The Prophet Addresses Rebellion Against God


I’m starting today with a study on the Prophet Isaiah—a man who “Saw the LORD.”

These are the visions that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. He saw these visions during the years when Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah were kings of Judah. Listen, O heavens! Pay attention, earth! This is what the Lord says: “The children I raised and cared for have rebelled against me. Even an ox knows its owner, and a donkey recognizes its master’s care— but Israel doesn’t know its master. My people don’t recognize my care for them (Isaiah 1:1-3 NLT).

All nature is invoked to hear Jehovah make complaint of the ingratitude of His People. The invocation is cast in the same form which is so common in Deuteronomy. Jehovah, through His Mouthpiece Isaiah, proclaims, “My people do not consider Me, do not reflect on My relation to them as LORD and Master.”

Oh, what a sinful nation they are— loaded down with a burden of guilt. They are evil people, corrupt children who have rejected the Lord. They have despised the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on him. Why do you continue to invite punishment? Must you rebel forever? Your head is injured, and your heart is sick. You are battered from head to foot— covered with bruises, welts, and infected wounds— without any soothing ointments or bandages. Your country lies in ruins, and your towns are burned. Foreigners plunder your fields before your eyes and destroy everything they see (Isaiah 1:4-7 NLT).

Holiness is the most essential element of God’s nature; hence, He is “the Holy One of Israel.” In their forsaking the LORD, Judah did not renounce His worship in totality but continued either in mere formality or in their own hybrid form of worship which included paganism.

Wherefore the LORD said, Forasmuch as this people draw near Me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor Me, but have removed their heart far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the precept of men (Isaiah 29:13 KJV).

Beautiful Jerusalem stands abandoned like a watchman’s shelter in a vineyard, like a lean-to in a cucumber field after the harvest, like a helpless city under siege. If the Lord of Heaven’s Armies had not spared a few of us, we would have been wiped out like Sodom, destroyed like Gomorrah (Isaiah 1:8-9 NLT).

There was in Israel a “remnant” which served the LORD. It was always small. The balance of Israel rebelled against the LORD.

Listen to the Lord, you leaders of “Sodom.” Listen to the law of our God, people of “Gomorrah.” 11 “What makes you think I want all your sacrifices?” says the Lord. “I am sick of your burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fattened cattle. I get no pleasure from the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. 12 When you come to worship me, who asked you to parade through my courts with all your ceremony? (Isaiah 1:10-12 NLT).

The LORD likens Israel to “Sodom and Gomorrah.” However, the people will respond to this Prophecy with an appeal to the fact that they maintain all the outward ordinances of religion as required by the Law, and are, therefore, blameless. But the fact was, their whole “worship” was an abomination to the LORD because it was polluted by rebellion and paganism. The very worship which God Himself had commanded was debased by them and had become a literal atrocity in the sight of a Holy God.

Stop bringing me your meaningless gifts; the incense of your offerings disgusts me! As for your celebrations of the new moon and the Sabbath and your special days for fasting— they are all sinful and false. I want no more of your pious meetings. 14 I hate your new moon celebrations and your annual festivals. They are a burden to me. I cannot stand them! (Isaiah 1:13-14 NLT).

The LORD was disgusted by and grieved with their loathsome, polluted form of worship, which they had formed out of the rebellious imaginations of their own heart.

When you lift up your hands in prayer, I will not look. Though you offer many prayers, I will not listen, for your hands are covered with the blood of innocent victims. 16 Wash yourselves and be clean! Get your sins out of my sight. Give up your evil ways. 17 Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows (Isaiah 1:15-17 NLT).

Defilement has always been felt by men wherever there has been any sense of sin. Only the Blood of Jesus Messiah, which was symbolized by the animal sacrifices, can take away sin. However, Israel did not trust in what the sacrifices represented. Instead, they trusted in their ceremonies.

“Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool. 19 If you will only obey me, you will have plenty to eat. 20 But if you turn away and refuse to listen, you will be devoured by the sword of your enemies. I, the Lord, have spoken!” (Isaiah 1:18-20 NLT).

When sin is described as “scarlet,” this is reference to blood-guiltiness. All sin is murder in some form, and hence, the blood-guiltiness. However, this Text also illustrates to us the eternal Truth that thought the weight of sin, deception, wickedness, and evil be great, there is Salvation in Jesus Messiah and Him Crucified.

See how Jerusalem, once so faithful, has become a prostitute. Once the home of justice and righteousness, she is now filled with murderers. 22 Once like pure silver, you have become like worthless slag. Once so pure, you are now like watered-down wine. 23 Your leaders are rebels, the companions of thieves. All of them love bribes and demand payoffs, but they refuse to defend the cause of orphans or fight for the rights of widows (Isaiah 1:21-23 NLT).

God’s Love perpetually appears throughout the Bible in indignant denunciations of injustice and hardness of heart toward the widow and fatherless.

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you (James 1:27 NLT).

Therefore, the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the Mighty One of Israel, says, “I will take revenge on my enemies and pay back my foes! 25 I will raise my fist against you. I will melt you down and skim off your slag. I will remove all your impurities. 26 Then I will give you good judges again and wise counselors like you used to have. Then Jerusalem will again be called the Home of Justice and the Faithful City” (Isaiah 1:24-26 NLT).

This speaks of a Day yet to come when Israel will be completely restored. It is the Promise of the Second Coming and the Kingdom Age.

“I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn (Zech 12:10 NASB).

Zion will be restored by justice; those who repent will be revived by righteousness. 28 But rebels and sinners will be completely destroyed, and those who desert the Lord will be consumed. 29 You will be ashamed of your idol worship in groves of sacred oaks. You will blush because you worshiped in gardens dedicated to idols. 30 You will be like a great tree with withered leaves, like a garden without water. 31 The strongest among you will disappear like straw; their evil deeds will be the spark that sets it on fire. They and their evil works will burn up together, and no one will be able to put out the fire (Isaiah 1:27-31 NLT).

Men are warned not to forsake Jehovah God for pagan idolatry.

The wicked will go down to the grave. This is the fate of all the nations who ignore God (Psalm 9:17 NLT).