The Lord Has Spoken
Many people believe in a mute god. He exists, but only in vague expressions of ideals we value and shape him by. One need not look hard or long to find many examples of churches who have a god who is always under construction; always being refashioned to better fit with the culture.
The God of the Bible is no mute God, however. He speaks. This is one of the most important realities by which each of us must be shaped. God exists and He speaks. One speaks that they might be heard. When God speaks, we must contend with what He says.
Isaiah 1:2–3 (ESV) — 2 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. 3 The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master’s crib, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.”
In the time of Isaiah, Judah had long since stopped listening to God’s word. They went through the motions – holding all the right feasts, sacrificing according to the Law, and gathering together respectfully. They tipped the hat to God, and went on their way. They were, as some say today, religious, but not radical. They believe, but they don’t wear their faith on their sleeve, as others explain.
But God calls their empty gestures a trampling of His courts, an abomination, burdensome, and something He can no longer endure.
Isaiah 1:15 (ESV) — 15 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.
But all is not lost. Isaiah 1 is a chapter of hope for those whose faith is a cup emptied. God calls on His people to repent – to agree with God and no longer desire their sin (16) and to obey what God has said to them in His Word (17). God promises that if they will do these two things…
Isaiah 1:18–19 (ESV) — 18 “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. 19 If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land;
But if they do not, He warns:
Isaiah 1:20 (ESV) — 20 but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be eaten by the sword; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
Christian, this is not a word to the unbelieving nations, but to those who belong to God. God has spoken and we must hear and obey. God is jealous for His glory and your good. Many of us who call ourselves Christians will prove otherwise by our disobedience and we will face the judgment of God. Others of us, will through our continual clinging to sin, face the painful work of God breaking our bones that we would let go of sin. I pray many more of us will hear the Word of God, repent and obey. These are the options laid out in v.24-26, followed by a promise:
Isaiah 1:24–26 (ESV) — 24 Therefore the Lord declares, the Lord of hosts, the Mighty One of Israel: “Ah, I will get relief from my enemies and avenge myself on my foes. 25 I will turn my hand against you and will smelt away your dross as with lye and remove all your alloy. 26 And I will restore your judges as at the first, and your counselors as at the beginning. Afterward you shall be called the city of righteousness, the faithful city.”
When God speaks, these are our options. But, one option unavailable to us is to mute Him.