Reading Isaiah: Chapters 1-2

Posted on September 1, 2014
Filed Under From Daily Readings, Reading Isaiah | 6 Comments

As the book of Isaiah begins, it is clear that the people of Judah are under the condemnation of God. They had been rebellious against God, rejecting His instructions for them. They were continuing to offer some sacrifice to Him, but they were not truly serving Him. Consider the description given through Isaiah of these people:

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 (Isaiah 1:4).

Their sacrifices had become futile, and the Lord would no longer accept their sacred meetings. He demanded that they repent!

“Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow…” (Isaiah 1:16–17)

The problem of Isaiah’s day is one that is prevalent today as well. There are many people who will assemble with the church, offer up the service of their lips, but will not actually live the life that the Lord requires. When we continue in sinful behavior during the rest of the week, our sacrifices become futile and our sacred meetings are rejected! Like in Isaiah’s day, it is not good enough to just “go through the motions,” trying to just get the outward actions right. We need to be wholly converted to the Lord, putting sinful practices away from us. We need to “cease to do evil, learn to do good…”  The Lord never wanted sacrifices that were not indicative of the captured hearts of the Israelites. He was not desiring mere rituals that really meant nothing. The sacrifices were supposed to be a reflection of His children’s desire to serve Him with their heart, soul and mind.  That is what the Lord wants from His children today as well. He wants us to assemble, to worship Him, but not as some obligatory ritual. If we are not serving Him with our heart, soul and mind every day, then assembling with the saints, and offering up the sacrifice of our lips to Him is hypocritical!

And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?” So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’ ” And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.” (Luke 10:25–28)