Turning away from God or turning back to God?
Prophet Isaiah was best known as the Hebrew prophet who predicted the coming of Jesus Christ to save mankind from sin. He lived around 700 years before the birth of Jesus Christ. The meaning of Isaiah is “The Lord saves” and the word salvation is found 26 times in the book.
Isaiah prophesied to a nation that had turned a deaf ear to the Lord. Instead of serving God with humility and offering love to their neighbor, the nation of Judah offered meaningless sacrifices in God’s temple at Jerusalem and committed injustices throughout the nation. The people of Judah turned their backs on God and alienated themselves from Him. Isaiah was trying to bring them back to God.
People have turned away from God and failed in their responsibility as His children. Isaiah.1:2-20.
A. The sinful condition of Judah. Isa.1:2-4.
I reared children and brought them up but they rebelled against me. 1:2.
The leaders and people of Judah are like children, who never appreciated what their parents have done for them. They forget what God has done for them.
The ox knows its master, the donkey… Isa.1:3. The ox at least knows its master but Judah doesn’t know who owns them. The donkey knows who takes care of them but Judah doesn’t know who takes care of them.
Ah,sinful nation, a people loaded with guilt, a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption…. Isa.1:4. Their sinful condition is very painful.
B. The desperate condition of Judah. Isa.1:5-9.
Judah was attacked, defeated miserably by their enemies because they forget God.(2 Chronicles.28) Still they are not turning to God.
Your country is desolate, your cities burned with fire, your fields are being stripped by foreigners,… Isa.1:7.
Despite their sin, God does not wish evil upon Judah. Instead He longs them to repent and make it easy on themselves.
C. God hates their empty religious ceremonies Isa.1:10-15.
…you rulers of Sodom,..you people of Gomorrah. Isa.1:10. God is obviously trying to get the attention of the leaders and people of Judah ,by associating them with 2 cities known for sin and judgment.
The multitude of your sacrifices-…I have no pleasure.. Isa.1:11.
Even in the midst of their rebellion, Judah continued its religious ceremony and rituals. They continued sacrifice, burnt offerings, incenses, assemblies, sacred meetings..
stop bringing meaningless offerings. Your insence is detestable to me…I cannot bear your evil assemblies. Isa.1:13.
Your new moon festivals and your appointed feasts, my soul hates. They have become a burden to me.. 1:14.
…I will hide my eyes from you,..I will not listen to you( to your prayers)Your hands are full of blood. Isa.1:15.
D.Lord offers a cure-Repent, Return and be blessed. Isa.1:16-20.
Wash and make yourself clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight, stop doing wrong. Isa.1:16. The corruption of Judah’s leaders and people was shown in their treatment of one another.(read 1 John.4:20).
They tried to show their love to God by their religious ceremonies but the Lord cared more about how they treated other people especially the weak- fatherless and widows. Isa.1:17.
“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow..” Isa.1:18. Their condition of sin can be transferred from deeply stained to completely white. Only the sacrificial death of Jesus can make us white as snow. If we repent and confess our sins, God will forgive.(1 John.1:9)
If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land. Isa. 1:19.
but if you resist and rebel, you will be destroyed by the sword… Isa.1:20.
God offering a choice. They must surrender their heart before God, and not refuse and rebel.
Is it willing and obedient or refuse and rebel?
Reward. Eat of the food of the land or be devoured by the sword. Blessing or curse.
Do we remember what God has done in our life and are thankful to Him?
Is God, happy about our church activities, fellowships, prayers, offerings,…? Is he disappointed about our outward religion without any inward transformation?
Are we willing to repent and confess our sins, turn to God and willing to please Him in our thoughts, words and actions?