Our reading today is Isaiah Chapter 1 verses 10-31 as we continue the opening chapter of this book.Today’s passage is quite a long one, so it might be good to read it through quite quickly to get the overall flavour, or even listen to it on the audio option of the Bible Gateway link above.
The thrust of the opening section (vs.10-17) is that the sincerity of the worshipper, especially in doing good and not evil, is much more important to the Lord than the number of someone’s religious activities. The Lord’s disdain concerning such religious offerings or festivals is quite shocking, and also His statement that He will not listen to the prayers offered (v.15) if people are engaged in sinful behaviour. You might have heard it said that God always hears our prayers, well here is a definite statement that on some occasions He doesn’t listen.
It might be easy to point the finger at someone engrossed in religious activities today, perhaps particularly in more traditional or ritualistic settings, and see that their words or deeds do not match such activities. However, those of us from a more informal church background mustn’t ignore such warnings. We may enjoy lots of sung worship or wonderfully crafted sermons, but if they do not change our hearts to be concerned with the things and people that the Lord is concerned with, then He is not pleased.
However, after such strong words of judgement there are then some words of forgiveness and hope (vs.18-20), and a wonderful picture of sinful red becoming a pure white.
Then from verse 21 onwards more strong words of judgement, directed more at a corporate level, to the whole city, but yet again contained in the midst are some words of hope and restoration, that out of the judgement and the dealing with sin and injustice, a new City of Righteousness, a Faithful City will emerge (v.26).
In every aspect of life, particularly our spiritual lives, often strong decisive action is needed to get rid of the bad, from which good will emerge.
From our church address list, let us remember in our prayers today,- Kim Bon and Sin Wei- Charlene, along with young Ariah and Samuel, and in particular that they might be able to come back to us on a Sunday.