What Is There to Talk About?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18).

Scripture Reading: Isaiah 1:1–18

The first chapter of the prophecy of Isaiah calls our attention to a much needed discussion. That this is a high-level discussion is seen from the fact that it involves God himself. The Bible indicates that some people have been allowed to reason with God.
Every person has been subpoenaed to appear in court — ​God
’s court, the court of eternity. In it stands every person beset by personal sin and deserving the sentence of death. Isaiah sounds the first “hear ye” of a divine summons, the themes of which are to be found throughout the rest of his prophecy — ​
themes of a great indictment.

1) The forfeiting of life (Isaiah 1:2–6).

By rebellion.
Isaiah pictures God as a loving Father who mourns the disobedience of his children: “I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me” (v. 2). The story of the prodigal son is as old as the story of man. Here we see it reenacted on a nationwide scale. Shakespeare’s King Lear, suffering the heartbreak of having his own children depose him, cries out, “How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child.” How pathetic it is to see children mistreat a father who has given them everything. How foolish to see children turn from a heavenly Father who offers them life itself.

By ungratefulness.
Coupled with rebellion is the sin of being inconsiderate of the source of one’s blessings. Isaiah sadly states, “The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider” (v. 3). It is useless for people who frivolously ignore God to pretend that he is in any of their thoughts.

By being saddled with sin.
When Isaiah says, “Ah, sinful nation,” he is literally saying, “Shame on you.” He further says that they are “a people laden with iniquity” (v. 4). Here are people who are burdened down with the weight of their own sins, who have chosen to live life saddled with sin. This is the way it is for all who forsake God and try to live on their own.

By ignoring the malignancy of the soul.
Periodically some national figure succumbs to the dreadful menace of cancer, and we are again reminded that it strikes both the rich and the poor. The Bible speaks of a more fearful malignancy that destroys the soul. Isaiah says, “Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment” (v. 5–6). The malignancy described is the result of unforgiven sin. There is no medicine for such wounds.

2) Spiritual confusion (Isa. 1:11–14).
In describing the worship of the people, Isaiah quite frankly states that they remind him of the leaders of those ancient wicked cities Sodom and Gomorrah: “Hear the word of the Lord, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah” (1:10). These two cities, known for their gross wickedness, had a form of religion.

Sacrifice without meaning.
Sacrifice, rightly understood, is basic to any genuine worship experience. In the Old Testament it involved the sacrifice of animals. In the light of the New Testament, sacrifice becomes personal, involving one’s own life. Yet we hear Isaiah say, “To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the Lord: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats” (v. 11). Real sacrifice must involve giving something that you will miss tremendously. For this reason, the Old Testament sacrifice was to be a perfect animal without blemish. The New Testament pictures the sacrifice of placing one’s daily life on the altar in such a way that self is denied and Christ is honored (Rom. 12:1–2).
If what you are giving to God is something you will never miss, then you have no concept of real sacrifice. Also, sacrifice to God implies undivided allegiance. This was not true of the people to whom Isaiah spoke. During his reign as king, Ahaz went to Damascus seeking to pacify the king of Assyria. Out of this experience we are told that Ahaz sacrificed to the gods of Damascus (2 Chron. 28:23). Having succumbed to the might of Assyrian pressure, Ahaz then imposed idolatry and polytheism, Assyrian style, in his own land of Judah. Judah became like the other territories under Assyria and mingled the cult of the Assyrians into the temple worship at Jerusalem. It is this kind of religious compromise and meaningless sacrifice that Isaiah has in mind. It does not take a seer to recognize that our contemporary society has many gods and many altars on which people give life itself. We do well to remember that God accepts only the sacrifice of those who worship him alone.

Monotonous worship.
When people come to God’s house with a worldly attitude and a noncommittal way of sacrificing, they accomplish little more than getting dirt on the carpets. The Lord said through Isaiah, “When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts?” (v. 12). Therefore, God says of all their observances: “Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them” (v. 14). If worship services seem monotonous to you sometimes, just remember how they must seem to God when multitudes keep trampling down his courts without really meaning anything by it. Of course, the thing that makes worship monotonous to you is that too often you leave your heart outside the door. Bending the knee at God’s altar means nothing unless one’s will is bent as well. Monotonous worship comes when you refuse to make any new adventures in faith, refuse all new opportunities for commitment, and decide to scale no new heights for the Lord.

3) The demands of holiness (Isa. 1:16–17).

The admonition to stop sinning and to start living for God seems simple enough, and yet the simplicity of it leads many people to think it is something that they can do on their own anytime they desire. Few people have stopped to realize that there is difficulty involved in obeying this admonition. Evil has such a grip on people that they cannot free themselves from its clutches without outside help.
Isaiah admonishes the people to “learn to do well.” Animals by instinct do things as well the first time they do them as the last. But people are different. Sin has blinded them, and they have everything to learn and little capacity for the learning of it until somehow they can be granted a new nature. How then does one live up to the demands of God’s holiness? “We are no worse than others” would be a good excuse if the world were to judge us, but God is the Judge. This means that life has to be argued out with God. How then can we measure up?

