Monday, August 20, 2018

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Isaiah 1:10-20

Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong. Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. (Isaiah 1:16- 17)
Isaiah was quoted more in the New Testament than any other prophet and no other biblical author is remembered for his vivid imagery. He was a man who God equipped with a vision, and he accepted the call, "Here am I. Send me." (Isaiah 6:8)
What the Lord rejects: Isaiah lived during a critical time; civil war had split the Israelites into two kingdoms, the Northern (Israel) and the Southern (Judah) the more religious kingdom where Isaiah lived. Soon after Isaiah commenced his work, he began to see dangerous behaviors from his neighbors who used their power to harass the poor and cared less about others and more about themselves. They began to express their religion in their outward appearance but never deeply showed their love to God. He tried to warn his people that God could see through the façade that they were displaying. If this was happening during Isaiah's time, is it not happening during our time as well? How do we show our love to God? Is it just a front?
What the Lord requires: The passage indicates that this is a prophetic lawsuit in which the Lord brings a case against the people of Judah and Jerusalem. The words of Yahweh are quoted directly in a two-part speech, first the negative and then the positive, stating what the Lord rejects and then what Yahweh requires. A ringing rejection of cultic practices is followed by a forceful plea for justice. The Lord is willing to purify them of their sins, but the future depends on their response. Obedience will bring blessing, but rebellion will bring the sword. If they refuse to repent and continue to rebel, judgment awaits. So the plea for change includes both a promise and a warning.
We do have an advocate in God, in whom, by whom and through whom our sins are washed away, and forgiven. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow." (Isaiah 1:18) Our God wants us to flourish and he challenges us, "to cease to do evil, learn to do good, seek justice, encourage the oppressed and defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow (Isaiah 1:17)." Will we help others to see themselves as God see them and live, as God wants them to live? Will you show them as forgiven people of God to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God?
Dear Lord, help 'us to live a life that is right. Help us to show our love to you in a meaningful way. Thank you Lord for being a forgiving God who cleanses us of our sins. Help us to lead others to see your wonderful work in their life. Amen.
God demands justice for all.

Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church