September 1: Repenting From Religion (Isaiah 1:1-20)
Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes;
cease to do evil,
learn to do good;
bring justice to the fatherless,
plead the widow's cause.
“Come now, 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 become like wool.
If you are willing and obedient,
you shall eat the good of the land;
but if you refuse and rebel,
you shall be eaten by the sword;
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” (ESV)
God calls heaven and earth as witnesses to be present as he indicts his people with the charge of rebellion. These people who have been called by his name, adopted into his family, had forsaken the Lord their God and put their trust instead in idols and political alliances. God reveals to them the foolishness of their sin, its disastrous consequences, and the vanity of practicing false religion. He mercifully appeals to his people to come and reason, to wash themselves, to cease from evil and learn to do good. God is calling for his people to come by faith, but specifically, a faith that results in justice and mercy, caring for the fatherless and providing for the widow. God calls them to repent of their false religion and live by faith in God in order to display his goodness to the world.
Review and Apply
- Why does God bring heaven and earth to be witnesses against this charge?
- What is it about Judah’s religion that disgusts and angers God? How does this reveal the true nature of their faith?
- How does this text show the practical foolishness of sin? Why do we continue in sin even though we see its harmfulness?
- What is a mark of genuine repentance (1:16-17)?
- How is God’s comfort offered in this passage?
- How does God’s promise to remove the stain develop in the rest of the book (i.e. the coming king/servant)?