Read Isaiah 1:10-20
“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” (v. 18).
Verses 10-15 of Isaiah 1 are shocking, really. God has a message for a very religious people, and it is not a pretty one. “I’m sick of your church services,” He tells them, in effect. “You sing hymns with great resonance, fast with strict observance, and pray with lifted hands, but I won’t hear you. It all disgusts me.”
What is the reason for God’s revulsion? He says their “hands are full of blood.” God tells them they need cleansing from their sins; there are some things they should NOT do. God explains in detail what they need to do instead: Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows (v. 17).
The Israelites had adopted all the outward forms of spirituality. These were not only Christmas and Easter attenders; they taught Sunday school and led prayer meetings. But somehow, in all the trappings of religion, they had missed the most important part: the heart of God.
The truth is, when we seek God we find our hearts breaking at the needs and brokenness of others. God wanted His people to open their eyes to the oppressed, the orphan, and the widow — the most vulnerable in society. (Ashlee Englund)
Jesus wants to cleanse us from sin and empower us to help others.
This devotional is the Tuesday, January 7, 2014 entry from the Winter 2014 edition of Opening the Word.
Photo Credit: "Church" by silent shot used under CC BY / Cropped.