June 24, 2016
Scripture: Isaiah 1:16-17 (ESV)
God's Wash List
"Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean. Remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause."
The Lord spoke His message to the people of Israel through His prophet Isaiah. They were still following the practices of the Law given by Moses by offering up sacrifices that God commanded of them, but somewhere along the way they lost the heart behind the practice. It got so bad that God wanted them to quit it because they were offering sacrifices in vain. This goes to show that even good things done with wrong motives can be the wrong things to do.
So what does God want? His desire for His people is for them to be washed clean inside and out; heart and actions. In this verse God gives a list of what "washed people" look like.
1. Remove Evil: God doesn't want just an apology after getting caught. He wants compelling action to cease doing evil and remove it out of your life so that it can no longer tempt you.
2. Learn to do Good: You don't have to teach a child how to be selfish or how to lie, but good character is built. God desires us to live a life of learning how to do good, always improving and trying to make the world a better place because of how we lived.
3. Seek Justice: God hates injustice and we hate it too. That's why we have the court system, even if it is struggling to do what it was intended to do. Each of us should do our part and seek justice in our world.
4. Correct Oppression: God doesn't want apathetic blank stares when we see people who are under oppression; correct it, fight it, sign a petition, do something. We can't let it slip by if we are aware. Failing to do the right thing when it's within our power to do something, can be the wrong thing to do.
5. Fight for the Fatherless: Stand for those this world ignores. In that culture the father of the house would be the provider, but without him, the family would be left to fend for themselves, who were essentially invisible to the people of that culture. Who is the world ignoring in your world today?
6. Speak for the Widows: Be the voice for those who cannot speak for themselves. The women sadly in that culture were essentially the property of the men and had no rights to speak out or be independent of her husband. When the husband died, the widow still had no rights, but fell into the cracks of society, voiceless. Many women are still today, in a lot of ways, property of men, through prostitution and drug dependence. Speak up people of God.
These are the things the Lord looks for in His people.
Looking at this list is convicting. How many more children must go into sex-trafficking before I contribute to the fight against it? How many convicts get to walk free due to the lack of pursuing justice in my life? How many people will fail to see Jesus in me because of the evils I refuse to remove out of my life?
"Lord Jesus, I thank You that I can be washed clean by Your blood. Help me in my pursuit to live a life free from evil, seeking justice, and defending those who can't defend themselves. Please reveal to me what I can do in my everyday life to do this better. I give You my heart and my actions. Amen."