#50 for January 10, 2019
The Bible says all people are welcome to bind themselves to the Lord, to obey God’s commands and choose what delights him. (Isaiah 56:3).
Isaiah warned the leaders of his time that if they continued being greedy, self-centered, and power-hungry, the flock would be overtaken by spiritual enemies. Some felt God didn’t have a right to ask that they let Him control their lives and surrender to Him in trust. But doesn’t the Creator have the right to control his creation? Yet he gives us the right to choose.
Isaiah says “Build up…remove every obstruction from my people’s way,” (Isa. 57 14). God is interested in reconstruction of souls. He will be with “him who is of a contrite and humble spirit,” (v.15). God knows we are unable to live righteous lives in our natural state. He is a merciful God who does for his people what we cannot do for themselves. All we need to do is recognize our need for God’s forgiveness and turn to him in contrition, accept his forgiveness, and be willing to turn away from our sin.
He will then give us the power needed to do this. He will heal our sin-sick souls, guide us and restore comfort to us as we rely on him. This is what I found to be true. It is certainly good news.
Isaiah said God was angry because of man’s sinful greed (17), but then God said, “I have seen what they do, but I will heal them anyway! I will lead them and comfort them, helping them to mourn and to confess their sins” (v. 18, LB). God loves so much he even gives people the desire to turn to him! He heals us so that we are able to desire righteousness and ask God for help. Through a loving relationship with God, the by-products of righteousness and justice are developed in our lives by God.
But what about the wicked? God wants to give all people a changed nature, but He doesn’t force himself on anyone. The wicked are those who refuse to admit their sinfulness and their need for a Savior, and therefore refuse to turn to God and away from their sin.
“There is no peace,” says God, “for the wicked” (v. 21).