The IMPORTANCE of ‘GETTING RIGHT’ with GOD: "Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow. "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; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword"; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken. (Isaiah 1:16-20)
God called Isaiah as a prophet to denounce the sins of Judah and Jerusalem, and the book of Isaiah is regarded as the first of the series of prophecies by the ‘major’ prophets, the others being Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel. In chapters 1–5, Isaiah highlights the sin of Judah and Jerusalem while weaving together the themes of sin, judgment, and deliverance in the subsequent chapters.
The first chapter of Isaiah describes three charges of God’s indictment against His children:
- The first charge was that they had “rebelled” against God (1:2–9) and had ‘turned their backs’ on the Holy One of Israel. Their rebellion brought judgment from God that was tempered only by God’s mercy in graciously leaving a remnant.
- The second charge was that their worship was not sincere (1:10–20) and the people displayed their rebellion through insincere worship. Rather than following God’s command to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” (Deut. 6:5), the people sought to buy off God with their many sacrifices. God saw through their hypocritical worship.
- The third charge was that they did not keep justice (1:21–31). A city once faithful to God had now prostituted itself for material gain. Murder, thievery, bribery, and injustice characterized the rulers and people in the similar manner. God vowed to avenge and purge the people as He promised one day to judge the rebels and restore His city to a place of righteousness.
In the midst of these charges, God extends a unilateral offer to His children to reconsider their ways. As God’s children, this offer also extends to us and we need to understand that our heart attitude (whether obedience or rebellion) will display itself in how we relate to God and others.
What does God require from us to get right with Him?
- Cleanse ourselves from our sins through the blood of Jesus. (Isa 1:16a, 18). "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)
- Forsake everything that stands between our relationship with worshiping and serving God (Isa 1:16b). "He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy." (Prov 28:13)
- Do good to others and stand for righteousness and justice (Isa 1:17). "He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?" (Micah 6:8)