Green Valley Sermons

Come Let Us Reason Together

Sunday, July 12, 2015         

Isaiah 1:1-20


1 The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, concerning Judah and Jerusalem which he saw during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.

2 Listen, O heavens, and hear, O earth; For the Lord speaks, "Sons I have reared and brought up, But they have revolted against Me.

3 "An ox knows its owner, And a donkey its master's manger, But Israel does not know, My people do not understand."

4 Alas, sinful nation, People weighed down with iniquity, Offspring of evildoers, Sons who act corruptly!They have abandoned the Lord, They have despised the Holy One of Israel, They have turned away from Him.

5 Where will you be stricken again, As you continue in your rebellion? The whole head is sick, And the whole heart is faint.

6 From the sole of the foot even to the head There is nothing sound in it, Only bruises, welts, and raw wounds, Not pressed out or bandaged, Nor softened with oil.

7 Your land is desolate, Your cities are burned with fire, Your fields — strangers are devouring them in your presence; It is desolation, as overthrown by strangers.

8 And the daughter of Zion is left like a shelter in a vineyard, Like a watchman's hut in a cucumber field, like a besieged city.

9 Unless the Lord of hosts Had left us a few survivors, We would be like Sodom, We would be like Gomorrah.

10 Hear the word of the Lord, You rulers of Sodom; Give ear to the instruction of our God,

You people of Gomorrah.

11 "What are your multiplied sacrifices to Me?" Says the Lord. "I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams, And the fat of fed cattle. And I take no pleasure in the blood of bulls, lambs, or goats.

12 "When you come to appear before Me, Who requires of you this trampling of My courts?

13 "Bring your worthless offerings no longer, Incense is an abomination to Me. New moon and sabbath, the calling of assemblies - I cannot endure iniquity and the solemn assembly.

14 "I hate your new moon festivals and your appointed feasts, They have become a burden to Me. I am weary of bearing them.

15 "So when you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide My eyes from you, Yes, even though you multiply prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are covered with blood.

16 "Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Remove the evil of your deeds from My sight. Cease to do evil,

17 Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless; Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow.

18 "Come now, and let us reason together," Says the Lord, "Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool.

19 "If you consent and obey, You will eat the best of the land;

20 "But if you refuse and rebel, You will be devoured by the sword." Truly, the mouth of the Lord has spoken. NASB

Isaiah was a servant of God who brought God's word to Judah and Jerusalem, sometimes called the Southern kingdom of Israel. He spoke to this broken nation during the time God was fulfilling His promise to send His people into captivity and ruin if they rejected Him. During his lifetime Israel, the Northern kingdom, was destroyed piece by piece, never to be seen again. This northern kingdom and ten of the tribes of the sons of Jacob have, in more modern times, been called the lost tribes of Israel. They would never be known as a nation again because they had forsaken their allegiance to God.

God uses Isaiah to give His message to the remaining kingdom comprised of Benjamin and Judah. It was called Judah because the kings had come from this tribe and because it was the larger of the two and eventually the distinction between the two tribes was lost.

God's message, as it had always been, was to repent from sin and follow God or be sent into captivity until you do repent and turn back to God. Many see God as cruel and harsh, but His intention was always to save and convince people that they needed to trust and follow Him unconditionally.

This first chapter sets the tone for the entire book of Isaiah which is a compilation of messages given to Judah throughout Isaiah's lifetime. In this book are many visions given to this prophet of a future Messiah and His kingdom. Isaiah is the most often quoted prophet by the authors of the New Testament. It is laid out generally as the messages were given with a few possible exceptions.

Isaiah was most likely a cousin of Uzziah, who was king when Isaiah began his preaching ministry. Jewish tradition tells us that Isaiah was killed under the reign of Manasseh because he refused to stop preaching the downfall and captivity of Judah and Jerusalem.

In this first message of Isaiah he compares Judah and Jerusalem to Sodom and Gomorrah and begins referring to them by these names. To be called by the names of these two cities would have been a great insult. Isaiah is calling them to stop acting like these godless people and return to faithful obedience to God and His word.

One of my favorite passages is when God says to these people, “Come, let us reason together”. Isaiah calls them to think about their relationship to God. God wants them to hear and understand His purpose. He does not want to destroy them and allow them to once again be taken into captivity as He was doing with their family in the northern kingdom.

Come, let us reason together, says the Lord. God speaks to our hearts and wants us to accept the truth. This truth that God wants us to put off our rebellion and trust Him once again. Have you heard the call? Perhaps you think yourself above the need for this call. I am sure that Uzziah and his people felt that way as well.

They were just doing what came naturally to them. They gave lip service to being God's people, but they were just like all other nations, who thought little of the poor and the widows and orphans. It is easy to come to church and worship God, but it is harder to share His love and His truth with those around us who are hurting and abused.

God did not call us to come and offer empty words and songs to Him. He calls us to seek justice and to forgive as we have been forgiven. He calls us to love even our enemies. If we love Him, we will reach out to those who are hard to love. We will practice peacemaking and reconciliation with our brothers and sisters who have become estranged to us.

God is not glorified when we call ourselves Christians, when we claim to be His people and yet refuse to love those around us.

16 "Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Remove the evil of your deeds from My sight. Cease to do evil,

17 Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless; Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow.”

God calls us to deal with our sin and love one another. It is not enough to go through the rituals of religion. Jesus said, if someone has something against you, you are to leave worship and go and be reconciled.

Have you failed to offer grace and mercy, food and shelter to someone God brought across your path? There is a move of the Spirit to get us, as a congregation, to move out into our community and touch the lives of those who live in this valley. I encourage you to find a way to get involved.

In verse 9 Isaiah says: 9 Unless the Lord of hosts Had left us a few survivors, We would be like Sodom, We would be like Gomorrah.

There was a song the Gaither Trio used to sing and I can remember Gloria had a speaking part. She said, “God has always had a people.” Do you remember that? God has always had a people. In the darkest most sinful times, God always has a remnant, a few who have not bowed the knee to the idols of this world. It was true in Elijah's time. It was true in Isaiah's time. It is true today.

I believe God is preparing His remnant for what is ahead. There are those who are living to please God and not themselves. God may allow His people to suffer some set backs, but we can face the belly of the whale, the floods, the furnaces, the lions dens that Our Lord allows us to go through because we know God loves us and it is a good thing that He is Lord of lords and King of kings. We will choose to follow Him to go up against the gates of Hell itself. Our Lord has told us that those gates cannot stand against His Bride. The church will prevail. God's people will come to the end and stand before God trusting Him to love us and lead us to eternity in His presence.

God has always had a people and He continues to call us to follow Him. Have you heard the call? Are you listening to the Spirit of God as He leads you to wash yourself in the blood of the Lamb? Have you heard the Lord knocking at the door of your heart pleading for you to let Him in?

Listen to Him and repent of your rebellion and allow Him to be the source of hope for you as we face an uncertain future. I don't know about tomorrow, but I know who holds my hand.

Christianity is not about rituals and empty platitudes. God's people, those who are following His leading, are living to please God. They take it seriously when He calls us to deny the self and take up our cross and follow Him. God's people, true Christians listen to Him when He calls us to offer ourselves as living sacrifices.

We are not here to please ourselves. We are here to honor God as God and to live for Him and His purposes. We see the world and even the Bible in ways that those who have not commited themselves to following Him cannot see.

Paul said the natural man cannot see the things of the Spirit. It is only when we have the Spirit of God abiding in us that we come to see these things as the truths that matter most.

18 "Come now, and let us reason together," Says the Lord, "Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool.

19 "If you consent and obey, You will eat the best of the land;

20 "But if you refuse and rebel, You will be devoured by the sword." Truly, the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

Submit to God. Trust Him. Seek Him with your whole heart. Love Him and you will know that He has always loved you. Trust Him to cleanse you of all sin. Trust Him to lead you.

Listen to His reason. Give in to Him. Relax. Surrender to Our Creator. He Loves you and He is Lord and that is good.