We have begun reading the prophecy of ISAIAH this week – the strong words God had for His errant people during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, Kings of Judah.

Chapters 1&2 highlight the contrast between autonomy and trust in God,                                               judgement and mercy,                                                                                                                     disobedience and obedience,                                                                                                         evil and good.                                                                                                                                 The people of the remaining tribe of Judah (Israel having already been taken into captivity in Babylon), have trusted neighbouring countries for protection and have taken on their disgusting religious practices and the worship of idols, while still sacrificing and praying to the true God who had chosen and rescued them as a nation.  Chapter 1 outlines God’s abhorrence of pretence of faithfulness  (v11-15) but because of God’s character of love and mercy He offers forgiveness and reinstatement if they turn back in obedience (v16-19).  These verses are an overwhelming assurance of God’s grace.

HOWEVER the people were not to be complacent because God will not tolerate continued sin and chapter 2 pictures Isaiah looking forward to a coming time of pure worship of God, widespread blessing on the nations and peace between them.  He calls the people to ‘walk in the light of the Lord’  v 5. However he also predicts great judgement on these rebellious people (v 6-18) – self reliance, materialism, idolatry, and pride will be crushed under God’s judgement on ‘a day the Lord Almighty has in store ‘( v 12). When this punishment comes the people will hide in caves, they will experience God’s fury and will realise that rebellion against God is doomed and escape from God’s certain judgement is pathetic and useless.

These chapters are a powerful read!

COLOSSIANS  3-4:1 continues the same theme, probably more real for us than the Isaiah passage!     the purity of God.                                                                                                                         His hatred of sin.                                                                                                                             His amazing provision of forgiveness and restoration, this time through Jesus.                                     inherent disobedience of human beings to follow His ways.

We all got dressed this morning as we do each day, but do we deliberately PUT ON what God requires of us? v12. Today we are reminded again that these qualities do not come naturally but we can under God’s grace intentionally dress ourselves ie put on “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, bear with each other and forgive….. put on love’ (v12-14) each day.

God wants us to develop Christlike qualities and to encourage us there is a reminder of                     HOPE in v23 & 4.  But there is also another warning in v25 of God’s judgement ‘ Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for the wrong, and there is no favouritism.’ 

God is merciful almost beyond comprehension so let’s spur each other on to get dressed appropriately for our journey with Him and with each other.

Peter and Elizabeth