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September 12, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Learn to do good; seek justice, reprove the ruthless, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.”—Isaiah 1:17 (NASB)
Then the Lord said, “I have had enough!”
Well, He didn’t say that exactly, but in chapter one of Isaiah we get the impression that He is exhausted with the nation of Israel. His charge is that even animals showed more loyalty to their masters than His people did to Him. Ouch!
Israel was in a real mess. They were a small fish in a big pond, and a much bigger fish (Assyria) was about to swallow them whole. Starved for righteous leadership, the nation weakened. For a better picture of their condition, God compared the nation to a sick body, bruised and raw, and to a ravished land, wasted and desolate (Isaiah 1:6–7). He’d grown indifferent to their religious routine. He hid from their prayers and yearned for sincere, repentant hearts . . . for them to do the right thing.
So, like any good parent, He set out to remind them how they got into muddy waters and then threw them a line in order to get them out. The above verse highlights His five-point guide for righteous living. It was His divine indictment and invitation. Sadly, they did not take the bait, and in 722 B.C. the entire nation fell to the Assyrians.
It’s easy to sit back and blame the leadership of Israel—with all its wicked kings—and feel compassion for the people. But more often than not, the people joined in the worship of false gods such as Baal (Numbers 25:3–5; Judges 3:7; Hosea 11:2). But what encourages me the most is there were those who never compromised and remained loyal to the one true God. Jeremiah records the story of the Rechabites and their determined fidelity to what God commanded of their forefathers (Jeremiah 35). Their reward was a lasting lineage (Jeremiah 35:19).
So what can we learn from all of this? It’s simple, really: Don’t compromise on what we know from God to be right. All around us the world is watching. Our children are learning. Also, we honor God by righteous living, and when we don’t weary in doing good we eventually reap the rewards of righteous living (Galatians 6:9). Be comforted; God doesn’t expect perfection, only for us to press on in Christ (Philippians 3:14). Remember, you are His workmanship, created for good works (Ephesians 2:10). He’s prepared you to do the right thing.
Dig: Read Psalm 141. What is David’s heart for God in this lament?
Discover: Based on what this Psalm speaks to you, can you see the best way to avoid the snares of this world?
Display: As verse 5 in this Psalm implies, how can you help a brother or sister who may need counsel in doing the right thing?
Lisa Supp lives in Utah and has served within the CCFL Web and Prayer Ministry since 2011. She also volunteers as an editor on the CCFL Prayer Wall and is a writer on the Communications Team. Retired from teaching, Lisa and her husband Ron volunteer at their local Calvary Chapel and share a passion for Scripture, apologetics, and education.