Isaiah begins in the first chapter listing Judah’s sins against God. What were they doing that was so offensive to Holy God? Here are a few specifics the Lord gives to Isaiah:
Listen, O heavens! Pay attention, earth!
This is what the Lord says:
“The children I raised and cared for
have rebelled against me. REBELLION against God who has lovingly cared for them.
4 Oh, what a sinful nation they are—
loaded down with a burden of guilt.
They are evil people,
corrupt children who have rejected the Lord.
They have despised the Holy One of Israel
and turned their backs on him. They have regarded God with contempt, scorn and turned away from Him.
12 When you come to worship me,
who asked you to parade through my courts with all your ceremony?
13 Stop bringing me your meaningless gifts;
the incense of your offerings disgusts me!
As for your celebrations of the new moon and the Sabbath
and your special days for fasting—
they are all sinful and false. Their worship was filled with ceremony but not sincerity.
I want no more of your pious meetings. Their offerings and special celebrations were meaningless.
In what ways do your sins mirror those of the people of Judah? Are you rebelling against God and denying your faith? Are you treating God with contempt or scorning His ways? Are you just going about the motions of worship? Are you seeking to bargain with God and offer meaningless actions to Him? Let your heart be clean before Him and confess your sins. He desires to create a clean heart within you.
Isaiah adds that if it was not for the mercy of God there would have been devastation like Sodom and Gomorrah. God tires of their sinfulness and admonishes them to ‘straighten up and fly right’ so to speak in verses 16-17.
16 Wash yourselves and be clean!
Get your sins out of my sight.
Give up your evil ways.
17 Learn to do good.
Help the oppressed.
Defend the cause of orphans.
Fight for the rights of widows
These straight forward verses lay out how God desires that we are to relate to Him and act towards others. Just like Isaiah in Chapter 6 had to be clean and have his sins forgiven to come before Holy God, so it is with us. To be in a relationship with God, to do God’s work and show His love to others we need to be clean! The only way to do that is through Jesus. Just as Jesus cleansed the leper in Matthew 8:3 “Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy.” Jesus’ touch will clean your willing heart and erase your sins. Christ is the Holy one, the Only one, who can Save us. Seek his touch and repent of your sins. Remember this from Lamentations 3:22 and be encouraged. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
Each day is a new day with the Lord. He will forgive you and help you start anew with Him. Enjoy this wonderful song by Michael W Smith about the heart of worship. May you worship be sincere and uplift you into the very presence of God.