Isaiah, Week 1 | Worship
I will upfront say that what I have to say in this devotional on Isaiah might offend you. Hopefully will challenge you. Above all else, my desire for this series is for it to heighten your desire to seek Jesus with your entire being.
Isaiah was a prophet who many scholars assume walked the earth around 700 years before Jesus. In the book of Isaiah we can learn about God’s character, God’s Father heart, God as the ultimate creator, God’s love, God’s righteous anger, God’s plan for redemption through the coming of Jesus, and how one can receive freedom through pursuing God fully.
This book covers many different aspects of the Christian faith. It allows us to see the complexity of God, and understand that we need to love Him with every part of us in order for Him to be Lord over our lives.
I love how every person's name in the bible foreshadows their character as a person. Isaiah means salvation of the Lord.
God gave Isaiah vision about the coming King. God gave Isaiah boldness to speak truth to the nation of Israel. God told Isaiah to speak to the nations about repentance and salvation.
The nation Isaiah was speaking to was Israel, a nation filled with God’s chosen people. This nation, however, was living in rebellion. I believe God was speaking to Israel, but I also believe there is a reason why we have this book easily accessible for us to read. North American Christian Churches, I think we need to read this book and pray about what God is saying to us through Isaiah.
How often are people praying for one another? How often do people turn to prayer in a time of need? How often do people turn to prayer in a time of praise? How often do we thank God in the midst of chaos and pain because we know that His plans are greater than ours?
The religious leaders in Israel at the time of Isaiah were performing sacrifices and partaking in specific rituals and customs of Jewish law. While they were outwardly doing what they were religiously supposed to do, they were offending God.
They were offensive to God because He knew their hearts were not in line with His.
God knew they were not genuine because they were not caring or concerned for others. Their focus was continually inward; they had a consumeristic mindset, "What can this do for me?" And this is where I may offend you in saying that in present day, I believe this is a common outlook for many Christians. "What can Jesus do for me? If I pray for all of these selfish things maybe God will give them to me!" This is not the heart of God. This is not God’s desire for us as follower’s of Him. Yes, He wants us to turn to Him and pray to him for every aspect of our life, but we should selflessly pray for His will to be done above all else.
God knew His people’s hearts were not in line with His because of their actions towards others.
"Your hands are full of blood; wash and make yourselves clean, Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong, learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, Plead the case of the widow." Isaiah 1:16-17
This is why I believe it is something that needs to be brought to many Christians' attention. I know this because God knows the desires of our hearts - good actions with selfish intention are not pleasing to God. I know this because God clearly tells us to stop doing wrong and learn to do right. He tells us to seek justice and encourage the oppressed. He tells us to defend the fatherless. Christians, we are given responsibility by God to look after orphans and widows. We know this, and yet there are currently around 300,000 children in foster care and approximately 300,000 churches in America. We are not fulfilling our responsibility as followers of Jesus.
If our hearts as Christians are fully in line with Gods, then we will worship him and be inspired to reach out and help others, just as Jesus would do!
God desires for us to seek Him and allow Him to shape our hearts to be more like His.
"Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken." Isaiah 1: 18-20
Friends, I pray that you will be challenged to worship the Lord like never before. I pray that you will be transformed by His goodness and love for you. I pray that your heart will be shaped and molded to be inspired to help the poor, sick, needy, and fatherless. I challenge you this week to go out of your way to help others and worship the Lord through doing so!
Be blessed this week.