Think, Act, Be, Day 16-Isaiah 1:11-20
Cease to do evil, learn to do good.
Before Isaiah says, “Here am I, send me!” (Isaiah 6:10), God summons him. God shows Isaiah how Israel’s leaders have failed. Their beliefs aren’t connected to action. As the old saying goes about fake cowboys, “They’re all hat and no cattle.”
God says the solution for the leaders and people—even today– is simple. “I don’t need your words, songs, attendance or wealth primarily. I want you to show me in your behavior: wash yourselves, cease evil, learn to do good; and seek justice. Start where you are with three groups of people: the oppressed, the orphan, and the widow.”
Why would we begin there? God has a promise for us called atonement. Our sins are going to be cleansed. Everything we’ve done wrong will be forgiven. Help is on the way. Prepare accordingly.
What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices?
says the Lord;
I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams
and the fat of fed beasts;
I do not delight in the blood of bulls,
or of lambs, or of goats.
12 When you come to appear before me,
who asked this from your hand?
Trample my courts no more;
13 bringing offerings is futile;
incense is an abomination to me.
New moon and sabbath and calling of convocation—
I cannot endure solemn assemblies with iniquity.
14 Your new moons and your appointed festivals
my soul hates;
they have become a burden to me,
I am weary of bearing them.
15 When you stretch out your hands,
I will hide my eyes from you;
even though you make many prayers,
I will not listen;
your hands are full of blood.
16 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
remove the evil of your doings
from before my eyes;
cease to do evil,
17 learn to do good;
rescue the oppressed,
defend the orphan,
plead for the widow.
18 Come now, let us argue it out,
says the Lord:
though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be like snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool.
19 If you are willing and obedient,
you shall eat the good of the land;
20 but if you refuse and rebel,
you shall be devoured by the sword;
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken