Daily Devotion Sunday June 11, 2017
“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD. Though your sins are like a scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are as red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat good things of the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.”
About twenty years or more ago just before my first teenage I experienced a great mercy from my father over an issue for which I was very certain that I would be punished. As usual after school in the afternoon, I took my father’s few flocks for pasture and water in the fields. Together with other boys from the neighbourhood, we engaged in our usual boyish plays and didn’t look after the flocks. Before we realised, the goats and sheep strayed, we never knew which way they went, we looked for them in vain. The sun was setting, it was becoming dark and dark every second, we couldn’t find the goats and the sheep—they have already returned home by themselves.
We played and enjoyed the joys together, but now it was time to return home without the flocks and face the consequences alone, which usually was some good lashes of the cane. Knowing this very well, I hid myself in a bush close enough to our home that I could nearly hear all was being said at home. I could hear my father fume with rage, vowing to make sure I learn a lesson that I will never forget. The clock was fast ticking, it was already very dark nearly 8 o’clock in the evening. Finally, like the prodigal son, I came out of the bush and returned home falling on my knees asking for forgiveness. An olive branch was extended to me, I was not punished, despite my rebellious act that deserved punishment.
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The prophecy of Isaiah was given to a rebellious nation whose acts were as wanting as my wayward behaviour. Israel, a people raised by God from slavery to a land flowing with milk and honey turned their back to God their redeemer. God decried their waywardness in these words; “I reared children and brought them up, but they have rebelled against me. The ox knows its master, the donkey its owner’s manager, but Israel does not know; my people do not understand” (Isa. 1:2-3).
The people engaged in sinfulness to the point of this description, “a people whose guilt is great, a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption” (Isa. 1:4). Because they practiced their rituals without any regard to the LORD, their sacrifices became an abomination to God—meaningless. Through Isaiah, God rebukes them saying; “Stop bringing meaningless offering! Your incense is detestable to me. New moons, Sabbaths and convocations—I cannot bear your worthless assemblies” (Isa. 1:13).
Despite all these, the Grace of God wouldn’t cast out this rebellious nation as long as they were willing to return to the LORD. He gave them an invitation to return to Him and have their wickedness cleansed. In His longing for His people, the LORD invites them;
“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD. Though your sins are like a scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are as red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat good things of the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword” (Isa. 1:18-20).
Our generation isn’t holier than the then Israel in any way, we might even be more sinful than they were. Isn’t our generation one in which people are proud of what they should be ashamed of? Is our generation not one that makes approval of abominable things? Aren’t our men and women who flood the churches on Sundays the ones who are corrupt, merciless, idolaters and immoral? Doesn’t the phrase, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil” (Isa. 5:20) apply to our generation? Nevertheless, there is an invitation to a rebellious generation—our increasingly godless generation.
The LORD God has not only given us an invitation from afar, he has come down to us in the person of His Son—Jesus Christ to invite us to Himself. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). The Lord Jesus is presenting this invitation to you now; “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me” (Rev. 3:20).
I beseech you who has responded to this invitation to continuously “offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper act of worship” (Rom. 12:1). And to you who hasn’t responded to this invitation, I point you to the fountain of blood drawn from Emmanuel—Jesus Christ’s side that you may be washed and made clean from your guilt to enjoy an internal relationship with God. I ask you to ponder on the words of this hymn by William Cowper,
There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins; and sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.
Lose all their guilty stains, lose all their guilty stains; and sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.
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Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are taken from the New International Version (NIV). Rev. Julius Izza Tabi is a pastor in the Anglican Church of Uganda, Ma’di & West Nile Diocese. Julius served as an assistant Chaplain and lecturer at the Arua Campus of the Uganda Christin University. He is currently a candidate of Master of Philosophy in Religion, Society and Global Issues at Det Teologiske Menighetsfakultet alias the Norwegian School of Theology, in Oslo, Norway. He is an author of the Popular Triumphing Over Odds . For pastoral assistance you can contact him here and you can also help to support this site and his ministry by donating here.