God hides his eyes from us and stops listening when we bring him lip service prayers and false contrition. Sorry only goes so far. Often, sorry is the lip service to get us out of trouble, yet in our hearts, we are most sorry that we were caught – not for committing sin…
2 Hear me, you heavens! Listen, earth!
For the Lord has spoken:
“I reared children and brought them up,
but they have rebelled against me.
13 Stop bringing meaningless offerings!
Your incense is detestable to me.
New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations—
I cannot bear your worthless assemblies.
14 Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals
I hate with all my being.
They have become a burden to me;
I am weary of bearing them.
15 When you spread out your hands in prayer,
I hide my eyes from you;
even when you offer many prayers,
I am not listening.
Your hands are full of blood!
16 Wash and make yourselves clean.
Take your evil deeds out of my sight;
stop doing wrong.
17 Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
plead the case of the widow.
18 “Come now, let us settle the matter,”
says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool.
19 If you are willing and obedient,
you will eat the good things of the land;
20 but if you resist and rebel,
you will be devoured by the sword.”
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
Isaiah 1:2, 13-20
Isaiah’s prophecy starts with a bang. God has reared children and brought them up, and now they have rebelled. Do you know how that feels? I do. I even resonate with God’s statements about meaningless offerings and incense. Sorry only goes so far. Often, sorry is the lip service to get us out of trouble, yet in our hearts, we are most sorry that we were caught – not for committing sin…
Kids are like that. Parents are like that. People… are like that. We become a burden to our Maker in the same way disobedient children become a burden to their parents.
God hides his eyes from us and stops listening when we bring him lip service prayers and false contrition. Like the politician confessing at the news conference saying, this is not me. I am not like this. My circumstance got the better of me… I am sorry… we roll our eyes. That’s what God does sometimes with us. And we deserve it.
Are you really sorry? Take up the righteous way of living. Wash yourselves and become clean in God’s way. Focus on righteousness, justice, and charity. Live out what you say with your lips. Faith without works, according to God, is dead…
There is hope, though, in the precious words of the prophet. God says, “Come now, let us settle the matter.” Let us reason together. Our sins are like scarlet and they can be white as snow. Will you repent? Will you turn back toward God and away from yourself? If we are willing to obey God and willing to put ourselves under God’s grace, we will eat the good things of the land.
Isn’t that funny, that we would even wonder or hesitate or have to deliberate before we submit to God’s grace? It’s true, though, many times we are so dedicated to our own ways that we resist even the free gift of grace from our Father…