Participating in religious rituals is not righteousness (Isaiah 1:1‐20)

The book of Isaiah starts by introducing us to the prophet and indicating the period of his ministry. This first passage covers God’s words regarding Israel’s rebellion against Him, His judgement for their rebellion, the uselessness of their worship and a call for them to repent.

God calls Israel’s attention to their rebellious attitude.

Israel had rebelled against God. He had chosen them out of all the nations, preserved them and then built them up to a great nation but they had not held up their end of the covenant that they had with God. They had not obeyed God’s law.

When all is considered, it is undeniable that we exist only through God’s providence, but today we have rebelled against God. We attribute our continued existence to technological discoveries, economic, social, or international systems. Rather than giving glory to God, we have forsaken Him.

God implies that Israel’s defeat and complete emptiness and destruction is judgement for their rebellion.

During their period of rebellion, Israel had faced defeat at the hands of their enemies and other seemingly natural disasters. All these were brought about as a form of judgement from God for their sins. Whatever little they had left was only by mercy from God.

It is easy to look around and figure that we have reason to rejoice because despite the world’s rebellion against God, we as human beings, have made great advances and we are so much better of than previous generations. We forget that God is merciful and patient. He does not have pleasure in the destructions of sinners.

God expresses His revulsion at their sacrifices, feasts and worship.

God goes on to express His revulsion at their sacrifices, feasts and worship. According to Paul in Romans 7:7-25, all these rites and rituals had been established to lead the Israelite to reflect and seek repentance for their sins. They had, however, turned things upside-down and used the rite and rituals as a covering for their sin.

The scriptures in Romans 3:23-24 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” It is only the blood of Christ that can cover our sins.

God calls Israel to repentance through putting an end to their evil and seeking justice for the defenceless.

God finished this passage by telling the Israelites that rather than seeking to cover their sins, they should stop doing evil deeds and seeks justice for the defenceless. God assures them that they can be forgiven and they can be prosperous and free if they repent. However, if they persisted in their rebellion, they would be destroyed by their enemies.

 

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