This awakened them to bring sacrifices and offerings, as if they would bribe God to remove the punishment, and give them leave to go on in their sin. Many who will readily part with their sacrifices, will not be persuaded to part with their sins. They relied on the mere form as a service deserving a reward. The most costly devotions of wicked people, without thorough reformation of heart and life, cannot be acceptable to God."
15 When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood. 16 " Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, 17 Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow.
Through Isaiah, God proceeds to warn his people that he will not hear their cries. In fact he says that his eyes will be turned from them. The hands of the people are filled with blood. In this passage, "blood" refers to the sin and the wrong doing of the people. God demonstrates the anger that he is feeling towards his people in this particular verse.
God presents His people with an alternative that will make them acceptable to Him. He tells them to wash themselves by stopping their evil ways. In the seventeenth verse He tells them how to stop doing evil, by learning what is good and seeking justice. God also tells his people to rebuke the oppressor. The oppressor being referred to is Satan who seeks to destroy the people of God and pull them away form his favor. The second half of the seventh verse also encourages the defending of the fatherless and the widow. This theme of protecting orphans and widows is also found elsewhere in the Bible. In fact James 1:27 states "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction."
Protection for orphan and widows speaks to the character of God and the character that God wanted His people to possess. In any given society orphans and widows are the most vulnerable and need to be protected.
18 " Come now, and let us reason together," Says the LORD, " Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool. 19 if you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land; 20 but if you refuse and rebel, You shall be devoured by the sword"; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.
In this passage God is again pleading with His people to turn from their wicked ways and return to His grace. God tells that they can reason or talk about the situation so that it can be resolved. In this verse God also makes a promise to the people. He promises that their sins can be washed and they can be made clean. This can only occur if they repent and stop their evil actions.
The final two verses of the passage demonstrate that even though God loves His people He is also willing to pass judgment on them because of their disobedience. The last two verse therefore serve a s a warning to the people and they are presented with an ultimatum. They can choose to be compliant with God and reap the benefits that God has in store for them or they can continue in their sinful ways. God then warns the people that if they do not turn from their evil ways they will be killed with e the sword. The passage ends with the reassurance that the words that were spoken were directly from God and not the words of Isaiah. The reiteration that this entire passage is a prophecy reestablishes the power and sovereignty of God's word. In addition it ensures that the people understand the seriousness of their transgressions.
The purpose of this research will explore the meaning of the passage and will include a questioning of the historical context of the research, the literary context of the passage and the structure of the passage. The research found that
1. What was God attempting to convey to His people through Isaiah? Throughout the passage God is attempting to let His people know that it is not too late for their sins to be forgives. They can be restored to a right place with God but they must repent. In addition, their failure to repent will end in judgment.
2. What methods were used to help the people understand God's distress concerning their actions? God used His prophet Isaiah to present His message. He also used metaphor by comparing the wickedness of the people to that of Sodom and Gomorrah. God also attempted to reason with His audience. There were also promises of redemption made if they would turn from their sin.
3. How is this passage connected to other Biblical passages in terms of God's love for His people and the reality of their rebellious nature keeping from God? Similar pleas to live in righteousness can be seen throughout the Old and New Testament. Through the Death and resurrection of Christ God created a way for people to atone their sins. There is a constant plea for reconciliation between God and man throughout Scripture.
Overall the research indicates that the prophet Isaiah was used by God to send massages of warning and redemption to His people. This passage is an example of the type of prophet that Isaiah was and the ways in which he was used by God.
Bosma, Carl J. The challenges of reading the "gospel" of Isaiah for preaching. Calvin Theological Journal 39 no 1 Ap 2004, p 11-53.
Buksbazen, Victor. The Prophet Isaiah: new translation and commentary. Spearhead Press, 1971
Dumbrell. William J. The Purpose of the Book of Isaiah. Tyndale Bulletin 36 (1985) 111-128.
Gill, John. John Gill's Exposition of the Bible.http: / / www.Biblestudytools .com / commentaries/gills-exposition-of-the-bible/isaiah-1-10.html (Accessed February 22, 2010)
Henry, Mark . Mark Henry's Commentary. http: / / www. christnotes. org / commentary. php?com=mhc&b=23&c=0 (Accessed February 22, 2010)
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The Geneva Study Bible
Young, Edward J. . The Book of Isaiah: Chapters 1 to 18. ( Wm.B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1992)
John F. Sawyer, TheFiflh Gospel: Isaiah in the History of Christianity (Cambridge: University Press, 1996).
Mark Henry. Mark Henry's Commentary. http: / / www.christnotes.org / commentary.php ?com=mhc&b=23&c=0 (Accessed February 22, 2010)
William J. Dumbrell. "The Purpose of the Book of Isaiah." Tyndale Bulletin 36 (1985) 111-128.
Dumbrell, "The Purpose of the Book of Isaiah."
The Geneva Study Bible
Edward J. Young. The Book of Isaiah: Chapters 1 to 18. ( Wm.B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1992)
Young, the Book of Isaiah: Chapters 1 to 18. 32
Arthur Sumner Herbert. The book of the prophet Isaiah, chapters…
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