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February 15, 2016

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One of the most important things we can learn from Isaiah is how Yahweh deals with Judah. Can we expect Yahweh to deal with us the same way He deals with Israel and Judah?

What I mean by that is, does God hold us to the same standards? Some people seem to think that because we have the grace of God on our side, and since Jesus died for us, we can live any way we really want, and God's grace "covers" us. That's not true. The Apostle Paul spoke out against this kind of arrogant flaunting of God's grace in Romans 6:1-2. He said, "What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?"

So when God looks at Israel and Judah and sees injustice, lavish living, trampling the poor, taking bribes, people unwilling to call a sin a sin, you don't think God looks at us the same way he looked on at his chosen people Israel? If we are perpetrating injustice in the world, ignoring and even demeaning the poor, unwilling to call these sins: violence, lust, lying, cheating, stealing, illegal activities, fornication, homosexual sex, and hetersexual sex outside of marriage, abortion.

That we call them sins does not make us cruel, uncaring, and dogmatic. We all sin. Some sins impact the body and soul more deeply, impact others more deeply than other sins. Sins committed by Judah will have a lasting impact on their social, civic, and spiritual lives. They will be exiled and suffer. 

Interestingly, Isaiah prophesies through 50 years and four kingdoms, and only one of the kings is said to be bad, through and through. Ahaz (2 Kings 16:3) even sacrificed his own children. Uzziah, Jotham, and Hezekiah were considered good kings by the writings, but it doesn't mean they were perfect, nor does it mean they didn't sin, nor does it mean they didn't need a prophet in their faces from time to time, and Isaiah is a pre-exilic prophet in relatively peaceful times trying to prevent the kind of total off the charts repugnant rejection of Yahweh that got Israel destroyed and some survivors deported by Assyria and re-populated with outsiders.

Are there ways God would look upon our world today, our nation, our states, cities, churches, schools, businesses, neighborhoods, families, individuals like you and me and want to deal with us in the way he dealt with Israel and Judah? Does the blood of Jesus somehow prevent Yahweh from destroying us in our sinfulness? How does this work? Does Yahweh deal with us by deporting people, making us ill, taking our lives? 


Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
   teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth, and teach me,
   for you are the God of my salvation;
   for you I wait all day long. Psalm 25:4–5


Three men in the Bible fasted or stayed in the wilderness 40 days: Moses, Elijah, and Jesus. Take heart in your 40 day Lent journey. Men of God went before you.


Read Matthew 25 to learn how Jesus as judge of our actions deals with us when we do not give to the poor, needy, prisoner, neighbor who is in our path.