"Come now, and let us reason together," Says the LORD, "Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool.Isaiah 1:18(NASB)
From their escape out of Egypt and throughout their long history the children of Israel rebelled against the Lord. Isaiah was one of many prophets of God who was inspired to record their gross idolatry and ungodly ways and to express God's bitter indictment of His chosen nation. And yet he also wrote of God's long-suffering patience, His loving-kindness and His never-failing tender-mercy towards His errant people.
Israel was guilty on all counts and described by this prophet of God as a sinful nation who broke their covenant with the Lord. He labelled them a brood of evil-doers, depraved children and a people weighed down with iniquity. He described them as being sick from the soles of their feet to the tops of their head and infested with wounds, bruises and putrefying sores. He likened them to the depraved people of Sodom and Gomorrah and pronounced God's stern judgement upon them all.
But he also wrote of a small remnant.. a few survivors, who trusted their God and found grace in the eyes of the Lord. And throughout the book of Isaiah we hear an ongoing call to repentance and a plea to turn from their wicked ways and to learn to do good. Isaiah implored them to seek after justice and to reprove the ruthless - to defend the orphan and to plead for the widow.
Despite their apostasy God continues to offer His people complete forgiveness and restoration if they will simply return to Him and renounce their wicked ways. He entreats His people to repent of their sins and wash themselves in His cleansing flood: “Come now, and let us reason together,' says the LORD, 'Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool.
An inner cleansing of the heart and mind is what the Lord desires of all His people, which should be reflected in outward deeds of righteousness and social justice. They were not to reason with the Lord by defending their behaviour and arguing their innocence - but were to admit that His ways are perfect and good.. they are right and righteous altogether - for their behaviour was unacceptable for the people of God.
Like most of the old testament, Isaiah is written towards Israel as a nation. But all Scripture is for our learning and there is much that Christians in the body of Christ can learn from Isaiah - much that we should avoid and much that we should apply in our everyday lives.
Trusting God's Word, acknowledging their sin, admitting their guilt, renouncing their idolatry, repenting of their evil ways and turning from their ungodliness had to precede God's purifying and cleansing for Israel.. and likewise as Christians we have to admit our guilt, renounce our idolatry, repent and recognise that we are sinners who need a Saviour so that by faith in His sacrificial death and glorious resurrection we may be cleansed of our wicked ways, forgiven of our sin, washed in His precious blood, declared righteous in the eyes of our heavenly Father - and live a life that is holy unto the Lord.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the way that You have used Israel as an example to us of the importance of purifying our heart and learning all that You want to teach us as we journey through life. I pray that I may shun evil and renounce those things that dishonour Your name and live godly in Christ Jesus - Who is my life and my Salvation - and in Whose name I pray, AMEN.