The prophet Isaiah ministered during a turbulent time in Israel’s history. The nation had abandoned the way of the Lord and was living in open sin and idolatry. The verses leading up to our text chronicle a scene of rebellion and sin.
• The people were in open rebellion against the Lord (verse 2).
• They refused to acknowledge God and, spiritually, were dumber than the farm animals around them (verse 3).
• They had forsaken the Lord and provoked Him to anger (verse 4).
• They had refused to respond to the Lord’s attempts at chastisement (verse 5).
• They were spiritually sick and desperately needed help (verses 5, 6).
• Violence filled the whole land (verses 7, 8).
• In many ways, they had become as vile as Sodom and Gomorrah (verses 9, 10).
• Their religious services were an abomination to the Lord (verses 11-15).
• The only thing that held the nation together
was a small remnant of faithful Jews (verse 9).
It sounds as though these events could have
been lifted straight from the headlines of today’s
newspapers. We are in as bad a spiritual shape
as was ancient Israel.
These people had been blessed by the Lord
in many wonderful ways. Israel should have
been seeking God and looking for ways to mend
their relationship with Him. Instead, we see the
Lord seeking His people and inviting them to
make things right with Him.
What we see in this passage are a dirty, vile,
wicked people who need to be cleansed. They
are approached by the Lord and invited to come
to Him for the cleansing they so desperately
need. We can also see a principle that is still true
I. THE INTENSITY OF THIS INVITATION
A. The word “come” is an imperative, a command. God is reaching out to a wayward, sinful people and calling them back to Him. This is amazing because God knows how they have been living. He knows how they have treated His law. He knows how wicked they have become. Yet, He still loves them and reaches out to them in love, to extend grace and mercy to them if they will repent.
B. The blessing in this verse is the fact that this invitation still stands! God knows all about the sins in your life and mine. He knows how far down into the cesspool of sin we have sunk. Yet, He loves us inspite of our sinful condition and calls us to come to Him. Listen to the Lord’s voice as He calls lost people to come to Him (Rev. 22:17; John 7:37; Matt. 11:28). Have you heeded that invitation?
C. God understood Israel’s condition better
than they did. They thought they were doing
all right. They were playing on both sides of the
fence, and they were happy. But God knew that
they were in deep trouble, so He reached out to
them to call them home. The same is true in our
lives as well (Eph. 2:1-3). God, however, knows
the true nature of man’s condition and has
moved to do something about it (Rom. 5:6-8).
II. THE IMMEDIACY OF THIS INVITATION
A. God’s command is for them to come “now.” There must be no delay! God could see what Israel could not see. He could see where rebellion and sin were leading them. He could see the judgment that was about to fall upon them. He could see their condition and their condemnation!
B. So it is with those who are not right with God today. All they can see is the next step that lies before them. All they can feel is the pleasure of their sins. All they can think about is the here and now. They give no thought to what is waiting for them down the road. If they did, they would see the terrible consequences that their refusal to get right with God will cause their families to suffer.
C. God knows how bad it is going to get. He knows the pain and suffering that is coming. He knows about the judgment that is soon to fall, so He calls the wayward ones to come to Him. He calls them to come now, without delay, for He knows that delay is dangerous.
The time to come to Him is now! Listen to
what the Bible says about this matter (Gen. 6:3;
Prov. 27:1; 2 Cor. 6:2).
III. THE INTIMACY OF THIS INVITATION
A. The invitation is “Come now, let us reason
together.” The phrase “let us reason together”
is legal terminology. It means “let’s settle this
matter before a court of law.”
However, the phrase “come now” is an invitation
for these people to “walk with the Lord.”
He is not inviting them to a debate. He is not
opening the matter up to negotiations. He is inviting
them to come to His way of thinking. He is inviting them to agree with Him (see Amos 3:3).
That is grace!
B. God’s invitation to follow Him is still an
intimate thing! God does not call groups to come
to Him; He calls individuals. His call is individual
and intimate. When He calls, He always points
out the areas of disagreement, and He invites the
wayward one to come to a place of agreement
IV. THE INCREDIBLE INVITATION
A. God’s promise to Israel, if they will come to Him, is that all their sins will be washed away. Verse 15 tells us that their hands are stained with blood. They are dirty and unclean in the sight of the Lord. But, if they will just come to Him and heed His invitation, He will cleanse them completely.
The words “scarlet” and “crimson” refer to
dye that was extracted both from shellfish and
a certain type of insect. When white garments
were dyed with these colors, they could never be
made white again. Their religious observances
would not make them clean. The only hope these
people had was to accept the Lord’s invitation.
B. This invitation still stands! There is nothing
you can do to take away your sins. At best,
you and I are dirty and filthy in the sight of the
Lord (Isa. 64:6). But He is able to wash us in the
precious blood of Jesus and declare us holy and
clean (1 Cor. 6:9-11). He is able to cleanse us
from all sin (1 John 1:7). That is incredible!
What have you done about His invitation? Some of you have heard Jesus calling, and you have answered that call and come back to Him. His promise is secure. It all depends on what you do with the invitation. If He is calling you, then you need to come. Come today and settle your case with God out of court. Get it settled now and never worry about it again!