CONSIDER & KNOW your RIGHTFUL PLACE with GOD: "Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth! For the Lord has spoken: I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against Me; the ox knows its owner and the donkey its master's crib; but Israel does not know, My people do not consider." (Isaiah 1:2-3)
The book of Isaiah reveals on a broad basis the plan of God’s intentions for this world. In this regard, God evaluates His own people, the Israelites, and finds them far away from what He had originally planned for them, and had set forth in His Law. God then wants to purify His people through His judgments until they are purged of all their sins. This prophetical book looks ahead to a day when God will send a Messiah to be a servant to His people and to usher in an era of peace and righteousness in the world.
The first chapter of this book was probably the first of Isaiah's public messages, and may be described generally as a message concerning sin and salvation. Isaiah pictures the southern kingdom of Judah as ungrateful children rebelling against their parents as they have become corrupt and backslidden. The prophet then calls God’s people back to obedience to God, the “Holy One of Israel”.
God is pictured as both the prosecutor and the judge as He summons His creation, both heaven and earth, to witness his indictment of the spiritually bankrupt Judah and Jerusalem (see similar summons by Moses in Deut. 4:26; 30:19; 32:1). The natural realm is called to witness how Judah and Jerusalem have unnaturally rebelled against God. The whole universe is summoned to attend a trial with God as the Judge, and with Judah and Jerusalem as defendants. The great preacher Spurgeon comments about this passage as follows:
"Angels and men, the upper and the lower worlds, are called to witness the solemn scene. The whole creation shall stand in court to testify to the solemnity and the truth of the divine pleading. Both earth beneath and heaven above shall unite in condemning sin; the guilty shall have no appeal, though all are summoned that they may appeal if they dare. Both angels and men have seen the guilt of mankind and the goodness of the Lord, they shall therefore confess the justice of the divine utterance, and say ‘Amen’ to the sentence of the supreme Judge."
Just like a disappointed father, God diagnosed sin in His people due to which they deliberately disobeyed and refused to submit to His authority and rule (63:10; 66:24). We can only imagine the pain that God felt as He presented His indictment against Judah and Jerusalem regarding the apostasy, ingratitude, and deep depravity of His chosen people with these words: “Even my children, those whom I have reared, even they have rebelled” (63:8; Ex. 4:22; Hos. 11:1). His people had failed to show even the natural devotion that could be expected of domestic animals like the ox and the donkey, which have enough sense to know whom they should follow. The whole of creation would be bearing witness against Judah and Jerusalem that God had warned them before of judgment if they ever broke their covenant with Him (see Deut. 30:19; 32:1). The fact that God’s people “do not know” and “do not consider” implies a deliberate and self-willed disobedience from their part!
Today, "the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him" (2 Chron. 16:9). God has loved us enough to send His only begotten Son Jesus to die on the cross for us and redeem us from our sins, and He has accepted us as His children (John 1:12-13). In return, do we consider and know our rightful place with God? Or, are we living in sin and far away from God?