Monday, October 11, 2010

The Rebellion of People Whom God Loves

Is. 1:1-9 NLT 
  1 These are the visions that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. He saw these 2 Listen, O heavens! Pay attention, earth! This is what the LORD says: “The children I raised and cared for have rebelled against me. 3  Even an ox knows its owner,  and a donkey recognizes its master’s care— but Israel doesn’t know its master. My people don’t recognize my care for them.” 4  Oh, what a sinful nation they are— loaded down with a burden of guilt. They are evil people,  corrupt children who have rejected the LORD. They have despised the Holy One of Israel  and turned their backs on him. 
   5 Why do you continue to invite punishment?  Must you rebel forever? Your head is injured, and your heart is sick. 6 You are battered from head to foot— covered with bruises, welts, and infected wounds— without any soothing ointments or bandages. 7 Your country lies in ruins, and your towns are burned. Foreigners plunder your fields before your eyes and destroy everything they see. 8 Beautiful Jerusalem stands abandoned like a watchman’s shelter in a vineyard, like a lean-to in a cucumber field after the harvest,  like a helpless city under siege. 9  If the LORD of Heaven’s Armies had not spared a few of us,  we would have been wiped out like Sodom,  destroyed like Gomorrah.

We start a challenging investigation when we begin to read the Book of Isaiah. The prophet was famous for telling it like it was, where God was concerned. He didn't play political games with the privileged and the leaders. He was directed to speak for God and that was what he did. Many of us today run scared when it comes to speaking God's written word boldly fearing that the state and its minions will charge us with some crime. We must speak boldly for the Lord according to His inspired written Word. We must never make exception or attempt to soften what God says, but should put it forth accurately. It doesn't matter if other religions don't like what God's Word says. It doesn't matter if groups of people who have chosen to live in defiance of God's moral laws and principals think the Bible is 'hateful' or 'hate-speech.' What matters is that we just speak it forth.

In Isaiah's day the people of God were also trying to make exception for the truth of God's Word. They trying to have privilege for those in control of the government, and the Truth of the Scriptures were often laid to rest in favor of personal privileges for the religious leaders. In his writing of what God instructed, Isaiah condemned the people of Israel for their corruption. Of course not all Israelites were corrupt, just the ruling class. The poor were at their mercy and could do nothing to stop them. The Israeli rulers often cheated and persecuted the poor to line their own pockets. Come to think of it, that may not be so different from some political leaders and top administrators in major church bodies today.

God's Word given to Isaiah is pretty clear that those of us who call ourselves God's people are playing with fire when we live faithless to His teaching, priorities, and principles. The 'Chosen People' of Isaiah's day had to bear some pretty heavy consequences wherein God tried to get their attention. In modern times, the Church of God through faith in Christ may have to bear some consequence for our ineffective lifestyles. Revelation chapters 1-3 contain some pretty stern warnings by Christ to members of His churches, just like Isaiah contained warnings to those 'chosen people' for their own lack of faithfulness. God said they had rebelled.

Have we rebelled as members in the Church of Jesus Christ? Have you?

Your servant in Christ's love

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