TEXT: Isaiah 1:1-20
1 The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.
2 Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the Lord hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me.
3 The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider.
4 Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward.
5 Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.
6 From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.
7 Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers.
8 And the daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city.
9 Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.
10 Hear the word of the Lord, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah.
11 To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the Lord: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats.
12 When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts?
13 Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting.
14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them.
15 And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.
16 Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;
17 Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.
18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:
20 But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
D.A. Carson said, “People do not drift toward Holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; we drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated.”
In the opening verses of Isaiah’s prophecy, God charges His people with rebelling against Him and refusing to consider His pleas. He brands them as worse than livestock who at least know who their master is and return again and again to the master’s care. But, the situation with Israel is far more severe than the erosion of reciprocal trust and loyalty. In verse 4 of this passage, the Lord uses four nouns to describe the blessed standing of the people of Israel and four adjectives to describe how it was ruined.
First, they are a “nation,” the result of God’s promise to Abraham that he would be the father of a great nation. Israel should not have existed as a nation, and without God’s direct intervention, she would not have even become a nation. Despite the odds, she became a nation at the nexus of the then-known world. But, now she is “sinful” — a sinful nation. She has become the opposite of Abraham who followed and trusted God without question. And, thus, she has lost many of the blessings that Abraham received.
Then, Israel is a “people” — a unique people called out from the nations around her to display the glory of God. She had a special status unlike any other people group in history. But, now, she is “laden with guilt.” She is burdened down. She has become what the Bible calls a “byword” — a person or thing cited as a notorious and infamous embodiment of shame. She failed to show God’s glory to the nations, and now those nations will become her downfall.
Third, God reminds Israel of her status as a “seed.” This word, which can also be translated “brood,” refers to Israel being the offspring or descendants of Abraham. But now, they are a “seed of evildoers.” Their fathers were evildoers and, instead of choosing a righteous path, they have walked in their father’s ways. Jesus dealt with the first century religious Jews in a similar manner. They professed to be children of Abraham who loved the Scriptures and the prophets. But Jesus reminded them that their forefathers had killed the prophets, and that they themselves were a “brood of vipers” unlikely to escape condemnation in Hell.
Finally, God refers to Israel as “children.” They were His children and He expected them to act like it. Instead, they had become “corrupted” and were spreading their corruption around. Hundreds of years later, the Jewish religious leaders would try to defend themselves by saying they were children of God. But Jesus told them “ye are of your father the devil.”
In his commentary, J. Alec Motyer provides a parallel for the church today: “The Israelites were designed to be special as the unique nation and people, special to God as the ‘seed’ of Abraham and his very own ‘sons’ — and sin had ruined all! But the heart of this sinfulness is how they now stand in relation to the Lord. Only commitment to the Lord secures true values in life; when the commitment goes, values follow. To forsake the Lord is the opposite of to seek the Lord. Just as ‘seeking’ is not looking for him as though he were lost but showing a determination to be with him where he is to be found, so forsaking is deliberately distancing ourselves from him. It arises from a change of heart whereby he who should be loved is rather spurned or ‘treated with scorn.'”
When we in the church sidle up to the world, no matter how we mask it with sanctimonious speech, we show contempt and scorn for God and His ways. We would probably not describe ourselves as “forsaking” the Lord because we have deceived ourselves into thinking that the lip service we pay Him is sufficient. But, we certainly do not seek Him as we should. Like the children of Israel, we have “gone away backward” and “provoked the Holy One to anger.” And, unless we return to actively, deliberately seeking the Lord, we will continue to face His punishment.
Fred Pratt Green wrote:
Seek the Lord who now is present,
pray to One who is at hand.
Let the wicked cease from sinning,
evildoers change their mind.
On the sinful God has pity;
those returning God forgives.
This is what the Lord is saying
to a world that disbelieves.
If you are a Christian listening today, here are three things you need to do:
1. Confess and repent of your own sins. You already know what they are.
2. Pray for your brothers and sisters in Christ to repent of their sins and get back to their first love
3. Pray for souls to be saved, and do your part by witnessing to the lost.
Now, if you are with us today and you do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to show you how you can place your faith and trust in Him for Salvation from sin and Hell.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your Salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the Cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.