Isaiah 1:16 (NIV) …wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong, learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.
Both the Northern Kingdom (Israel) and the Southern Kingdom (Judah) had fallen into serious moral and spiritual decline. The first 39 chapters of Isaiah reveal Israel’s need to repent and return to their covenant with God (Deut. 11:8-32). What does God want from His people today? He wants holiness of heart and corresponding behavior. God was frustrated with Israel’s religious rituals that were not expressions of wholehearted devotedness. The prophets warned that if there was no change of heart there would be losses throughout the land. Have we fallen into serious moral and spiritual decline? The word of the Lord challenges us to be “willing and obedient” (vs. 19) and not “resist and rebel” (vs. 20). When the Holy Spirit addresses areas of compromise (or outright sin) and calls us to new levels of holiness, how will we respond? We must “wash and make ourselves clean.” Look into the mirror of God’s Word daily and choose to yield to His better way—a higher way, a blessed way of life.