Isaiah 1:1-20- 1 The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. 2 Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth! For the Lord has spoken: ”I have nourished and brought up children, And they have rebelled against Me; 3 The ox knows its owner And the donkey its master’s crib; But Israel does not know, My people do not consider.” 4 Alas, sinful nation, A people laden with iniquity, A brood of evildoers, Children who are corrupters! They have forsaken the Lord, They have provoked to anger The Holy One of Israel, They have turned away backward. 5 Why should you be stricken again? You will revolt more and more. The whole head is sick, And the whole heart faints. 6 From the sole of the foot even to the head, There is no soundness in it, But wounds and bruises and putrefying sores; They have not been closed or bound up, Or soothed with ointment. 7 Your country is desolate, Your cities are burned with fire; Strangers devour your land in your presence; And it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers. 8 So the daughter of Zion is left as a booth in a vineyard, As a hut in a garden of cucumbers, As a besieged city. 9 Unless the Lord of hosts Had left to us a very small remnant, We would have become like Sodom, We would have been made like Gomorrah. 10 Hear the word of the Lord, You rulers of Sodom; Give ear to the law of our God, You people of Gomorrah: 11 ”To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me? ”Says the Lord. ”I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams And the fat of fed cattle. I do not delight in the blood of bulls, Or of lambs or goats.

12 ”When you come to appear before Me, Who has required this from your hand, To trample My courts? 13 Bring no more futile sacrifices; Incense is an abomination to Me. The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies – I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting. 14 Your New Moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates; They are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them. 15 When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood. 16 ”Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, 17 Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow. 18 ”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 as wool. 19 If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land; 20 But if you refuse and rebel, You shall be devoured by the sword”; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

The Wall Street Journal quoted a study that said 84 percent of all parents want morals taught in public class rooms but almost as many teachers said it would be wrong to teach students the difference between right and wrong. One of the greatest problems facing our society and nation is the inability of our people to discern the difference between right and wrong.

The inability to discern the difference between right and wrong is sort of like a polluted river. Most rivers don’t get polluted overnight. The get polluted little by little and we don’t notice the pollution until it’s too late. I wonder if our nation is at the stage of pollution right now?

Look at Isaiah’s challenge to his people.

ISAIAH CHALLENGED HIS PEOPLE TO REPENT OF REBELLION

2 Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth! For the Lord has spoken: ”I have nourished and brought up children, And they have rebelled against Me;

16 ”Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil,

As a faithful father God took care of His people but in the end they acted like they didn’t even know who He was. They rebelled against God. What is rebellion? Rebellion is claiming our personal rights to do and live as we please despite what God wants for us.

Rebellion is our refusal to take the hand of God and allow Him to lead us. It basically our desire to be our own boss – the captain of our own souls. Rebellion is our refusal to submit to God’s authority and Lordship over us. Saying to God, ”I’ll live as I please and do as I please” will get us in trouble every time.

ISAIAH CHALLENGED HIS PEOPLE TO REPENT OF REJECTION

4 Alas, sinful nation, A people laden with iniquity, A brood of evildoers, Children who are corrupters! They have forsaken the Lord, They have provoked to anger The Holy One of Israel, They have turned away backward.

Apparently, the people had not only rejected God’s will but they had rejected His very presence. This is a serious charge. The word for ”forsaken” in verse four is translated as ”spurned” in most modern translations. To spurn someone is to treat that person with contempt and not desire their fellowship. More than anything else God longs for fellowship with His people.

We can detect the presence of contempt for God in our lives by analyzing how much time we spend with God. When we are living rebellious lives the last thing we want is to spend time in God’s presence. Rather than soothing us it can be painful for us.

ISAIAH CHALLENGED HIS PEOPLE TO REPENT OF EMPTY RITUAL

10 Hear the word of the Lord, You rulers of Sodom; Give ear to the law of our God, You people of Gomorrah:

14 Your New Moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates; They are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them.

Having rejected God and His will for their lives all the people had left was empty ritual and ceremony. Ritual and ceremony can be good things but they should only lead us to worship. Reading liturgy and partaking in the Lord’s supper are good but they can’t replace heartfelt worship. If all we’ve got is ritual and religion then we’ve got no basis for a relationship with the Lord.

Remember the Tax Collector and the Pharisee in the Temple? The people in Isaiah’s day had lost touch with God but had continued to go through the motions.

Look at the final call of verse 18:

18 ”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 as wool.

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About The Author

Dr. Bradley is an expository preacher. He believes in the inerrancy of Scripture and has dedicated himself to preaching God’s Word without apology for the past 40 years. Dr. Bradley has served as the senior pastor in 8 Southern Baptist churches in Mississippi and Florida since 1978. He is currently the Senior Pastor at Clara, First Baptist Church, Waynesboro, MS., where he has served for the past 11 years. He is a two time graduate of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in New Orleans, LA., having received the M.Div. Degree in 1981 and the D.Min. Degree in 1988. In addition to his preaching and pastoral responsibilities, Dr. Bradley has participated in many short term mission projects around the world, preaching in such places as India, Japan, Argentina, Venezuela, Peru, Guatemala, Alaska, and China.

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