English Translation of the Greek (Septuagint): Wash you, be clean; remove your iniquities from your souls before mine eyes; cease from your iniquities;
Amplified: Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes! Cease to do evil, (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
KJV: Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;
NET: Wash! Cleanse yourselves! Remove your sinful deeds from my sight. Stop sinning! (NET Bible)
NJB: wash, make yourselves clean. Take your wrong-doing out of my sight. Cease doing evil. (NJB)
NLT: Wash yourselves and be clean! Let me no longer see your evil deeds. Give up your wicked ways. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Young's Literal: Wash ye, make ye pure, Turn aside the evil of your doings, from before Mine eyes, Cease to do evil, learn to do good.
|Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean;: (Job 11:13,14; Psalms 26:6; Jeremiah 4:14; Acts 22:16; 2Corinthians 7:1; James 4:8; Revelation 7:14)
In Isaiah 1:16, 17, 18, 19a Jehovah says that what Judah needed was not to continue to multiply sacrifices, prayers, etc, but a new heart which would be the source of new attitudes and new actions (toward evil, good, justice, ruthlessness, orphans, widows) that truly honor God. A broken and contrite heart (Ps 51:17) that yields its rights and will to the rights and will of the Most High God and brings forth fruit in keeping with such a change in thinking (repentance) is what constitutes real worship (real sacrifices, celebrations of feasts, prayers, etc) to God.
In Jeremiah we read a similar charge given to faithless, apostate Jerusalem (representative of all Judah)…
Remove… cease - These verbs following wash yourselves make it clear that the washing Jehovah is calling for is a spiritual cleansing from the filth and stain of sin.
Wash (07364) (rahas) means washing as with water to make clean. God commands them to carry out this action, speaking of course of making themselves spiritually clean. Rahas was used of ritual washings and therefore most of the uses are in Leviticus, for example as when…
Rahas - 71v in OT - Ge 18:4; 19:2; 24:32; 43:24, 31; Exod. 2:5; 29:4, 17; 30:18ff; 40:12, 30ff; Lev. 1:9, 13; 8:6, 21; 9:14; 14:8f; 15:5ff, 10f, 13, 16, 18, 21f, 27; 16:4, 24, 26, 28; 17:15f; 22:6; Num. 19:7f, 19; Deut. 21:6; 23:11; Jdg. 19:21; Ruth 3:3; 1 Sam. 25:41; 2 Sam. 11:2, 8; 12:20; 1 Ki. 22:38; 2 Ki. 5:10, 12f; 2 Chr. 4:6; Job 9:30; 29:6; Ps. 26:6; 58:10; 73:13; Pr 30:12; Song 5:3, 12; Isa. 1:16; 4:4; Ezek. 16:4, 9; 23:40.
The NAS render rahas as bathe(25), bathed(6), bathing(1), wash(24), washed(13), washed away(1), washing(2).
Rahas is used of literal washing as on that fateful night in King David's life…
And in Psalm 51:2 we hear King David's plea to God…
Rahas is used by David in Psalm 26…
Rahas is used in Isaiah 4 where the prophet records…
In Proverbs we see another use of rahas in the sense of spiritual washing…
Note that here in Isa 1:16 God commands the sinner to wash, whereas in Ezekiel 36:25, God speaks of cleansing that He will carry out. He alone is the only one Who can give the hard hearted sinner a new heart that desires to obey God. He is the only One Who can wash away our sins totally. As in so many places in Scripture, we see this mysterious, transcendent truth of man's responsibility and God's sovereignty.
C H Spurgeon rightly observes that the command "wash yourselves"
Make clean (02135) (zakah) means to be clean or to cleanse and is used primarily in a figurative sense in the OT (study the uses below).
Zakah - 8v in OT - Job 15:14; 25:4; Ps 51:4; 73:13; 119:9; Pr 20:9; Isa 1:16; Mic 6:11. The NAS renders zakah as blameless(1), clean(1), cleansed(1), justify(1), keep pure(1), kept pure(1), make clean(1), pure(1).