4) The offer of God (Isa. 1:18).

God reminds us that if we are willing to listen to him, there is a way out of our sin problem. God offers to help us meet his own demands of holiness. The only way this can be accomplished is by conversion. People have to become new creatures through faith in Jesus Christ. Being born spiritually, through faith, is spoken of as being born again. It is said that poets are born and not made. Whether this is so or not, I cannot say, but I do know that it is true where Christians are concerned. Christians have to be born spiritually from above. This is the essence of Jesus’ message to Nicodemus as he said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). Isaiah vividly pictures our sins as the stain of blood that sinks into our very souls and cannot be bleached out with any human remedy. God’s offer is that our sins can be made white — ​fre
e from the stain of guilt. Only God can erase the stain of sin. To accept God’s offer, we must confess our sins and the futility of our own way of life.

5) The crisis (Isa. 1:19–20).

The crisis comes as we contemplate our own decision in this matter. Isaiah sets forth the great “if”: “If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: but if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it” (Isa. 1:19–20). God is saying that everything depends on whether we are willing to consent to his terms and to hear his commands. Above the clamor of the marketplace where men and women are selling their souls for trinkets, comes this word of God calling us to the crisis of decision. Since God gave us life, it is for him to say how it can be lived and how it can be forfeited. God’s invitation to reason with him is another way of urging us to reconsider our plans, to examine what we are about to do with our souls.
If somehow we would take the time to write out every planned decision and then follow through with only those we could conscientiously justify in the light of God’s Word, we would drastically revise our itinerary. Isaiah reminds us that commitment to God is not made in wild emotion but must ever be the result of clear reasoning. We must always be on guard against confusing our opinions with the reasons given by God. We may say we do not like apple pie, but if we have never tasted it, we are being unreasonable. We may prefer to reason only on the way we treat our families, friends, or neighbors, but God says that our relationship to him is dependent on how we have treated Jesus Christ.

Now in Conclusion

You must face God’s invitation alone. No general has ever made a more crucial stand than that which God asks you to make. The offer is still yours, and while you wait, there is a time of crisis.

God bless each and everyone of you, Pastor Mike
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Pastor Mike,

    With all these messages I would think that God/Jesus is already peeking through the clouds as the time is so close... emoticon

    This actually hurt so much and with all reason:

    but God says that our relationship to him is dependent on how we have treated Jesus Christ.

    IF that isn't convicting enough then I don't know what is..

    Great message!


    1911 days ago
    Great blog. In our times of trouble we see our heart the best. Please pray for one of our pastors who has stage 4 liver cnacer. He and his family are young with 3 kids-- 6 & under.
    1917 days ago
    So many points to ponder. Thanks Pastor Mike ,hope you have a blessed week.
    1920 days ago
    Thank you Pastor Mike for the wonderful Blog.
    1920 days ago
    Thank you Pastor Mike. This is a great blog and worth re-reading.
    1920 days ago
    God has given you the passion to create! Thanks for sharing Pastor Mike.

    The below was taken from Artist Ron DiCianni "The Legacy" at if you care to check it out. His paintings express the interpretation of scripture as God lays it on his heart. Thank you so much!

    With that passion, Pastors and Ministers today long to follow in the footsteps of the Master to fulfill that same mission. They know they have been “sent” not just to a job, but to a “calling.” It doesn’t take long sometimes for many of them to realize the size of the shoes they are filling, as well as the difficulty of the task. Discouragement, doubt and meager results sometimes give a servant the temptation to quit. Many have and too many think about it. Is there a secret to survival? Ron DiCianni created The Legacy to help remind ministers of that secret – that every time they preach the Word, they are surrounded and uplifted by a great cloud of witnesses testifying to the truth of Scripture. The translucent figures in The Legacy portray those witnesses and standing next to the preacher is the greatest Shepherd of all times, our Lord.
    1921 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/21/2013 2:12:26 PM
  • 67YKCEB
    Well said! Thank you!
    1921 days ago
    1921 days ago
    Thanks Pastor Mike! God bless !
    1922 days ago
  • LINDAK25
    My pastor says he always finds it interesting to hear what people have to say about his sermons. How different their interpretations are. What points they feel are important or caught their attention.

    You made many excellent points, I just love the way you worded this: "When people come to God’s house with a worldly attitude and a noncommittal way of sacrificing, they accomplish little more than getting dirt on the carpets."

    I've heard sermons on this scripture and one of my friends says he finds comfort in knowing his sins shall be as white as snow. You have given me a different perspective (specifically ". . . let us reason together...") and I want to thank you. And I wanted to thank you for the Sunshine Spark Goodie. How appropriate that one who lights the Way would give a gift of light.
    1922 days ago
    The only way to worship and to know Him in all His glory is in Spirit and in Truth.

    He created each and everyone of us to be His own special love objects. We are His objects of love.

    He gave us Jesus so we can come back home to Him where we belong in the first place.

    The only way that we can know Him in Spirit and in Truth is going to Jesus who is the doorway to the Father. Through us becoming born from above then we are enabled to worship and know Him in Spirit and in Truth.

    Jesus is the key, the complete, finished, perfect, perfected key to life Himself and itself.

    The Word of God is Jesus and Jesus is the Word of God. The Word of God put on a new suit of clothes to become Jesus. The Word dressed Himself in the flesh of the Father's love creations to make a way back to His Father's love commitiment.

    Jesus, the Word of God holds all that has ever been created together. He keeps and sustains everything that has ever been created. Without Him it would be utter chaos.

    With Him all is made right.

    We all need to come to Jesus.

    What a soul searching blog PastorMike, thank you for touching my heart and soul.
    1922 days ago
    You have quite a following..oh well...think I will get in Thanks for my Sunday sermon...back to my chores emoticon
    1922 days ago
    Another emoticon blog!
    emoticon and may God continue to bless you.
    1922 days ago
  • ERIN1957
    Sin, we all have it, we all do it. But when we love we do it less and when we love Him, we want to be better, do better and get better. So we automatically want (key word here) want to sin less and be a better person / Christian.
    Oh we get in our own way so many times and when we just think showing up is enough and we don't have a fire within us...we are in trouble indeed.
    To look at another's sin and condemn I believe is not what we are to do, but to help through love by knowing Him can truly help.
    I sometimes get into trouble when I challenge a fellow Christian when I ask them if they are saved? I get many an eye brow raised :-) They are insulted...well sometimes you just can't tell.
    One thing I have learned these last few months, that judging is truly left up to God and boy I don't even want to go thank you...not my job and don't even want it either. When I point a finger I have too many pointing back.
    Good Blog Pastor Mike, thank you for being such a great leader of so many sinners.

    1922 days ago
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    Great Blog!
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    Thank You for sharing the Holy Word!
    God Bless You!
    1923 days ago
  • BOVEY63
    So wonderful knowing that we are forgiven and loved despite our mistakes.
    1923 days ago
    Being human certainly means we are going to make our share of mistakes. BUT the fact that God is willing to forgive those sins is so comforting. I shows how much He cares for us as only a parent can do!

    Oftentimes we behave like children . . . we really KNOW that what He is guiding us towards, telling us . . . is right, but our pride makes us reluctant to admit He is right and maybe, just maybe we are not.

    Thank you for this blog. It is important for us to trust in Him , follow His way.

    1923 days ago
  • JUDITH316
    emoticon Great Bible Blog, so much to ponder, Praise God, we serve a Mighty God who loves us and who reaches out with outstretched Hands of Love and Forgiveness, A verse comes to mind in
    Acts 2:21 And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Whosoever, is me, is you, we serve a merciful God who loves us with an everlasting love...The Question for us all today is. "Who will you serve today"? Indeed, God is waiting with outstretched Arms of Love and Forgiveness, He doesn't wish any to perish but for all to be saved. Thanks Pastor Mike for these awesome Bible Blogs, keep them coming...God Bless... emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1923 days ago
    When praising & worshiping God I see people sitting there with a blank face. I am surprised but then I know that I must stay in my praise zone & keep the holy spirit moving all around me. If I find myself in a slump I try to wake myself to the goodness of God & I just dance dance dance dance dance!

    God bless you Pastor Mike!

    1923 days ago
    Wonderful Bible blog Pastor Mike, it certainly contains a lot of "food for thought". Sometimes I feel I should print out what you teach so I can look at it from day to day!!!! It would be wonderful to hear you from the pulpit each week!!!
    1923 days ago
    Monotonous worship is horrid....I can only imagine how God must feel about it.
    Worship is adoration for the One Who rescued you from sin & death, the reaction to a Holy God Who gave His life....the response at having received such a valuable gift and having done nothing to deserve it, you lit your hands and praise Him....You lift your heart and cry Hosanna and cry with Joy that He came to rescue all of us......there is a humility in true worship.

    I believe that He loves it when we worship Him with our lives...daily.

    I praise him for His Presence and Love, Laura
    1923 days ago
  • KAYDE53
    So many good points in here to ponder. I think people these days want a form of religion, but they want it to be their way & whatever they want. God doesn't accept this & we must get back to where we yield ourselves to Him, His law, His will. That's what I'm trying my utmost to do!
    1923 days ago
    Wow. Thanks.
    1923 days ago
  • SUNSET09
    emoticon What a word and I am putting God first in my life as He is the almighty and will do just what He said He will do. He said it, I believe it and that settles it........for me! emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1923 days ago
    Oh how we sin when we think we ore righteous So many sins we ignore Do not examine our self and put all the blame on others Think that Guns money power salves everything Hate lies adultery is Not as bad as being Gay How we hate and accept not that God forgives put he will punish for all we do.We made this dysfunctional country in many ways Mow we have the results of it.
    1923 days ago
    Thank you for this insightful message. What I take away from this for me.... I have many idols, and I have no good reason to cling to them if I want to be serious about living the life Jesus lead. And it's a good think we have a merciful God who will lead us and give us chances, but also we should not take it for granted at all, but listen hard to what He is telling us daily.

    1923 days ago
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