You People of Gomorrah
Isaiah 1:10-11 ESV
“Hear the word of the Lord,
you rulers of Sodom!
Give ear to the teaching of our God,
you people of Gomorrah!
‘What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices?
says the Lord;
I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams
and the fat of well-fed beasts;
I do not delight in the blood of bulls,
or of lambs, or of goats.’”
The Lord is directing these words to his people and to their rulers whose lives resemble those of the inhabitants of the towns of Sodom and Gomorrah. This is a direct reference to lives given over to extreme sexual immorality, degradation, and perversion, and haughtiness, apathy, wickedness, vice, and corruption. The Lord judged those cities by destroying them both.
The Lord is registering a complaint against his people because of their sinful lifestyles but also because of their false worship of him. They put on a show of righteousness, going through the motions of religious performance, making superficial sacrifices supposedly to God, all the while they were engaging in all manner of evil against the Lord.
This Trampling of His Courts
Isaiah 1:12-17 ESV
“When you come to appear before me,
who has required of you
this trampling of my courts?
Bring no more vain offerings;
incense is an abomination to me.
New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations—
I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly.
Your new moons and your appointed feasts
my soul hates;
they have become a burden to me;
I am weary of bearing them.
When you spread out your hands,
I will hide my eyes from you;
even though you make many prayers,
I will not listen;
your hands are full of blood.
Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes;
cease to do evil,
learn to do good;
bring justice to the fatherless,
plead the widow’s cause.”
This reminds me of the passage of Scripture in Hebrews 10:26-31 where it says that if we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.
And it goes on to talk about how severely someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace. And this is exactly what is happening in the church today here in America along with the acceptance of the cheap grace gospel.
They are treating God’s grace to them as though it is merely a free ride to heaven but that they are not required to do anything – no repentance, no obedience, and no submission to God as Lord. There is no fear of God in their lives. Instead they have an entitlement mindset that just expects God to hand them his salvation while they do nothing.
But in the Old Testament, and in the New Testament, repentance (turning away from sin) and obedience to the Lord and to his commands, and submission to him as Lord are required of us to be in relationship with God and for us to have salvation from sin and eternal life with God. So, those who reject this are rejecting the Lord.
Just like it was then it is now. God takes no pleasure in religious performance. He doesn’t care about our church attendance and our offerings and our good deeds if they are all just going through the motions of religion but they have nothing to do with having a vital relationship with God whereby our lives are surrendered to him as living sacrifices on his altar.
He is not interested in our worship services if they are all religious performances but they do not impact our lives in how we live for the Lord day by day. He especially is not interested in supposed sacred assemblies in his name that have nothing to do with true worship of him but that are geared more toward entertaining the world and appealing to human flesh in order to attract the world to those religious gatherings.
What the Lord is interested in, what brings him pleasure, is our lives surrendered to him, the forsaking of our sinful lifestyles, and our walks of obedience to his commands (New Covenant). He wants us to remove our evil deeds from his sight and to cease to do evil, and for us to learn to do the good that he has for us to do.
Let Us Reason Together
Isaiah 1:18-20 ESV
“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 like crimson,
they shall become like wool.
If you are willing and obedient,
you shall eat the good of the land;
but if you refuse and rebel,
you shall be eaten by the sword;
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
This is the goal of our salvation from sin that we would be cleansed from our sins, that we would no longer live in slavery to sin, but that we would be willing servants of the Lord, obedient to his commands. For Jesus died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, not so we would go on living in sin now guilt free.
If we follow the Lord Jesus in obedience to his ways, and we leave our old lives of sin behind us, and we now walk according to the Spirit, and no longer walk according to the flesh, we are blessed of God. We will enjoy the riches of his salvation from sin, the hope of eternal life with God, and his strength and power to live godly lives pleasing to him from this time forward.
But if we refuse, and if we rebel, and if we decide that faith in Jesus is a mere profession or confession of him but that it requires nothing on our part – no submission, no repentance, and no obedience – then eternal life is not what awaits us. The wrath of God is what awaits us. So, please take this to heart and surrender your lives to the Lord today if you have not yet.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Matt 7:21-23; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10]
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
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