Sometimes I think we make our relationship with God more difficult than it needs to be. In the first chapter of Isaiah, God is basically saying, “You were raised by me and yet you guys are acting like bratty children. All it’s getting you is a miserable life that you try and cover up with religion. Cut it out!” He then pivots in a positive direction and provides the solution, “Clean up your act, quit thinking about yourselves, and help the most vulnerable among you.”
1:16-17 - …stop doing wrong.
Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
plead the case of the widow.
Things to think about:
· I like to say sometimes that God gives us children so we know how it feels! He has done everything for us and yet our tendency is to go in the other direction.
· His formula for living in harmony with Him is pretty straightforward:
o Stop doing wrong
o Learn to do right
o Seek justice and defend the oppressed
o Look after the fatherless and the widow
· Stop doing wrong
o It is impossible to please God while in active rebellion against His laws
o Religion is man’s attempt to whitewash our misdeeds
o Why is God so intolerant of religion?
· Learn to do right
o Anyone who is a parent knows you don’t need to teach children how to be selfish or stubborn!
o Like children, we need to learn to do what is right, it does not come to us innately.
o God says to learn to do what is right. “Right” according to who? Why is absolute truth (as opposed to relative truth) the standard?
· Seek justice and defend the oppressed.
o While it is good to clean up our act, it is not the end of God’s expectation for you and me.
o He is commanding us to actively seek to make things right and fair for everyone. We are expected to call out injustice and inequality when we see it.
o What does that look like in our times today?
· Take up the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow
o God puts an even finer point on what pleasing Him looks like. He calls out two very specific groups of vulnerable people – orphans and widows
o One thing that is very apparent is that there is a “male gap” that needs to be filled
o How can we as men who seek to love God and be His representatives step up to the plate with this command?
God wants us to be in a right relationship with Him, first with salvation, then with sanctification, and finally with extending His grace and mercy to others. Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven!