Tuesday 11 September 2018
When you spread out your hands in prayer,
I hide my eyes from you;
even when you offer many prayers,
I am not listening.
Your hands are full of blood!
Wash and make yourselves clean.
Take your evil deeds out of my sight;
stop doing wrong.
Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
plead the case of the widow.
“Come now, let us settle the matter,”
says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool.
If you are willing and obedient,
you will eat the good things of the land;
but if you resist and rebel,
you will be devoured by the sword.”
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
Isaiah lived in the southern kingdom of Judah and the dates of the kings mentioned in Isaiah 1:1 suggest that he was speaking prophecies between roughly 740 and 700 BC.
From this short passage we can see that God does not automatically listen to every prayer. If people’s deeds are evil there is no guarantee of answered prayer.
Justice for the oppressed and for orphans and widows is a recurring theme throughout the Bible. This is one of the reasons why as a church we support the charity Stand by Me.
Although much of the first part of Isaiah (chapters 1-39) is bad news of judgement for people who have disobeyed God, there are occasional glimpses of God’s mercy. Have you ever tried to clean up red paint or red dye? How easy would it be for people in 740 BC to change dyed red wool back to its original white colour? Here is the good news: Although it is virtually impossible to remove a strong coloured dye, God says that he will remove our sins and make them as white as snow.
Let’s thank God for his mercy and forgiveness today.
Thomas Halley (Leadership Team)