“The children I raised and cared for have turned against Me…No matter what I do for them, they still do not understand…They have despised the Holy One of Israel, cutting themselves off from His help. Why do you continue to invite punishment? Must you rebel forever? Your head is injured, and your heart is sick…Listen to the Lord…Listen to the law of God…’I am sick of your sacrifices,’ says the Lord…’Why do you keep parading through My courts with your sacrifices?...For your hands are covered with the blood of your innocent victims. Wash yourselves and be clean! Let me no longer see your evil deeds. Give up your wicked ways. Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the orphan. Fight for the rights of widows. Come on now, let us argue this out,’ says the Lord. ‘No matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can remove it. I can make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you as white as wool. If you will only obey Me and let Me help you, then you will have plenty to eat. But if you keep turning away and refuse to listen, you will be destroyed by your enemies.”
The above passage gives us a mere glance at God’s hatred toward sin. Tonight after researching this passage I learned that it took place in Judea. Judea was desolate and their cities burned. As a result, the people of Judea brought sacrifices and offerings in hopes of making amends with God for their disobedience. Although bringing sacrifices and offerings was encouraged in this time, the people of Judea did not have the right heart/intentions behind these actions. Sacrifices and offerings were to be made along with turning away from sin and turning toward the Lord. In this case, the Judeans were not willing to give up their sins so their sacrifices and offerings were meaningless to God.
Similarly to the Judeans’ situation, we must also avoid being “all talk” or “all for show” when it comes to living for Christ. If we are going to claim Christ in our lives, we must be willing to turn from our sinful behaviors, thoughts, etc. and follow Him. Let us do as this passage suggests by washing our blood-stained hands.
To bring a little light into this devotional… There is so much encouragement that can be found in the second part of this passage - When God points out sin in our lives, He tells us how to make things right and that He will be there the whole way to help us get back the intimate relationship we had with Him before we walked away. For a reminder, I am referring to the part that says: “’Come on now, let us argue this out,’ says the Lord. ‘No
Not only does He says we will argue this out together (“let us”), but He promises to make us as clean as freshly fallen snow and as white as wool!! :) What an incentive to live for a higher calling, right?!
Zechariah 1:3 – “Therefore tell the people: This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'Return to Me,' declares the LORD Almighty, 'and I will return to you,' says the LORD Almighty.”
I pray today that we find strength in the Lord to turn from our ways and to turn back to Him. And may we be motivated to pursue the righteousness God has in store for those who love and follow Him!
“Return To Me” by Jason Upton