master’s feeding trough, but Israel does not know; My people do not understand.” Oh sinful nation, people weighed down with iniquity, brood of evildoers, depraved children! They have abandoned the Lord; they have despised the Holy One of Israel; they have turned their backs on Him.
Why do you want more beatings? Why do you keep on rebelling? The whole head is hurt, and the whole heart is sick. From the sole of the foot even to the head, no spot is uninjured — wounds, welts, and festering sores not cleansed, bandaged, or soothed with oil. Your land is desolate, your cities burned with fire; foreigners devour your fields before your very eyes— a desolation demolished by foreigners. Daughter Zion is abandoned like a shelter in a vineyard, like a shack in a cucumber field, like a besieged city. If the Lord of Hosts had not left us a few survivors, we would be like Sodom, we would resemble Gomorrah.
Hear the word of the Lord, you rulers of Sodom! Listen to the instruction of our God, you people of Gomorrah! “What are all your sacrifices to Me?” asks the Lord. “I have had enough of burnt offerings and rams and the fat of well-fed cattle; I have no desire for the blood of bulls, lambs, or male goats. When you come to appear before Me, who requires this from you— this trampling of My courts? Stop bringing useless offerings. Your incense is detestable to Me. New Moons and Sabbaths, and the calling of solemn assemblies — I cannot stand iniquity with a festival. I hate your New Moons and prescribed festivals. They have become a burden to Me; I am tired of putting up with them. When you lift up your hands in prayer, I will refuse to look at you; even if you offer countless prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are covered with blood.
Question: Why wouldn’t Judah look at all this and say, “We need to change this. What we are doing is not working!”? Every person who heard this should have been startled and convicted into repentance.
“Wash yourselves. Cleanse yourselves. Remove your evil deeds from My sight. Stop doing evil. Learn to do what is good. Seek justice. Correct the oppressor. Defend the rights of the fatherless. Plead the widow’s cause.
One of the things we can miss here, is that there must be an outside agent for washing. In other words, you can ‘t wash yourself unless you have something to do it with. This is the sinner accepting an offer of cleansing.
What can wash away my sin, nothing but the blood of Jesus.
When God changes a person’s heart, it work itself out. A person doesn’t become cleansed when they do these things listed, a cleansed person does these things.
“Come, let us discuss this,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are as red as crimson, they will be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land. But if you refuse and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.” For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
Earlier I mentioned that it seems like people would want to pay attention as Isaiah described the mess they were in … here God invites them to talk it over.
What a promise… you sin can be forgiven… the stain of it can be removed.
I believe God is saying that still today. Hey, lets talk it over. Look at the mess of your life without me… Let’s talk about what can be done. Let’s reason this out. You can trade in your old sin stained life for one that’s white as snow. You can be made new. You can be made whole.
The People of Isaiah’s day had the promise of living in the land with good things to eat, or the negative promise of being brought to an end by their enemies.
Today we have the promise of living forever in a PLACE CALLED HEAVEN, OR A PLACE CALLED HELL. ALL DEPENDENT ON WHAT WE DO WITH JESUS.