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Reading: Isaiah 1 – Judah’s Rebellion

VERSE FOR THE DAY: “The LORD has spoken: I reared children and brought them up, but they have rebelled against Me. The ox knows its owner and the donkey its master’s crib, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.” (Isaiah 1:2-3)

Isaiah was an eighth-century B.C. prophet whose prophecy extended from the year Uzziah died, through the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. It is possible he was sawn asunder in the time of Manasseh, giving him more than fifty years of prophesying in Jerusalem. He is often called the fifth gospel, because of his many Messianic prophecies.

The Lord’s people have rebelled against Him, and Isaiah tells the result of rebellion: “Your country lies desolate, your cities are burned with fire; in your very presence aliens devour your land; it is desolate, as overthrown by foreigners. Daughter Zion is left like a besieged city.” He adds poignantly, “If the LORD had not left us a few survivors, we would’ve been like Sodom.”

As we’ve seen in other prophecies, Isaiah says, “Hear the word of the LORD! What to Me is the multitude of your sacrifices? I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, lambs, goats. I cannot endure solemn assemblies with iniquity.”

Instead, “Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow. Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be like snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword.”

Isaiah describes Jerusalem’s degenerate condition. The faithful city is now a prostitute. It was full of justice and righteousness. Now it’s full of murderers; the shine of silver is now dross. Bribery is rampant, and everyone runs for gifts. Orphans and widows are not defended.

Because of this degeneracy, “The Sovereign, the LORD of hosts, says, ‘I will pour out my wrath on my enemies, and avenge myself on my foes!”’ The LORD’s people have become His enemies! “I will turn my hand against you; I will smelt away your dross with lye and remove all your alloy.”

But this scouring of Judah is for a good purpose. “I will restore your judges as at first. Afterward, you shall be called the city of righteousness. Zion shall be redeemed by justice, and those in her who repent, by righteousness. But rebels and sinners shall be destroyed together, and those who forsake the LORD shall be consumed.”

They will be ashamed of their former behavior. In a similar way, America should be ashamed of much of its behavior. While there is much good in our nation, there is also much shame, but the USA has not been claimed by God as His people.

Today, the kingdom of God is His people, but our divisions are our cause for shame.

Will we ever be united, as Jesus and His Father are one?

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