_“Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion and to the descendants of Jacob their sins."_ Isaiah 58:1c
Drumming home a problem creates the needed sense of awareness. In our text, the Lord instructed Isaiah to declare boldly, loudly and clearly to the people their rebellion and sins, because they didn't understand why God seemed so far off and their prayers were not answered despite all their religious rituals.
Like the Israelites, we have also resisted God's authority. We profess to be a Christian Nation, and have Churches in every corner, filled with people on both weekdays and weekends; Yet, we have rejected the statutes of the Lord. We can kill for money and power without flinching. We oppress the poor and the marginalised. Injustices, cheating with dishonest scales are the order of the day. We have become a people who seem eager to seek the Lord and have a form of Godliness, but do not glorify God. Romans 1:29 - 31 best describes the current state of our society, "They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy." Our faithfulness, like that of the Israelites, are fake and our worship are mere ritualized religiosity. We blatantly disobey and grieve the Holy Spirit.
We need to admit our rebellion, confess our sins(say exactly what we have done to God), and REPENT( turn from sin and ammend one's life). "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." (1John1:8-9)
Let us humbly RETURN to the Lord, our God with broken hearts, and penitence(sincerely be sorry for our sins). For He is gracious and compassionate,Slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness.
As we plead the blood of Jesus to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, and redeem us from sin and hell, let us commit to be obedient to God's word, sincere in worship and in love for one another. Let us ensure that, "justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!" Amos 5:24
WITH broken heart and contrite sigh, A trembling sinner, Lord, I cry; Thy pardoning grace is rich and free: O God, be merciful to me!
2: I smite upon my troubled breast With deep and conscious guilt oppressed; Christ and His cross my only plea: O God, be merciful to me!
3: Far off I stand with tearful eyes, Nor dare uplift them to the skies; But Thou dost all my anguish see; O God, be merciful to me!
4: Nor alms nor deeds that I have done, Can for a single sin atone: To Calvary alone I flee; O God, be merciful to me!
5: And when, redeemed from sin and hell, With all the ransomed throng I dwell, My ruptured song shall ever be: God, has been merciful to me!
Photo: courtesy, Dover's Garden.