Remove the evil of your deeds from My sight: (Isa 55:6,7; Ezek 18:30,31; Zech 1:3,4; Mt 3:8; Ephesians 4:22, 23, 24; Titus 2:11, 12, 13, 14; 1Pe 2:1)
Remove (05493) (sur) means to turn away, desert, quit, stop, make depart. Here Jehovah commands them to get rid of evil.
This series of Hebrew verbal commands (remove… cease… learn to do good, etc) are in essence a call by Jehovah Himself to faithless Judah to repent and believe and bear fruit in keeping with that repentance, the same message proclaimed by John the Baptist and by our Lord Jesus Christ…
From My sight - All evil no matter how secret we might think it before men is open scandal in heaven for all sin is against God and blatantly in His line of sight (cp Ge 39:9, Neh 5:15, Ge 20:6, Nathan the prophet to David after sin with Bathsheba - 2Sa 12:9, 10, 11,12, 13, 14 then came David's cry of confession in Ps 51:4-note). This alone should cause us to be careful how we walk (cp Eph 5:15-note, 1Pe 1:17-note)
Cease to do evil: (Psalms 34:14; 37:27; Amos 5:15; Romans 12:9; Ephesians 4:25, 26, 27, 28, 29; 1Peter 3:11)
Cease (02308) (chadal/hadal) means in plain English to stop! God is not stuttering. The Greek verb pauo (also in the aorist imperative calling for obedience to this command immediately and completely!) also means to cause something to stop, to bring to an end. From other Scriptures (eg 1Jn 1:8) we know that God is not saying that we are to be perfect for that is not possible in this present life, even for saved individuals. But in context, He is saying stop committing the willful, rebellious transgressions that are outlined in this chapter (and representative of all rebellious acts against God's holiness).
Chadal/hadal - 53v in OT - Gen. 11:8; 18:11; 41:49; Exod. 9:29, 33f; 14:12; 23:5; Num. 9:13; Deut. 15:11; 23:22; Jdg. 5:6f; 9:9, 11, 13; 15:7; 20:28; Ruth 1:18; 1 Sam. 2:5; 9:5; 12:23; 23:13; 1 Ki. 15:21; 22:6, 15; 2 Chr. 16:5; 18:5, 14; 25:16; 35:21; Job 3:17; 7:16; 10:20; 14:6f; 16:6; 19:14; Ps. 36:3; 49:8; Prov. 10:19; 19:27; 23:4; Isa. 1:16; 2:22; 24:8; Jer. 40:4; 41:8; 44:18; 51:30; Ezek. 3:27; Amos 7:5; Zech. 11:12. The NAS renders chadal/hadal as cease(10), ceased(8), ceasing(1), deserted(1), fail(1), failed(1), gave up(1), hold back(1), leave(5), let alone(1), neglects(1), never mind(2), no(1), past(1), quit(1), refrain(6), refrained(1), refuse(1), regarding*(m)(1), rest(1), stop(4), stopped(4), stops(1), unavoidable*(1).
J C Ryle rightly says that genuine belief…
John Piper writes…
Walking on the Highway of Holiness
Sinners are lost and in grave need to hear God's holy word that they might walk in His holy way and will and this section of Isaiah (Isa 1:16, 17, 18, 19, 20) is God's "GPS" ("Global Positioning Signal") "turned on" to guide all those who are spiritual wayward and lost onto the ancient path (Jer 6:16, 18:15), the highway of holiness (Isa 35:8, 30:21, 1Pe 1:15-note) on which the redeemed (Isa 1:27, 35:9) are privileged to walk in this life and eternally in that to come.
REPENT - "Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes;"
REFRAIN - "cease to do evil;"
REEVALUATE - "Learn to do well; seek judgment,"
RELIEVE - "relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow."
WHAT'S RIGHT? - Read: Isaiah 1:11-18 Cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor. - Isaiah 1:16-17
When my computer greeted me this morning with what is ominously referred to as "the blue screen of death," I knew it was broken, but I didn't know how to fix it. I read a little, tried a few things, but finally had to call an expert for help. Knowing that something was wrong was only a small part of the problem; I couldn't fix it because I didn't know the right thing to do. The ordeal reminded me of the many pundits who appear on television news programs. All of them are "experts" at proclaiming what's wrong, but most are clueless as to what is right. This happens in relationships as well. In families, churches, and workplaces, nothing gets fixed because we get fixated on what's wrong. It doesn't take an expert to know that something is wrong when people quarrel and hurt each other with unkind words and behavior. But it does take an expert to know how to fix the problem. God revealed to Israel's prophets not only what was wrong but also what was right: "Cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow" (Isa.1:16,17). Instead of focusing on what is wrong, let's obey the One who knows what is right. - Julie Ackerman Link (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Lord, grant me grace throughout this day
LIKE A COMPUTER, THE BIBLE ALWAYS POINTS YOU IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION.
Look What's For Dinner - Isaiah 1:10-20 - Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings. —Isaiah 1:16
A health teacher taught his students the importance of washing their hands before eating. He had them take scrapings from their fingers and put them in an environment that fosters the growth of bacteria. A few days later, they looked at the results through a microscope. The students found critters from their fingers that could have made them sick if they had eaten them with their dinner.
Many people who make sure they wash their hands before they eat are careless about a far more serious kind of contamination. They should heed the advice of Isaiah. He showed God's people the visible evidence of their evil condition. He pointed to their crumbling society and told them it was the result of their moral and spiritual pollution. They had lived for selfish rewards, ignored justice and mercy, and loved material possessions more than people. No wonder Isaiah exhorted them, "Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean" (Isa. 1:16).
Behind Isaiah's words is the heavenly Father's love. Because God can see the danger of sin, He points to its visible, physical results. He pleads with us to be as careful with what we take into our hearts and minds as we are with what we put into our mouths. — Mart De Haan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Lord, grant me grace throughout this day
Keep out of your life whatever keeps Christ out of your mind.
English Translation of the Greek (Septuagint): learn to do well; diligently seek judgement, deliver him that is suffering wrong, plead for the orphan, and obtain justice for the widow.
Amplified: Learn to do right! Seek justice, relieve the oppressed, and correct the oppressor. Defend the fatherless, plead for the widow. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
KJV: Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.
NET: Learn to do what is right! Promote justice! Give the oppressed reason to celebrate! Take up the cause of the orphan! Defend the rights of the widow! (NET Bible)
NJB: Learn to do good, search for justice, discipline the violent, be just to the orphan, plead for the widow. (NJB)
NLT: Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the orphan. Fight for the rights of widows. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Young's Literal: Seek judgment, make happy the oppressed, Judge the fatherless, strive for the widow.
|Learn to do good; Seek justice Reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow:: (Isa 1:23; Psalms 82:3,4; Proverbs 31:9; Jeremiah 22:3,15,16; Daniel 4:27; Micah 6:8; Zephaniah 2:3; Zechariah 7:9,10; 8:16)
These 5 staccato commands remind one of the beautiful passage in Micah…
Vance Havner has this to say about social work in the church (orphans, widows)…
What Is Heavy When Empty?- READ: Isaiah 1:1-17 --Learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow. --Isaiah 1:17
After reading Isaiah 1, I thought of this riddle: What is heavy for God when it's empty for me?
Nothing is too hard for God to do, of course, but that doesn't mean that nothing is a burden to Him. In fact, one thing I sometimes take lightly is actually a heavy concern to God.
In the time of the prophet Isaiah, the Jewish people followed their religious celebrations to the letter. They showed up at the right time, sacrificed the right amount, and offered many prayers. But when they left the temple, it was as if they left God there.
Nearly 3,000 years later, not much has changed. Sometimes I think my responsibility to God begins and ends with going to church and giving an offering. But this attitude makes me more of a burden to God than a blessing. I'm not accomplishing the tasks that are important to Him—doing good, seeking justice, defending the fatherless, and pleading for widows (Isaiah 1:17).
God is not impressed with a full house at religious gatherings if the people come with empty hearts. God wants worshipers with hearts so full of love for Him that they overflow in good deeds for others.
Oh, are you still wondering what is heavy for God when it's empty for me? The answer is worship. — Julie Ackerman Link (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
My heart is filled, dear Lord, with love,
The heart filled with praise brings pleasure to God.
Isaiah 1:18 "Come now, and let us reason together," Says the LORD, "Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool. (NASB: Lockman)
English Translation of the Greek (Septuagint): And come, let us reason together, saith the Lord: and though your sins be as purple, I will make them white as snow; and though they be as scarlet, I will make them white as wool.
Amplified: 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 like wool. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
KJV: 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.
NET: Come, let's consider your options," says the LORD. "Though your sins have stained you like the color red, you can become white like snow; though they are as easy to see as the color scarlet, you can become white like wool. (NET Bible)
NJB: ‘Come, let us talk this over,' says Yahweh. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. (NJB)
NLT: "Come now, let us argue this out," says the LORD. "No matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can remove it. I can make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you as white as wool. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Young's Literal: Come, I pray you, and we reason, saith Jehovah, If your sins are as scarlet, as snow they shall be white, If they are red as crimson, as wool they shall be!
|Come now, and let us reason together," Says the LORD, "Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool: (Let us - Isa 41:21; 43:24, 25, 26; 1Samuel 12:7; Jeremiah 2:5; Micah 6:2; Acts 17:2; 18:4; 24:25) (Isa 44:22; Psalms 51:7; Micah 7:18,19; Romans 5:20; Ephesians 1:6, 7, 8; Revelation 7:14)
Come now - Come is a word of invitation. This invitation is from a King and given to helpless spiritual paupers in Judah (and by way of application to all men and women of all ages who are outside of Christ). It is notable that "Come" is one of our merciful God's favorite words. Yes, He uses the word "Depart" but that is not His favorite word. And so we see throughout Scriptures God's invitation to "Come"…
Dear reader, I must pause and ask you "Have you come? The King has given you a personal invitation, but you must accept? Have you accepted His gracious invitation to 'Come'?"
Let us reason together - God is imminently reasonable and here we see the tone is indeed one of reason rather than demand, for the righteous Judge is also a compassionate Father. The very fact that God would reason with sinners when they stray speaks volumes about His lovingkindnesses that are new every morning. Even in Isa 1:5, 6, one senses God's tone of sorrow for His children's sin, much as did the Lord Jesus centuries later as He looked over Jerusalem and wept…
Scarlet… crimson -
There is a fountain filled with blood
Scarlet (towla’) was the name for a worm in Hebrew. This particular worm was used in the making of red dye, and so it’s often translated "scarlet". The towla' would attach itself to a tree as it prepared to lay its eggs, and in the process, the mother would die, leaving a red stain on the wood. Later, after the babies would hatch and leave, the red stain would dry up, turn white, and flake off the wood. In Psalm 22:6, an indisputably Messianic psalm, the Messiah cries out, "I am a worm" (towla’). The picture our humble Messiah presents parallels the worm's life cycle, for Jesus died on a cross of wood in the process of giving birth to us, leaving a bloody stain that turns our sins from scarlet to white as snow! This is surely amazing, utterly incomprehensible grace and love in action! O come let us adore Him!
Related Resource - Psalm 22-6-I Am a Worm
White as snow - Speaks of total cleansing. God grants the repentant sinner amnesty as it were. He stays the execution and grants pardon to the guilty sinner, for another has paid the price to set the sinner free and allow the granting of "amnesty". The word amnesty is from the word from which we get amnesia which means to forget. What a beautiful picture this presents, for when the holy God washes away our unholy sins, they are completely forgotten. We’re left whiter than snow, purer than wool.
The prophet Micah gives us a picture of the completeness of God's granting of "amnesty" and His "amnesia" regarding our sins asking…
Later in Isaiah mortally ill King Hezekiah in his prayer to Jehovah says…
Again in Isaiah God says…
The psalmist writes…
Peter preaching to the Jews shortly after Pentecost (he had drawn a crowd in the Temple area because God had granted him power to heal a man lame from birth, Ac 3:1, 2, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11)…
Finally David writes…
How can God grant amnesty to guilty sinners (eg, 2Sa 12:13)? As Paul explains in one of the great passages of Scripture…
Illustration of White As Snow - During the late South African War I stood in one of our main thoroughfares watching a regiment of red-coated soldiers marching to the quay to embark for the front. A friend came up to me and asked me what color I thought their tunics were. “Why, red, to be sure,” I replied. “Look through that,” he said, handing me a bit of red glass. And to my amazement, when I looked through it, I saw a white-coated regiment pass before me! You look incredulous. It may seem improbable; but test it for yourself tomorrow. Get a piece of red cloth and view it through a red glass, and you will find the cloth becomes white. So with our sins. Though they are as scarlet, the red blood of Christ will make them white as snow. (Cyclopedia of Religious Anecdotes, compiled by James Gilchrist Lawson. Chicago: Revell, 1923)
With this new life comes forgiveness. If you could re-live your past, would you change some things? Would you avoid that tragic mistake, correct that regretted moment? Of course. None of us lives without regrets, yet we cannot go back and change the past. Hence, guilt. When Christ comes into our lives, the guilt is suddenly, completely, permanently removed, and we have a new beginning. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
In trying to convey the marvelous wonder of this forgiveness, the biblical writers strained to give us powerful images from the natural world:
Suddenly, at the moment of conversion, your past was revisited, your record was expunged, your mistakes forgotten, your sin forgiven, your guilt removed, your record wiped clean, and your soul set free. It took a miracle to do that.
ILLUSTRATION: Bible commentators say that scarlet portrays sin, not only to denote its dreadful character, but also to emphasize its indelible nature. They tell us that you can immerse a cloth in any other color and the stain can be removed. Once red dye has been thoroughly set in a piece of goods, however, no scientific method is know that can successfully eliminate it without damaging the fabric. Even if the material is rubbed and scrubbed until threadbare, the fibers that are left will still retain their crimson hue.
Sin is thus pictured as being indelible as far as human efforts to remove it are concerned. There is nothing man himself can do to change his evil nature and turn it into the white purity of holiness. God alone has the power to erase the terrible stain of our sin. Our Daily Bread (NET Bible Sermon Illustrations)
Larry Richards explains that
John Piper references this passage in describing what made him into one of the leading preachers in America…
Illustration - Evangelist E. Howard Cadle (1884-1942), was converted from a debauched life through the power of Isaiah 1:18. He was the black sheep of four children in a Christian family who started drinking at age twelve. He became addicted to alcohol, gambling, and sexual adultery, becoming known as the “Slot Machine King” in much of the Midwest because of his gambling enterprises. He attempted to murder a man, only narrowly escaping the penitentiary. Broken in finances and health, he finally “hit bottom” and returned home and collapsed into his mother’s arms, saying, “Mother I’m tired of sin. I’ve broken your heart, betrayed my wife, broken my marriage vows—I’d like to be saved, but I’ve sinned too much.” His mother replied, “Son, I’ve prayed for 12 years to hear you say what you’ve just said.” Getting out her Bible, she turned to Isaiah 1:18, and on that morning, March 14, 1914, E. Howard Cadle was converted. He later became a powerful and popular evangelist and radio preacher. (Morgan, R. J. Nelson's annual preacher's sourcebook : 2004 Edition. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers)
Not Good Enough - READ: 1 Timothy 1:12-17 -- Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. —Isaiah 1:18
A friend told me recently of a young mother who was trying to explain her father’s death to her 4-year-old. The girl wondered where Grandpa was. “I’m sure he’s in heaven,” the mother answered, “because he was very good.” The girl replied sadly, “I guess I won’t be in heaven.” “Why not?” her mother asked in surprise. “’Cause I’m not very good.”
The story saddened me, as I’m saddened when I hear of others who believe they must be very good to get into heaven, especially since we all know deep down in our hearts that we’re not very good at all.
Perhaps like this little girl you’re thinking about your sins and asking, “What must I do to get to heaven?” The answer has already been given: Jesus, by His death, has paid in full the price of your sins, no matter how sordid, tawdry, or shameful they may be. Your salvation is free.
God promises, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isa. 1:18). John Donne writes:
Or wash thee in Christ’s blood, which hath this might,
That being red, it dyes red souls to white.
