Reading: ‘Come now, let us settle the matter,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.’ For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
See how the faithful city has become a prostitute! She once was full of justice; righteousness used to dwell in her – but now murderers! Your silver has become dross, your choice wine is diluted with water. Your rulers are rebels, partners with thieves; they all love bribes and chase after gifts. They do not defend the cause of the fatherless; the widow’s case does not come before them.
Therefore the Lord, the Lord Almighty, the Mighty One of Israel, declares: ‘Ah! I will vent my wrath on my foes and avenge myself on my enemies. I will turn my hand against you; I will thoroughly purge away your dross and remove all your impurities. I will restore your leaders as in days of old, your rulers as at the beginning. Afterwards you will be called the City of Righteousness, the Faithful City.’
Zion will be delivered with justice, her penitent ones with righteousness. But rebels and sinners will both be broken, and those who forsake the Lord will perish.
‘You will be ashamed because of the sacred oaks in which you have delighted; you will be disgraced because of the gardens that you have chosen. You will be like an oak with fading leaves, like a garden without water. The mighty man will become tinder and his work a spark; both will burn together, with no-one to quench the fire.’
Isaiah 1:18-31 (NIV)
Pray: Father, we praise you that in Christ you forgive us our sins and make us clean. We pray for those who have yet to settle the matter, that they may come to a saving knowledge of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen