What No One is Talking About – Part 4
Isaiah 1:18-20 King James Version
18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:
20 But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
In the fourth of the series “What No One is Talking About: Repentance”, Pastor Barclift reviewed the message from Isaiah 1:18. God says to come so we can reason together with him. He also asks that we come now without delay. When we obey, he continues to speak to us. When we come to him in repentance, he removes our shame and guilt. If you’ve lost your joy, God’s Spirit can set you free. God longs to free us from guilt and shame and will do so when we respond to his calling. To repent means to agree with God that we need to change and that he can forgive us and give us the strength to move forward and grow in him.
Sin has an impact in three ways. First, it has an impact on God. God has blessed us in so very many ways, yet amidst all these wonderful blessings, we choose to go our own way and sin. Sin separates us from the holiness of God and that breaks his heart. Second, our sin impacts others. People can see how we live and how we respond to our circumstances in life. Co-workers, neighbors, friends, children, and grandchildren are all impacted by our behaviors. Third, my sin has an impact on me. Haggai 1: 7 says “Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.” Ask yourself just how your behaviors (and sin) are working for you? If it isn’t working well, bringing shame and guilt, then the Lord is still saying, come now and let us reason together.
God asks us to come now. We may hesitate because we don’t see our sins as really bad. We only compromise a little. We get a little more permissive and give more ground to evil each day. Soon we find ourselves atop a very slippery slope that can cause great hurt and not just to ourselves but to others as well. When we compromise on God’s values, it is like taking poison one drop at a time. God’s standards are high. Compromise is just sin that separates us from God. Jeremiah 2:5 (NIV) “This is what the Lord says: “What fault did your ancestors find in me, that they strayed so far from me? They followed worthless idols and became worthless themselves.” Apparently, the Israelites found they, too, didn’t care for God’s values and laws. So, like us, they followed worthless idols and became worthless themselves. Surely, they suffered guilt and
shame for these behaviors. Jeremiah is passing on God’s message to them about sin in this scripture to give them a call for the need of repentance.
God wants us to put him first and not just have a place down the line after all our idols of money, lust, entertainment, possessions, and pleasure for pleasure’s sake alone. In the Garden of Eden, God provided the very best for Adam and Eve just as he provides many blessings for us every day. Just like Adam and Eve, we want to gain control of all we survey and make all the decisions for ourselves, even when they conflict with God’s gifts and rules he sets out for us. As our foolish desires separate us from God, he longs for us to return to him by turning the other way through repentance.
Just like in the Garden of Eden, life with God is vibrant. We can never pay back our Creator and Redeemer who saved us from being slaves to sin. We can worship our God, Creator, and Redeemer by offering up a sacrifice of praise, even when we may not feel like it. Often, we need to take time to ponder what is important. The 120 followers of Christ waited on God until the Lord sent the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. We don’t need to tarry to receive the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is always available to us. We may need to tarry to calm our hearts to clear our busyness out of our hearts as we stop to listen to His Voice.
We are given a choice. Isaiah 1: 19- 20 “If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” When we refuse to listen and fail to obey the Lord, we suffer. Even when bad things happen that are not consequences of our own actions, and we ask God why, we can choose to trust him and depend on him or become angry or try to “fix” things ourselves. Following God and worshipping him, changes our world view. We are being prepared by all that happens for not only our life here but for our heavenly future. As we grow and mature, we grow in a deeper relationship with God. We need to start with repentance so we can agree with God that he can forgive and help us change.