Summary: We need to see the world through God's eyes, the pain of our sin and rebellion.

Someone might say, “I go to church most Sundays. I bring my offering. I’m extra careful to hit the special days like Christmas and Easter. Isn’t that enough?”

And God shouts out to the heavens and the earth, “No! It’s not enough.” And Isaiah tells us how God sees it. He’s not looking for rule following, although the rules are important. He’s not looking for religiosity. He’s not keeping a log of how many hours we spend in church, although what we do in church is important. He’s looking for us to love him and to love one another. And God inspired Isaiah to say it using 9 different images.

The first image is in verse 2. God says that he reared children and brought them up. Most of us have been there. But they have rebelled against him. Can we stand beside Isaiah for a moment, listening to God’s broken heart? God is a dad. God is a mom. He’s above our gender roles. But one thing is the same. God loves his kids. He had nurtured the people of Israel and taught them and protected them and disciplined them now for generations. And they were rebelling against him. This isn’t a matter of following rules or religious traditions. This is personal. This is family. Most of us who are parents have had at least moments when our kids rebelled. Do you remember how it felt? Isaiah is opening a window into the heart of God for us. And when God looks at America in the year 2012, is it any better? Can you feel the broken heart of our God?

In verse 3 Isaiah changes the image. “The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master’s crib; but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.” A dumb donkey knows where to come for his oats. But the people of Israel had forgotten where their bread and butter came from. They had forgotten the source of their life. Think about what passes for prime time TV entertainment in America today, the conversations that occur on much of talk radio, the jokes in the taverns, and the profound ignorance of the Bible in our society. God sees that as being dumber than a donkey. Have we forgotten the source of our life?

We don’t have time to do justice to all 9 images that Isaiah uses to describe God’s heart for his people. We don’t have time to do justice to any of them, or even to skim over them all. That’s why the best Bible reading is always very, very slow, to let your mind and then your heart digest what you read.

But, to take just one more image, in verse 4, God describes his people as “laden with iniquity.” He sees the heavy load the people carry because of their sin. He sees the hearts that are broken by the bullying, mean talk, injustice, exploitation of the world. He feels the pain of kids who are trying to put their lives together in broken homes. He hurts with those who are suffering self-inflicted medical problems today because they didn’t take proper care of the wonderful bodies that God gave them. So many of our medical problems are self-inflicted. God feels the pain of those whose lives have been shattered by war. He feels the pain of those who have ruined their lives and are now trapped in prisons made of concrete or prisons made by addictions or prisons of hopelessness because they wasted their chance for an education and are finding it impossible to find a decent job. He feels the pain of people who are so hurting inside that they just react and push people away.

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