We Need to Talk

I, the LORD, invite you
to come and talk it over.
Your sins are scarlet red,
but they will be whiter
than snow or wool.
If you willingly obey me,
the best crops in the land
will be yours.
But if you turn against me,
your enemies will kill you.
I, the LORD, have spoken.
Jerusalem, you are like
an unfaithful wife.
Once your judges were honest
and your people lived right;
now you are a city
full of murderers.
Your silver is fake,
and your wine
is watered down.
Your leaders have rejected me
to become friends of crooks;
your rulers are looking
for gifts and bribes.
Widows and orphans
never get a fair trial.
I am the LORD All-Powerful,
the mighty ruler of Israel,
and I make you a promise:
You are now my enemy,
and I will show my anger
by taking revenge on you. (Isaiah 1:18-24)

God offers hope, even as the sword of his judgment hangs by a thread. Isaiah was called to be a prophet by God not long before the Northern Kingdom of Israel would be destroyed by the Assyrians, and a couple generations before the Southern Kingdom of Judah would be invaded by Babylon.

Things did not have to go bad. God wanted to bless his people. He wanted their lives to be good and happy. But through Isaiah, he warned them that they were forcing his hand. Just as Israel was bound by the contract with God, so God was just as bound by it. He had agreed to its terms and he would not violate them. But it was not just about the legalities of the situation. God’s judgment was about correcting the wrongs, bringing justice to the oppressed. People were suffering because of the sins of the leadership classes. God couldn’t let that suffering continue forever. A day of reckoning had to come. Those who were wronged deserved to have the wrong righted. The leadership could either right the wrongs themselves, or God would do it for them. But they could always repent. God wanted to save the wrongdoers just as much as he wanted to save the wronged.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm the interim pastor at Quartz Hill Community Church. I have written several books. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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