What Does God Want for Us?
God, I ask that You open my eyes to see You, my lips to praise You, my hands to share You.
Read Isaiah 1:1-20
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
Forgiven, forgotten, forever! When we come and reason with God about our sins, that’s what happens. They will be cleansed (18). That’s good news, indeed!
Two mothers at a recent Easter retreat both discovered that when they contemplated the cross, the pain they felt most deeply was for their children who had gone astray, and they both found comfort in the words, “By his wounds we are healed” (Isa. 53:5). It reminded them that there was still hope that their child could find healing in Christ’s death. In Isaiah 1, we hear this same heart in God: pain for his children who no longer acknowledge him because their rebellion is hurting both them and him.
There is much in these early chapters of Isaiah condemning faithless people. Sometimes these same prophetic pronouncements are repeated today to condemn our errant society, but the prophet is not portraying a vindictive God. What motivates God’s call to repentance is a longing for the return of his children. The God who created us knows only too well how destructive our rebellion is to our physical, emotional and societal health. Loaded with guilt (4), our head-to-foot bruises (6) often come from internal fighting as well as from a violent society. A lonely existence, like a rough, temporary hut in a landscape of fruitfulness, can be as devastating as fire and brimstone (8,9).
What does God want for us? Recovery. Wholeness. All we were meant to be. A recent “Quit Smoking” advertisement urges: “Stop smoking! Start repairing! Every cigarette you don’t smoke is doing you good!” That is what God is saying: “Quit your sinning; quit your rebelling against the way I made you; it will be good for you! Be reasonable, and you will have the best of all I had in mind in creating you” (18,19). “Even your worship is worthless if it is not accompanied by seeking purity and doing justice” (10-17).
Paul quotes v. 9 to illustrate God’s mercy (Rom. 9:29). Do you let God’s love and patience encourage you? How?
Loving Father, today I want to take ownership of my sins and to know forgiveness. I desire to live a life of purity, seeking justice for those who are oppressed.
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