Do You Think I Care For You So Little?
Israel has played the harlot with the idols of those who inhabited Canaan before them ever since God helped them conquer and settle in this land He promised to Abraham. Through all the years of the judges, and the kings they have not served God with all their hearts. There were periods when their leaders called them back to God, but they continually returned to the worship of idols.
God loves them and wants to help them, but they refuse to put their trust in Him. As He promised when He gave the law, the northern kingdom known as Israel has been destroyed and taken into captivity by the Assyrians because they have forgotten who God is, they have rebelled against Him.
The southern kingdom, Judah, is left, and the people still do not serve the One True God with all their hearts. Prophets like Isaiah have been calling them back to God, but they continue to refuse to listen.
Listen for the depth of God’s love expressed in this passage from Isaiah as God offers His love to the backsliding, rebellious people of Israel.
1The vision concerning Judah and Jerusalem that Isaiah son of Amoz saw during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.
2 Hear, O heavens! Listen, O earth! For the Lord has spoken: "I reared children and brought them up, but they have rebelled against me.
3 The ox knows his master, the donkey his owner's manger, but Israel does not know,
my people do not understand."
Can you hear the heart break of this father whose children have ignored and rebelled against Him? He loves them, but they do not understand. They continue in their willful ways. Pardon my English, folks, but they is us, we are they.
Listen as He shares His heartache for His beloved children.
4 Ah, sinful nation, a people loaded with guilt, a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption! They have forsaken the Lord; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel
and turned their backs on him.
5 Why should you be beaten anymore? Why do you persist in rebellion? Your whole head is injured, your whole heart afflicted. 6 From the sole of your foot to the top of your head there is no soundness — only wounds and welts and open sores, not cleansed or bandaged or soothed with oil.
7 Your country is desolate, your cities burned with fire; your fields are being stripped by foreigners right before you, laid waste as when overthrown by strangers.
8 The Daughter of Zion is left like a shelter in a vineyard, like a hut in a field of melons,
like a city under siege. 9 Unless the Lord Almighty had left us some survivors, we would have become like Sodom, we would have been like Gomorrah.
10 Hear the word of the Lord, you rulers of Sodom; listen to the law of our God, you people of Gomorrah!
(the Sodom and Gomorrah he speaks of is the nation of Israel, the tribe of Judah, a few are left who continue to love the Creator God, their Father.)
11 "The multitude of your sacrifices — what are they to me?" says the Lord. "I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.
12 When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts? 13 Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me.
New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations — I cannot bear your evil assemblies. 14 Your New Moon festivals and your appointed feasts my soul hates. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. 15 When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes from you; even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen.
Your hands are full of blood; 16 wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds
out of my sight! Stop doing wrong, 17 learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.
God’s heart breaks when the people He loves, the people He created to love and serve Him reject Him and love only themselves. He created us to seek justice, to encourage the oppressed. He desires for us to defend the orphans and protect the widows around us. When we fail to love as He loves, we break His heart.
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 as crimson, they shall be like wool.
We can change. We can be forgiven. We can begin loving God and loving others.
19 If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land; 20 but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword." For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
21 See how the faithful city has become a harlot! She once was full of justice; righteousness used to dwell in her — but now murderers! 22 Your silver has become dross (refuse, unusable leftovers), your choice wine is diluted with water. 23 Your rulers are rebels, companions of thieves; they all love bribes and chase after gifts. They do not defend the cause of the fatherless; the widow's case does not come before them. 24 Therefore the Lord, the Lord Almighty, the Mighty One of Israel, declares: "Ah, I will get relief from my foes and avenge myself on my enemies. 25 I will turn my hand against you; I will thoroughly purge away your dross and remove all your impurities. 26 I will restore your judges as in days of old, your counselors as at the beginning. Afterward you will be called the City of Righteousness, the Faithful City."
27 Zion will be redeemed with justice, her penitent ones with righteousness.
28 But rebels and sinners will both be broken, and those who forsake the Lord will perish. 29 "You will be ashamed because of the sacred oaks in which you have delighted; you will be disgraced because of the gardens that you have chosen.
30 You will be like an oak with fading leaves, like a garden without water.
31 The mighty man will become tinder and his work a spark; both will burn together,
with no one to quench the fire." (NIV)
It is not anger I sense in the words of God as He calls His people back to Himself. He wants desperately for them to return. He loves them. He will do whatever He needs to do to bring them back to Himself.
I took the title of today’s message from an episode of Doctor Who. As I prepared the message from this chapter in Isaiah I was reminded of a scene, and especially one line from this science fiction fantasy series.
(Doctor Who, Season 8, Episode 11 “Dark Water”: Conversation between Clara and the Doctor)
Clara (the Doctor’s companion): “You’re going to help me?”
Doctor (Who): “Why wouldn’t I help you?”
Clara: “Because of what I just did.”
Doctor: “You betrayed me, you betrayed my trust, you betrayed our friendship, you betrayed everything I’ve ever stood for. You let me down!”
Clara: “Then why are you helping me?”
Doctor: “Why? Do you think I care for you so little that betraying me would make a difference?”
Clara: “I don’t deserve a friend like you.”
I get a little choked up every time I read this line.
“Do you think I care for you so little that betraying me would make a difference?” Not because of the Doctor Who series, although that is very good in my opinion. I get choked up because God has proven to me that this is what God has been telling mankind since the very beginning. He loves us so much, He forgives us for betraying Him. He has done all He can do to bring us back to our senses.
If He does any more, he would violate our freedom. We must choose to love Him. Love that is forced is not love.
Lord, I don’t deserve a friend like You. I do not deserve to be loved by You, but You love me anyway! How awesome is that?
“Do you think I care for you so little that betraying me would make a difference?”
We cannot be saved by being good enough. God sets our value. He created us. We are worth more to Him than we can ever imagine. We are saved not by our goodness, but by God’s goodness.
He wants us to live connected to Him. He wants us to honor and respect Him. But we must choose to do so. He will not over power us. He will not force us to love Him and serve Him. His greatest law is that we love Him, but He will not make us. It would not be love if did not choose it.
“Do you think I care for you so little that betraying me would make a difference?”
Israel betrayed Our Heavenly Father. We betrayed our Heavenly Father. He says to us, “Do you think I care for you so little that betraying me would make a difference?”
He payed the price for our recovery from our rebellion, our betrayal of the great and awesome Creator of All Things. He loves us. Do you believe it? Have you accepted
God’s love for you?
He wants to love you and lead you into an awesome eternity in His Presence. Will you come to Him?