Todays readings.. Deuteronomy 29, Isaiah 1, Acts 27
“IF YOU ARE WILLING AND OBEDIENT”
Today we started reading the wonderful prophecy of Isaiah. His time as a prophet of the LORD covered the reign of four kings, beginning with the reign of Uzziah who suffered leprosy as a punishment for becoming too proud in his later years and entering the Temple and trying to burn incense (2 Chron. 26 v.16-20) It is only when we come to the fourth king, Hezekiah; is there a king who does what is right in the eyes of the LORD. (ch. 29 v.2)
Isaiah’s opening message could equally be a message for today. “Ah, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, offspring of evildoers, children who deal corruptly!” [v.4] They are challenged, “Hear the word of the LORD, you rulers of Sodom! Give ear to the teaching of our God, you people of Gomorrah!” [v.10]
Yet it was not quite like today – they did give the outward appearance of serving God. “When you come to appear before me …. Bring no more vain offerings … I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly.” [v.13] So they came to the Temple for “solemn assembly” but the LORD saw it as just keeping up outward appearances.
So the opening message of Isaiah provides a significant message for us today. Do we believe in the Creator, and his Son our Saviour with all our hearts? Are our “solemn assemblies” when we come together on a Sunday genuinely “solemn”? Isaiah is then caused to write, “”Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow …. If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land” [v.18,19] This is rather parallel with Moses’ words to Israel that we read today in Deut. 29, “keep the words of this covenant and do them, that you may prosper in all that you do. You are standing today all of you before the LORD …” [v.9,10] And they did listen, they stood before the LORD and therefore prospered, crossing the Jordan to enter the promised land. Let us do likewise – and we have the added blessing of having God’s written word in our hands to inspire us – day after day.