Day 9 Isaiah 1:10-20
“There’s just no reasoning with him!” I have heard these words more than once in a counseling setting where, whether due to stubbornness or ignorance, one person does not seem willing or able to communicate. At least that is how the other person sees it. Sometimes the lack of communication is a two-way street with barricades blocking both pathways. The interesting thing is that God created all of us with the ability to think – to reason – and to communicate with others. In cases where someone is unable to do so, we call it a disability and try to develop non-conventional ways to connect.
Does it surprise you, then, that the same God who created us with these abilities would seek to communicate and reason with us? In the very first chapter of Isaiah’s prophecy, we find God calling out to His people and inviting them to “Come now, let us reason together” (Isaiah 1:18). In this passage, He does not appear like “the great and powerful Oz,” blowing smoke and intimidating the people into submission. Rather, He begins by simply stating what the people of Judah had done and become. It’s not a pretty picture as He describes how far they had wandered from God and His ways. You can hear the pain and frustration in the Lord’s words even as He tells them to “wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong, learn to do right!” (Isaiah 1:16 ~ NIV 1984). And then, after venting and saying what He wishes they would do, the Lord extends His invitation to them to come and talk things out – to reason together.
I consider myself a fairly reasonable person, but I also know that there have been times when I have wandered off the path of “reasonableness” and frustrated my Lord. I am fairly certain this is a common experience of most people. What happens when we do this? God does with us what He did with the people whom Isaiah was addressing. He invites us to come and reason together with Him. He reminds us of where we are, where we have been and where we could be. Be sure when reading this passage, however, that you don’t stop after verse 18 - “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” There is a conditional clause that follows with further description: “If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword” (vv. 19-20a).
This is reasonable. Again, God is not stating this as an ogre standing over us ready to clobber anyone who sins. He is telling us that there is cause and effect tied to our choices and behaviors. It is ingrained in creation. When we act in a righteous way – i.e., the way God ordained when all was created – things will go well as originally intended. However, when we stray from the Way and choose to act in kind with the fallen nature of this world, we can expect ultimately to receive the fruit of sinfulness, which is never good.
To reason with God does not mean that we try to persuade Him that our ways could be better than His. Why not? Because, with closer examination, our ways always prove to be inferior to the Lord’s. To come and reason together with the Lord means we come to see things as they truly are so that we can choose wisely.
Are there things with which you have been wrestling, not sure which way to turn? Have you tried to weigh the choices before you? Try coming to the Lord and talking it out. Reason together with Him. Talk to Him and listen for His answer. Consider His Word for guidance. God did create us with an intellect so that we might know Him and come to Him with every question of life.