I picked up my Bible this morning to read awhile. I wasn't looking for anything in particular; I just wanted to read. Isaiah was on my mind so I decided to start there. Isaiah is one of the big three: Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. Anyway, I began reading the first chapter. The first thing that stood out to me was "Learn to do well" in verse seventeen.
"Learn to do well" sounds like a command. But as I thought about it I realized there was something much more that God was saying. I had written on this chapter before, so I was well acquainted with it. The things God was saying through Isaiah to His people were very sobering. In verse two He said they had rebelled against Him. In verse three they didn't even measure up to the ox and ass. The ox knows his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel does not know, My people do not consider. I remember a similar illustration back when I lived in Texas. Across the road from my house was a large pasture. The owner, Jake, lived some miles away, but every day I could hear him coming down our lane in his pickup truck to feed those cattle. The cattle could hear him, too. Before he got there the cattle started lowing and moving to their feeding place. Just like the ox and the ass they knew their owner and the master's crib. But the Lord said, "My people do not know as much as the ox and ass." It is not much different today. Many Christians do not know their owner or the place where they should be fed.
In verse four He calls them a sinful nation that has forsaken the Lord. Then in verse ten He likens them to Sodom and Gomorrah. But in verses 12-15 Israel is still very religious. They are appearing at the court of the Lord, keeping the sabbaths, new moons, and feast days. To the average eye they would probably appear very well indeed. But the Lord sees right through their religiosity to their real heart. And when you spread forth your hands, I will hide Mine eyes from you: yea, when you make many prayers, I will not hear. Verse 15.
But with all their sinfulness God is not ready to give up on them. Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before Mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Verse 16-17. These are not commands as you might suppose. Actually, they are teachings. Have you ever had trouble making the Word work for you? The following will help you.
"Wash you, make you clean." Taking a bath with soap and water won't do this. It is not the outside that must be cleansed, but the inside. What is the real cleansing agent for the inside of a man? It is the Word! That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word. Ephesians 5:26. Does that mean that you should read the Scriptures and keep reading them until you become clean? No! That is not the answer. It is not what you do with the Scriptures that makes the difference. Look at Ephesians 5:26 again: That He might sanctify and cleanse. It is what the Lord does, not what we do. That doesn't mean that it is futile to study the Scriptures. Study them! But you will never be able to study them and then say, "Look what I accomplished!" There are theologians that have studied the Scriptures meticulously and have taught them in seminaries and have not accomplished that feat. The Lord is the Word! He is the Cleaner and the cleansing Agent. Only the Lord Jesus can cleanse you on the inside. Let Him wash you; let Him make you clean. If you can learn to do this, you are learning to do well!
Copyright © 2012 by Henry DuBose