Read Isaiah 1:1-5
Isaiah is a single vision given to Isaiah from God
I will give you more history over the next few weeks
It’s sole purpose is bring revival to the people of Israel
God speaks through Isaiah to convict them of their sin and then comfort them thru his coming son
In Isaiah 1 we see God’s plan for how he is going to bring revival
It is not an easy plan, nor is it painless, but it is effective and life changing nonetheless
This first chapter is written like lawyer would bring charges against a guilty party
First he brings the accusations, then the plan of reconciliation, finally the hoped for purification
God’s Accusation of Rebellion vs. 1-9
The first part of God’s plan of Revival is to bring an accusation of rebellion
The first part of the case are the charges
And those charges is that the people of Israel have rebelled against God
Vs. 2 starts out right away addressing the issue: His children, the Israelites have rebelled
Children he has reared and brought up
What is rebellion? It is sin of forsaking what got you where you are at
For Israel they have turned and worship other gods but there is so much more
They have forgot their past and who is responsible for their prosperity
On top of that they have entered into a whole host of sin
Jer 8:7 Even the stork in the heavens knows her times, and the turtledove, swallow, and crane keep the time of their coming, but my people know not the rules of the Lord.
God is using Isaiah to call them back to Him
If they don’t return there will be judgment and destruction
If they do return there will be salvation and comfort with God
Isaiah uses several metaphors to describe their state
vs. 3 they are worse than animals because at least they know their master
vs. 5-6 they are like a sick head and a faint heart with sores all over the body
vs. 7-8 he likens them to a desolate house that they take pride in
This section ministered most to me during my study
The words booth and lodge in vs. 8 refer to an emergency shelter or hut
It really is a shack or lean to that could easily be blown over by the wind
The state of their country and lives are a wreck but they are taking pride in it
Isn’t that how it often works?
We take pride in one thing but the rest of our life is a mess
Worse yet we think we can fix it
We focus on one small good area and lift it up for everyone to see yet the rest of our lives are desolate and destroyed
Israel is boasting about it’s shack but God is looking down and all he sees is a mess
vs. 9 gives us hope because God has kept a remnant
If not it would’ve been Sodom and Gomorrah all over again
What does he expect of that remnant?
God’s Call for Reconciliation vs. 10-20
The second part of God’s plan for Revival is hear God’s call for Reconciliation
Vs. 10 has to sting because he refers to them as Sodom & Gomorrah
He tells Israel to listen to the words of the Lord and put into practice what you are being taught
Interesting here that God brings up a point that Jesus taught repeatedly
The Jews were great at all the rituals of religion but their hearts were far from God
Vs. 11 What is it to me the multitude of your sacrifices? I have had enough of them
All the works that the Jews had been doing for God meant nothing!
This hits close to home because we think if we just do something for God it will make up for all the bad things we are doing
Yet we haven’t stopped sinning and somehow we think this little act will satisfy God
No more sacrifices, feasts, and assemblies… they have become a burden to God
Vs. 15 When you pray I will not listen
If you wonder why God isn’t answering your prayers it may be that there is sin blocking it
Vs. 16 Tell us what we need to do
Wash yourselves and remove the evil
The OT word for this is to consecrate yourselves to God
It is more than ceremonial, it is a spiritual getting right with God
Jer 4:4 Circumcise yourselves to the Lord; remove the foreskin of your hearts, O men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem; lest my wrath go forth like fire, and burn with none to quench it, because of the evil of your deeds.”
Don’t just ask for forgiveness from your sins, remove the things that are causing the sin
When we get right with God he will take care of all of our sin
Is 43:25 I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.
David puts it very clearly
Ps 51:7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Then look what God says he will do
Vs. 18 Though your sins are like scarlet they will be white as snow
Scarlet isn’t just a shade of red, it is so dark it appears almost black
Jesus has the power through his blood being shed on the cross to take all of that junk in your life and remove… we just have to come to him and get clean
AND then live as if we don’t want to do it anymore
For most people it isn’t the forgiveness of Jesus that we struggle with it is the love of our sin
That is what makes obedience so hard after forgiveness, we don’t really want to give up our sin
Vs. 19 If you are willing and obedient you shall eat the good of the land
There is blessing for those who obey the Lord
It’s not going to be easy but it is worth it
Is 58:14 Then you shall take delight in the Lord, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
Consider the alternative
Vs. 20 If you refuse and rebel you will be eaten by the sword
God’s Purification vs. 21-31
The third part of God’s plan for Revival is His Purification
We have seen his accusation and his plan for reconciliation
Now he is going to purify Israel
This seems like a step that is out of place
Shouldn’t there be the accusation then the purification then the reconciliation?
That is how Man works but it is not how God works
He points out our sin and calls us to repent, then he begins to clean us up
He doesn’t expect us to clean ourselves us first and then reconcile
He tells us to come to him how we are
So many people won’t come to God until they get their life right
If that’s the case its never going to happen
Vs. 21-23 Silver now dross, wine has become diluted
Once again those things which they took pride in has become tarnished
The fruit of their life has become diluted
How could beautiful and valuable silver degenerate completely into worthless waste metal?
How could expensive sparkling wine turn into cheap, watered-down booze?
Both products suffered a deterioration of quality because large dosages of impurities diluted them.
We can never be good enough and what we have will fade away
Come to God and let him purify you and make you holy
Don’t worry about your spots, sins, or your past
vs. 24-25 When we do He will Purge us
God, “therefore” (lākēn), was determined to purify the city (vv. 24–26).
The emphasis is on God himself and his acts.
He is the sovereign Lord and master; he is Yahweh of the heavenly armies, the Divine Warrior; and he is the All-Powerful One
He will smelt away the dross with lye
Vengeance was not for the purpose of “getting even” with unfaithful people.
Its purpose was to turn the nation back to a proper relationship to God
God’s purposes at this time are threefold: (a) to satisfy his holiness (v. 24b), (b) to remove impurity (v. 25), and (c) to restore his city of righteousness (v. 26).
The holiness of God is offended when people sin, so the offensive matter must be removed before a relationship with God can be established.
This removal involves the satisfaction of God’s holy sorrow and anger, plus the implementation of divine justice on his enemies; that is, on his own people in Jerusalem.
vs. 26 He will Restore