Isaiah 1:2 Hear, O heavens, and listen, O earth; for the LORD has spoken: I reared children and brought them up, but they have rebelled against me. 3 The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master’s crib; but Israel does not know, my people do not understand. 4 Ah, sinful nation, people laden with iniquity, offspring who do evil, children who deal corruptly, who have forsaken the LORD, who have despised the Holy One of Israel, who are utterly estranged! 5 Why do you seek further beatings? Why do you continue to rebel? The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. 6 From the sole of the foot even to the head, there is no soundness in it, but bruises and sores and bleeding wounds; they have not been drained, or bound up, or softened with oil.
Israel is paying a price for disobedience to God. They have been attacked by other nations, occupied, and suffered defeat. Through the prophet Isaiah, God uses the imagery of a sick and beaten human body to describe the state of Israel. They have suffered terribly yet continue in their disobedience. In essence, God is saying it doesn’t have to be that way. If they will repent of their sin and turn from their ungodly ways, the Lord will restore them. Even so – they continue to rebel.
When I read passages like this one it’s easy to judge Israel. They are in such a bad state one would think they would jump at the chance to be reconciled to God, to be spared further death and humiliation, but this is not the case. However, when I look in the mirror I see that too often I’m tempted to do the same thing.
Once we get into patterns of sin it’s hard to break loose. We can try really hard to change, and might succeed for a while, but trying harder generally leads to failure. Why? Because our human nature is to sin and rebel. It was true of Adam and Eve, it’s true of every person born since. Will power will not get it done.
As I mentioned yesterday, what’s required is not greater effort per se, trying REALLY HARD this time, but an acknowledgement that we are “in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves”. It takes humility to admit that. To admit our powerlessness. To admit we’re stuck in a pattern of sin. Yet in our humility God has an opening to do in us what we cannot do ourselves.
Question: Where might you be stuck in a pattern of sinfulness? I’m assuming if you could break free on your own you would have done so already. Have you asked the Lord to take hold of you and set you free?
Lord Jesus, give us grace to call upon your name in our hour of need, that we might be set free from bondage to sin and death. Amen.