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Thursday, November 17, 2011

11/18/11 Isaiah 1 Straying Away from Love

2 Hear, O heavens! Listen, O earth! For the LORD has spoken: “I reared children and brought them up,
but they have rebelled against me. 3 The ox knows his master, the donkey his owner’s manger,
but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.”
18 “Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.
19 If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land; 20 but if you resist and rebel,
you will be devoured by the sword.” For the mouth of the LORD has spoken. 21 See how the faithful city has become a harlot! She once was full of justice;    righteousness used to dwell in her—
but now murderers! 22 Your silver has become dross, your choice wine is diluted with water.
23 Your rulers are rebels, companions of thieves; they all love bribes and chase after gifts.
They do not defend the cause of the fatherless; the widow’s case does not come before them.
24 Therefore the Lord, the LORD Almighty, the Mighty One of Israel, declares: “Ah, I will get relief from my foes and avenge myself on my enemies. 25 I will turn my hand against you; I will thoroughly purge away your dross and remove all your impurities.

(Isaiah Michelangelo Cistine Chapel, Vatican 1509)

Thoughts: Isaiah says that Israel is a prodigal child gone astray.  They were not grateful, and they are selfish. Their leaders are corrupt with bribes and political intrigue. Once they were pure- even sparkling like silver, but now they have become polluted and need the alloys purged away.  But even now there is a possibility of forgiveness if they repent and are obedient. 
     It was truly sad for Isaiah to see the drastic fall from Uzziah's restoration to Ahaz's bringing the Assyrian altar into the Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem, and then nailing the doors to the Temple shut.  The shining light- the silver- had become dim.  In America today we can see a church that is rapidly conforming to the world, covering over its light with dross, and watering down its salt so it will not stand out so much- and be able to "keep up" with the evil times.  America won an ideological battle against communism in the late 1980s, and then folded in on itself with sexual immorality and focus on earthly things.  Yet even now, though our sins be as scarlet there is a chance to be made pure once more.  What it takes is a humble desire to obey God and repent.  This is also true for us as individuals. We may stray away from the God who loves us. But, if we turn back to God, He will welcome us as the father welcomed the prodigal son. 

Prayer: Thank you for your grace, Lord, that offers me forgiveness when I have failed.

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