Putting God's Word into Practice…

Isaiah 1:21-31 ~ Importance of Faithfulness

on February 26, 2014

(For our ladies’ Bible study this week, we were supposed to spend time in Isaiah 1-6.  It has been a rich buffet of learning and conviction, indeed!)

The faithfulness of God’s people is the theme of this passage.  What was once faithful ceased to be faithful, and God needed to do something to restore their faithfulness.

In verse 21 the corporate change in God’s people is defined as “the faithful city has become a whore, she who was full of justice! Righteousness lodged in her, but now murderers.”  These people sound wicked, but are they that different from the church of God today?  A “whore” is someone who sells themselves for money.  How often do we sacrifice ourselves for money?  They were running after falsehood, unjust gain, and material possessions instead of relying on God to be their faithful, sovereign Provider.  They lost their spiritual value and purity–became watered down and dull spiritually.  They were murderous–letting people die in oppression instead of caring for their needs.  God takes the plight of the underprivileged, widows and orphans very seriously.  In fact in Proverbs 24:11-12 it says, “Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, ‘Behold, we did not know this,’ does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?”  The people of God had “well-fed beasts” for sacrifices (11) while people among them made in His image were dying from lack of care.  For all these reasons, they made themselves enemies of God of Heaven’s Armies!

God cannot let His faithful ones continue in rebellion and sacrifice their purity for money and greed.  He can’t let their extravagant honor get watered down and lose its value.  He can’t let the shiny treasure of righteousness become dull and defiled.

God is the Mighty One, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies!  We are so insolent to thing we can exchange His ways for ours and not suffer consequences!  When we make ourselves His enemy, we should expect the hand that longs to hold us to turn against us instead.  He will fight against rebels.  He will put them through fiery trials.  He will make them accountable.  Because He is loving and faithful, He requires it of those who bear His name.  His discipline may be painful and seem unwarranted to our earthly minds, but His discipline is a display of His grace!  It is always used for our good and for His glory!

There are only two responses to God’s discipline.  We can repent and receive righteousness and redemption.  Or we can rebel and be broken, consumed, withered, barren, empty, dry, weakened, and destroyed!  Remember God’s invitation is for complete cleansing from sin–“Come NOW, let us reason together,” says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.”

Verse 26b says, “Afterward you shall be called the city of righteousness; the faithful city.”  Only God can take defiled, unfaithful people and make them faithful again!

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