Isaiah with Reflecting Blobs from Roy Gane’s first Lesson Monday and Tuesday

Monday         December 28

Rotten Ritualism or digitally flash-flash passed the Bible, sermons and anything religious (Isa. 1:10-17)

Read Isaiah 1:10. Why do you think he was using the imagery of Sodom and Gomorrah? What point was the Lord making?

Read Isaiah 1:11-15. What is the Lord telling the people there? Why did the Lord reject the worship that His people were offering Him?

They do everything according to the book in the right order, the right way, the right form but their hearts are far from God. God has no interest in sacrifices (v. 11a-d). Their presence in the earthly sanctuary is “trampling of My courts” (v. 12b). “Bring your worthless offerings no longer, incense is an abomination to Me” (v. 13a-b). New Moon time services, Sabbath services, the calling of assemblies for worship “I cannot endure iniquity and the solemn assembly” (v. 13c-d). God dislike their new moon and appointed feasts “they have become a burden to Me” (v. 14a-b). “I am weary of bearing” (v. 14c). Because their hearts are not right the Lord says about their prayer: “when you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you, yes, even though you multiply prayers, I will not listen” (v. 15a-d). The reason is that their hands are covered with blood for they are violent. The list of their sins is mentioned. They are to wash themselves, clean themselves, removes evil, ceases to do evil (v. 16a-b). Isaiah then go through a list of sins that is also dealt with later in 58:6-7 “learn to do good; seek justice; defend the orphan; plead for the widow” (v. 17) which is what they did not do. Isaiah was a visionary more than a comparative semitic historian. He wrote Heilsgeschichte or Redemption history. He wrote half of the books of Kings and Chronicles as well and after every king he evaluated them if they were faithful in their relation to God or not. The exile in 723 BCE was a wakeup call in the ministry of Isaiah. He had to reboot his thinking about the earthly remnant, about the meaning of spiritual Israel for God and the role of eschatology became a living reality for him. Through the destruction and pain of those years, it was eschatology that held out the best solution for this earth and its history. It did for Jesus, for Paul, for John in Revelation and for Ellen White in her day and for us in our day. No difference. It was the same to Adam and all until Isaiah. There is a scholar Walther Eichrodt who is trying to say that eschatology was plagiarized in the Old Testament from the Persians and Zoroastrianism. What a boring scholar. Did he not read Hebrews 11 saying all of them expected a city that was not on this earth? Eschatology is even in the works of Moses. Look carefully at the nuances. This is the problem with Preterists and those who overlook Adventism which is looking with historicism to the Bible. God made his final plan known in every single generation since Adam. Put away Eerdmans, Moody, Kregel, Fortress Press and other bog-down literature.

Read Isaiah 1:16, 17. What is the Lord commanding that His people do? How do these verses, in this context, parallel what Jesus said in Matthew 23:23-28? What message can we find for ourselves today in these texts and in the context in which they are given?

Tuesday         December 29

The Argument of Forgiveness (Isa. 1:18)

Read Isaiah 1:18. After going over it numerous times, write what you believe the Lord is saying here (read a few verses beyond it to get the whole context).

God has stated powerful evidence that the Judeans, the accused, are guilty of breach of contract (Isa. 1:2-15), and He has appealed to them to reform (Isa. 1:1617). This appeal suggests there is hope. After all, why urge a criminal deserving execution to change his ways? How could a prisoner on death row “rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow” (NRSV)? But when God says “Come now, let us argue it out” (Isa. 1:18, NRSV), we can see the Lord still seeking to reason with His people, still seeking to get them to repent and turn from their evil ways, no matter how degenerate they had become.

The Lord says to them that Your red sins shall become white. Why are sins red? Because red is the color of the “blood” (blood guilt) that covers the hands of the people (Isa. 1:15). White, by contrast, is the color of purity, the absence of blood guilt. Here, God is offering to change them. This is the kind of language King David used when he cried out to God for forgiveness for his sin of taking Bathsheba and destroying her husband (read Ps. 51:714). In Isaiah 1:18, God’s argument is an offer to forgive His people!

As Gane said, it will become white. How white is white? Are there still taints of sin, original sin remaining after conversion. Are we not actually white but some yellowish white because of sinful tendencies? How white is this white? Answer: “Go and sin no more” (John 8). Pretty victorious. “Let me be worthy of the price you paid for me” said the song sung by Virginia Lee.

How does God’s offer of forgiveness serve as an argument for them to change their ways? Compare Isaiah 1:18 to Isaiah 44:22.

Now we see the purpose of God’s sharp words of warning against His people. They are not to reject His people but to bring them back to Him. His offer of forgiveness is the mighty argument supporting His appeal for the people to purify themselves morally (Isa. 1:1617). His forgiveness makes it possible for them to be transformed by His power. Here we see the seeds of the “new covenant,” prophesied in Jeremiah 31:31-34, in which forgiveness is the basis of a new-heart relationship with God. We start off “in the red,” owing a debt we can never repay. From the humble position of acknowledging our need for forgiveness, we are ready to accept everything God has to give. Obedience is accept and do. The gospel, said Heppenstall, is salvation from sin. Good works is the harmony with the life to come. Fitness must be determined before Christ comes. Under the pretense of enlarging our liberties we are deprived of them. Good works are not opposed to the gospel but part of it. Love is not emotionalism but keeping God’s law, he said. 

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