No one is good enough to get into heaven. Eternal life is a gift. Receive Jesus by faith. — David H. Roper (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
The perfect righteousness of Christ
No one is good enough to save himself;
English Translation of the Greek (Septuagint): And if ye be willing, and hearken to me, ye shall eat the good of the land:
Amplified: If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
KJV: If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:
NET: If you have a willing attitude and obey, then you will again eat the good crops of the land. (NET Bible)
NJB: If you are willing to obey, you shall eat the good things of the earth. (NJB)
NLT: If you will only obey me and let me help you, then you will have plenty to eat. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Young's Literal: If ye are willing, and have hearkened, The good of the land ye consume,
|If you consent and obey, you will eat the best of the land: (Isa 3:10; 55:1, 2, 3,6,7; Jeremiah 3:12, 13, 14; 31:18, 19, 20; Hosea 14:1, 2, 3, 4; Joel 2:26; Matthew 21:28, 29, 30, 32, 32; Hebrews 5:9)
If you consent and obey - Note that this is a conditional promise. It necessitates one to make a choice to obey or not. Sounds like the same options that were presented to Adam in the Garden of Eden, doesn't it? God is not interested in "robots" but in men and women who will love Him from their heart, and this is a love which shows itself in obedience (Jn 14:12). Let love for God (and walking according to His Spirit - Ro 8:2, 3) not legalistic constraints be your motive for obeying Him (cp Ro 13:8, 10).
Judah and Jerusalem had been "hard of hearing" rebels who had become disobedient. Here God calls for a total change in direction of their belief and behavior, a clear call to repentance. He even gives a promise that would seem to motivate a willingness to "consent and obey."
Willing To Change - READ: Isaiah 58:1-14 - If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land. --Isaiah 1:19
A recent news feature chronicled the growing search for stress relief through spas, massage, pills, and exercise tapes. The craving to ease tension has spawned an entire industry, including walk-in backrub stores in shopping malls across the country. The report ended by saying, "Although people will pay to fix their stress, they are not about to change the lifestyle that is causing it."
No matter what the problem, our initial response is to treat the symptoms rather than the cause.
During the days of Isaiah, God's people were not experiencing the Lord's blessing. They went through the motions of worship and couldn't understand why God wasn't noticing their religious efforts (Isa. 58:3). But while they were fasting, they were also exploiting their workers and fighting among themselves (Isa 58:3, 4). Isaiah condemned their hypocrisy and told them they needed to change. If they would free the oppressed, share with the hungry, house the homeless, and clothe the naked, God would bless them with healing, answered prayer, guidance, strength, and joy.
Religious activity is no substitute for an obedient heart. With God's help--and a willingness to change--we can eliminate the root problems, not just the symptoms. — David C. McCasland (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
The Christian life is not confined
Religious activity is no substitute for an obedient heart.
DON'T BLAME THE RULE - The Grand Rapids Press reported an ironic turn of events that happened to a group of motorcyclists traveling to the state capital to protest Michigan's motorcycle helmet law. The group was scheduled to meet at the capitol building to make some speeches and symbolically burn their helmets. But on the way to the protest, one of the bikers lost control of his machine and slammed into a construction warning sign. He suffered head and facial injuries that most likely would have been avoided if he had been wearing a helmet.
Sometimes we are like those cyclists. We look at the ways of the Lord as unnecessarily restrictive. Yet we ask for and expect His protection and blessing while we resist, rebel, and misunderstand His loving guidelines.
But our efforts to be free from restraint have not brought more happiness, freedom, peace, or satisfaction. Instead, we have lost honor, purpose, and security. Those who insist on doing things their way see an increase in disease, divorce, abuse, and violence. No society has ever profited by disobeying the Lord.
We don't like having our style cramped by laws. But when we read the first chapter of Isaiah and consider the alternative, we realize that one principle stands behind every restriction our Lord gives us: It's always for our good. —M. R. De Haan II (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Don't blame the rule if you don't measure up.
WASTED WORSHIP - "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart." -- Psalm 51:17
If you are able to go to church on Sunday, you probably will. For most Christians, it's almost automatic -- and rightly so.
But is it possible that our efforts to go to church for worship might be wasted? Could it all be in vain?
Yes. Before we even enter the church, the worth of our worship can be reduced to nothing because of the way we've lived during the week.
In Amos 5 (Amos 5:21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27), the Lord had some harsh words for those who attempted to worship Him while bringing with them the guilt of an ungodly lifestyle. His people were constantly angering Him by following false gods (Amos 5:26). When they assembled to worship the Lord through sacrifices and songs, God despised their hypocrisy.
In Isaiah 1, God instructed His people that before they could worship Him, they were to "cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice" (Isa 1:16, 17).
What a challenge to us! Before we worship God, we are to put things in order by confessing our sins, seeking His forgiveness, and then serving Him. Our daily walk with God and our obedience to His commands are the elements that prepare us for church. Anything less will lead to wasted worship. -- J. David Branon (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
O holy God, undone by guilt depressing
Worship that pleases God comes from an obedient heart.
English Translation of the Greek (Septuagint): but if ye be not willing, nor hearken to me, a sword shall devour you: for the mouth of the Lord has spoken this.
Amplified: But if you refuse and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken it. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
KJV: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.
NET: But if you refuse and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword." Know for certain that the LORD has spoken. (NET Bible)
NJB: But if you refuse and rebel, the sword shall eat you instead— for Yahweh's mouth has spoken.'
Lament for Jerusalem (NJB)
NLT: But if you keep turning away and refusing to listen, you will be destroyed by your enemies. I, the LORD, have spoken!"
Unfaithful Jerusalem (NLT - Tyndale House)
Young's Literal: And if ye refuse, and have rebelled, By the sword ye are consumed, For the mouth of Jehovah hath spoken.
|But if you refuse and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword." Truly, the mouth of the LORD has spoken: (Isa 3:11; 1Samuel 12:25; 2Chronicles 36:14, 15, 16; Hebrews 2:1, 2, 3) (Isa 40:5; 58:14; Leviticus 26:33; Numbers 23:19; 1Samuel 15:29; Titus 1:2)
But - A dramatic contrast. Whenever you encounter a contrast word, pause and ponder what the author (and the Author) is contrasting. Ask questions (interrogate with the 5W/H'S) like - Why does he draw this contrast? Who is impacted? What is being contrasted? etc, etc. What you are in effect doing is slowing down (the Bible is not well digested when you "speed read" it!) and "chewing the cud" so to speak. You are learning to Meditate on the Word of Truth. See Primer on Biblical Meditation for the wonderful promises that God associates with Biblical (not mystical) meditation, which sadly has become a seldom practiced spiritual discipline in our day, times in which fare such as the "one minute Bible" are much more popular than Biblical meditation! God grant that we in the church might be given the holy desire to "return to the ancient paths, where the good way is and walk it it" so that we might "find rest for our souls" (Jer 6:16).
Notice the stark contrast in choices - "consent and obey" versus "refuse and rebel".
Notice also the radical contrast between the promises - "eat the best of the land" versus "be devoured ("eaten") by the sword." Notice the interesting word play for the Hebrew word for "devour" also can mean "to eat or consume." In short obey and eat, disobey and "be eaten"!
Our choices always have consequences - good or bad. Which category are you falling in this week? Remember we can't choose our consequences, but only the choices that lead to the consequences! Beloved, in the New Covenant era, may we all "walk by the Spirit" for then (and only then) we will "not (double negative ~ absolute negation) fulfill the desire of the flesh." (Gal 5:16-note)
Refuse (ma'an) means to reject an offer. This is amazing! Look Who they are rejecting! This says a lot about one's depth of deception and the degree of hardness of heart to refuse a word spoken by Jehovah. However, lest we are too hard on Israel, is this not what each of us (believer and non-believer) does every time we choose to "do it our way" rather than God's way?!
Rebel (04784) (marah) almost always (40 of 45 OT uses) refers to rebellion against God by Israel or Judah (rarely used of any other nation), of direct opposition to His authority and right to rule His creatures.
The TWOT notes that "This sin of rebellion may be in word: Nu 17:10; 27:14, complaining; Ps 78:17ff., challenging and defying God to do the abnormal, to cater to their tastes and delicacies. Or, it may be a rebellion in deed: 1Sa 12:15, obedience to man over God; 1Kgs 13:21, 26, actions contrary to God’s clearly expressed will by a “clergyman”; Jer 4:17, “your own behavior and actions”; Isa 3:8, “their words and their deeds.” What is most often rebelled against is “the commandment/the word of the Lord,” (et) pı̂ (literally, “the mouth”). (Harris, R L, Archer, G L & Waltke, B K Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. Moody Press)