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The Sins of Israel and Judah

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We need to take a look at “the church” of today. There are certainly many parallels with the “worshiping church” in the western world. According to surveys taken, 93 percent of the households in the United States have bibles and more than 60 percent of t … More

Judgment

Isaiah was a prophet during the time when the original nation of Israel had been divided into two kingdoms - Israel in the north and Judah in the south. The northern kingdom had already sinned greatly against God and the southern kingdom was headed in the same direction. From the human point of view, the nation was prospering but, from God’s point of view, it was rotten from within.

Isaiah starts with a probing examination of Judah’s present situation and gives a passionate plea for God’s people to return to the Lord. He says the people are like rebellious children who do not have as much devotion to God as animals do for their masters (vv. 1-4). As long as the people of Judah continued to sin, they cut themselves off from God’s help and isolated themselves (vv. 5-8). He compares the rulers and people of Judah to the rulers and people of Sodom and Gomorrah (vv. 9-11).

They are placing more faith in the rituals of their religious system than they are in God (vv. 12-14). They attend the temple services and do a multitude of sacrifices to the Lord; but their hearts are far from God, and their worship is hypocritical. God was unhappy with their sacrifices because they had come to place more faith in the rituals of their religion than in the God they worshiped. Although the people did not feel sorry for their sins, they continued to offer sacrifices (vv. 15-17). Gifts and sacrifices mean nothing to God when they come from someone with a corrupt heart.

Application

When I feel lonely and separated from God I need to remember that God does not abandon me. It is my sins that cut me off from Him. The only sure cure is to confess my sin and restore a meaningful relationship with Him.

Isaiah 1:1-17 (English Standard Version)

The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth; for the LORD has spoken: "Children have I reared and brought up, but they have rebelled against me. The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master's crib, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand." Ah, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, offspring of evildoers, children who deal corruptly! They have forsaken the LORD, they have despised the Holy One of Israel, they are utterly estranged. Why will you still be struck down? Why will you continue to rebel? The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even to the head, there is no soundness in it, but bruises and sores and raw wounds; they are not pressed out or bound up or softened with oil. Your country lies desolate; your cities are burned with fire; in your very presence foreigners devour your land; it is desolate, as overthrown by foreigners. And the daughter of Zion is left like a booth in a vineyard, like a lodge in a cucumber field, like a besieged city. If the LORD of hosts had not left us a few survivors, we should have been like Sodom, and become like Gomorrah. Hear the word of the LORD, you rulers of Sodom! Give ear to the teaching of our God, you people of Gomorrah! "What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the LORD; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of well-fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats. "When you come to appear before me, who has required of you this trampling of my courts? Bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination to me. New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations-- I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates; they have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood. Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause."

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