Isaiah 1-4, Psalm 109
As Isaiah writes these words in the first 4 chapters of the book titled with his name, Judah is at a time of extreme prosperity. So, as we read these things they mirror the situation in our nation at this time of history. The nations, the individuals, the societies all change; but the way they sin, their tendency to fall away from a relationship with God into a religion, and their reliance on humanity rather than God never changes. God also never changes. Loving those called according to His name, being completely just and fair, He must hold sin accountable. But being completely merciful and full of grace, always offering forgiveness and a renewed relationship with Him if we would only come to Him with a heart of repentance. We read in Isaiah 1:18-19, “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool. If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land;”.
Interestingly, Isaiah 2:4, which is a well known verse is displayed permanently on the United Nations Building, which characterizes just how far we have fallen away from God. The verse reads, “He shall judge between the nations, And rebuke many people; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore.” The problem with what they placed on the U.N. building is they purposely left off the beginning of the verse which says, “He shall judge between the nations, And rebuke many people;”. So they took this beautiful promise from God, and by removing God from the verse they applied it to the power of man. As Satan, did in the temptation of Jesus in the desert (Matthew 4), watch out when Scripture is altered to fit a different meaning.
In Isaiah 3:9, it says, “The look on their countenance witnesses against them, And they declare their sin as Sodom; They do not hide it. Woe to their soul! For they have brought evil upon themselves.” People will say that the sins we are plagued with now have always been around and that is correct. But what is different is there is no longer any shame to sin. Sin is paraded proudly, and those of us who choose not to embrace it are deemed intolerant. That is the sin of Sodom, a brazenness or in your face approach to sin.
Today’s reading ends with the same hope that we have, “The Branch of the Lord”. We know that humans do not have the ability to right their own path in their own strength. Just as we know that our salvation rests completely on the finished work of Christ on the Cross. We have that same assurance that He will come again and make things right.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: