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Lent 2017: You Are Mine: Day 3

Judah on Trial

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Today's Text: Isaiah 1:1-31, Isaiah 2:1-22, Psalm 68:16-18, Luke 24:44-49

Text: Isaiah 1:1-31, Isaiah 2:1-22, Psalm 68:16-18, Luke 24:44-49

Lent is shocking.

Lent reminds us that sin is real, and so is our need for cleansing.

The first two chapters of Isaiah are just as startling. They detail for us the often unwelcome truth of how God views sin and those who nurture sin.

The book of Isaiah is the word from God to the people of Israel through His prophet Isaiah around the 8th century B.C. The nation of Israel had developed a comfortable system with God that was becoming overtly transactional instead of relational. As long as we have goats on hand to sacrifice, we’ve got currency to trade with God for sins. It was like kids with spending money, only their goats were no longer good where they were shopping.

“‘What are all your sacrifices to Me?’ asks the Lord. ‘I have had enough of burnt offerings and rams and the fat of well-fed cattle; I have no desire for the blood of bulls, lambs, or male goats… Stop bringing useless offerings’” (Isaiah 1:11-13).

It’s shocking to hear the Lord of Hosts, who prescribed this stop-gap propitiation for sins in the first place, tell His people they’re missing the point at the cost of something so much greater than plump, blemish-free livestock. It’s startling because we prefer to think of God as endlessly patient, a giver of wide margins and benefits of the doubt. But this is not the picture painted in Isaiah 1:15: “When you lift up your hands in prayer, I will refuse to look at you; even if you offer countless prayers, I will not listen.”

I seriously challenge you to find that verse hand-lettered and framed in any home in your neighborhood.

Isaiah can be a tough book to read. So when I read passages like these today, I have a lot of questions, and I imagine you do too.

How does Old Testament prophecy work?
Are these just God’s words to Israel then, or are they also judgment on me now?
How should we read Old Testament prophecy nearly 3000 years after it was written?
And how can I keep this up for the next 46 days and 66 chapters?

I may not have perfect answers to all these questions, but here is what I know: the God of Israel who spoke through Isaiah then is the exact same God today. His character is unchanged. His tolerance for sin has not softened around the edges. And while His only begotten Son has since laid down His life as the ultimate, blemish-free sacrifice for our sins, it does nothing to diminish the directive in this three-word sentence: “Stop doing evil” (1:16).

Stop doing evil.

Don’t take a break from evil. Or fast from evil. Or be sure to clean up after yourself when you’re done.

Stop doing evil.

We read Old Testament prophecy to understand God’s character. We read His warnings to the people He loved who did not love Him back, and we heed those warnings. We come to understand what is important to God and make it important to us. We reject the myth of transactional faith, and enter into relationship with the Lord of Hosts. And when we repent, by the grace of God, we turn our backs on our sin completely. We don’t sin because we can, or because we expect God to relent at the sight of our “I’m sorry” bouquet. We stop doing evil. And we keep reading so that we can keep knowing Him more.

Lent is shocking. But it might be just the shock we need.

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  • Stop doing Evil says it all! This very well could have be written today! Relevant always!

  • Danielle

    “Stop doing evil”

    verse 22—“Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: For wherein is he to be accounted of?”

    The note in my study bible said this, “Stop putting your trust in man as your ultimate source of security.”

    This is a struggle of mine and has been my entire life. The Lord always comes at the right time. I really needed to hear this today.

  • Father show me where I’m comfortable with sin, show me my idols and show me where my repentance is not true

  • When I read the description of people worshiping idols I can’t shake this haunting feeling that the majority of the way we live today as Americans is exactly that… what I just read that our Heavenly Father does not want us to do, yet we have so many idols in our daily lives.

    • Becca

      I absolutely agree. We spend so much time praising celebrities.

      • Jackie

        I just started this. I have so much to overcome and need to stop sinning. Lord help me.

        • She Reads Truth

          Welcome, Jackie. So glad to have you with us. Praying for you.

          – Stormye

    • Carla

      I agonize over this very issue. I contrast the “must haves” that I see on many of the Home Remodeling shows with how our brothers and sisters in Christ live in countries where they are persecuted. I contrast the meaning of thanking God for “daily bread” in our country and that of other countries. My “good deeds” of sending used shoes to the “less fortunate” in other countries not realizing I just cost a native their dignity and job because they made shoes as their livelihood. Am I the “faithful city that has become a harlot?”

  • How could God’s people get so far away from their relationship with him and only go through the motions of transaction? Breaks my heart that God’s heart was so broken by his children.

    • Jackie

      I would say his heart is still broken. I mourn for this groaning earth. In Jesus name, help us please you Lord!!

  • It is shocking to hear these words come from God, but Israel had grown comfortable in their rituals and practices. They needed to be woken up. I’m glad it was pointed out that although this was written to warn a particular people many many years ago, that God who spoke those words is the same God of today. His character has not changed and the way he views sin has not changed. It will be a difficult journey but I’m looking forward to finishing this study.

  • Just might be the shock we need… Lenten

  • Don’t take a break from evil. Or fast from evil. Or be sure to clean up after yourself when you’re done.

    Stop doing evil.

  • Stop doing evil is so simple yet so profound.

  • Terri L Baker

    I wish when we accepted Jesus as our Savior He took our free will also so that my Love would only sinlessly grow without the chance of choosing sin, the wrong road,the wrong choice,but only HIS perfect will from the point of receiving HIM.Think of the endless repenting when we could be using that time in endless worship like we will in Heaven…

  • But we can’t stop doing evil…

    • Randi Schmid

      With the power of the Holy Spirit in us we can overcome evil. You’re right, not completely, not in this world. We are sinners in broken vessels/bodies. But we can take our thoughts captive and replace sinful thoughts with “whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy.” We can keep our tongue from evil and our lips from speaking lies, turn from evil and do good, seek peace and pursue it.
      Just because we DO sin is NOT a free-for-all saying we MUST sin!

  • I’m confused. I finally splurged and bought the book to use for this study. Day one and two have the added bible study commentary but so far 3-5 have nothing with them to help me understand how to apply and to go more in depth.
    I ended up buying the plan here on the app to try to catch up.
    I wish I had known that these weren’t included.
    Is this how all the books are?
    While I appreciate the art and recipes I am disappointed that I had to purchase the plan online as well to have a complete study.

    • Michelle

      I’m in the same point. I loved the commentary for the first two days but then nothing afterwards, I have to come to the website for it? I’m confused as to the purpose for the book then…

      • Erin

        Unless something has changed that I’m not aware of, that’s how all the books are. I bought the advent book for 2015 and was very disappointed and haven’t bought a book sense. I’d rather have the commentary than the Word because my entire point in buying the book was to put my phone down :/

  • Wow! This was eye opening. These chapters help keep in the forefront of my mind the question, “is my relationship with God transactional or relational?” I don’t want to condone my willful sin nature because I know that God is a forgiving God. I never want Him to turn His ear from me because my flesh wants to do what it wants. Lord help me to stop doing evil as your word admonishes is in Isaiah 1:16.

  • And not to mention the fact that on earth we idolize riches and other humans and ignore the one we should be idolizing which is God!! An eye opener for sure

    • Marie Tretiakova

      I was thinking this too – so much of TV idolizes people – so much of politics is putting faith in man to solve our problems. Part of decluttering should be taking a hard look at the idols we may have in our lives & get rid of them!

  • Reading this today gave me a new perspective… we often think by apologizing to God that we are automatically forgiven and the sin is forgotten about. But what we don’t realize is that when we repent, we are suppose to be turning our backs against that sin and striving to do much better. So many times have we taken God for granted thinking that he will always accept and hear our prayers when many times we aren’t truly repenting because we allow ourselves to continue living in the same sin we just repented for! This is an amazing lesson, one that I will read over again to truly understand Gods grace when we have true willingness to change

    • Jane

      Your words are so well written. And true. We do take God for granted and just believe no matter how many times we sin, we know he will always forgive us, always. But what do we do – sin again. So true.

  • Thoughts from Isaiah Chapter 1

    Isaiah was speaking to the Children of God. Calling them to repentance and back to a relationship with God their Father. They were completely and utterly sick but they didn’t know it.

    Why were the people of God so sick, bruised, raw and covered with wounds? They were influenced by outsiders instead of being the influencers. Instead of being proud of their Heavenly Father, they were ashamed and hid from Him. They became just like all of those who weren’t set apart to God. They allowed the god’s of this earth to woo them. Just like Adam and Eve, they were convinced God had been holding out on them and He was holding back true power, wealth and prosperity. They had come to think that they could live life without God and His protection. As far as the currency and health of this world is concerned, the foreigners in their land were doing well when they took what they wanted. With each step away from God, Satan slashed and bit their flesh.

    The crazy thing was they were ACTING like they were different and still going through the motions of worshipping the One True God. The God of their fathers. Weekly Sabbath, festivals, sacrifices and prayer services. They were hoping that they could serve other god’s but still get the provisions and protection of God their Creator.

    This turned God’s stomach. He became weary of them and hid His eyes and closed His ears. He did not acknowledge their prayers. Let that sink in.

    However, it doesn’t mean God would not be moved. But it would only be when it came from a genuine place. A heart willing to be broken…just like a heart broken by true love gone. One that longs for and searches for the other after they have vanished. God was asking them to just come looking for Him (Jeremiah 29 says that He will be found when done so with all the heart), to acknowledge their gaping wounds and filthy condition…to stop adding to their horrible state. When they are together and the true condition is acknowledged, He will wash them white as snow. He will tend to them…tenderly. They must be willing to STOP the evil and DO the good that is truly the righteousness of God.

    Yes. We are also sick and covered in ugly wounds. And we don’t even know it. We go through the day feeling the sickness in our souls… wounds gaping. We are so stubborn to even acknowledge our condition. OUR hands are full of blood. We do evil, but even more than that, we don’t do good. We don’t seek justice where there are those who need it. We don’t even choose to look at those who are oppressed, let alone correct the oppression. Do we see the orphaned and rush to give them what a true loving father would if they had one? Do we see the woman who has lost her provisions, rights and protection because her husband is gone?

    What are we doing Church? What am I doing?

    Know that our evil and lack of doing good has turned the Father’s eyes away from our Lenten activities…our morning devotional…our Wednesday night bible study and our Sunday morning assemblies.

    There is only one real answer.

    Let us be washed!!! Let God bring His conviction and wash us with the blood of His son, the Innocent Lamb. The only one who’s blood stains us white and cleanses us from the inside out. Allow His Spirit to teach us to do good; seek justice; correct the oppression and help the fatherless and widowed.

    “For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” Romans 3:22-26

  • I really love the cleansing part of Lent. Reading this study today has really shown me the “spring cleaning” I need to do in my own life and in my heart! It is not an easy task for sure, but I cannot wait to see what God does in my life when I really give him the innermost parts and watch Him purify me from the inside out.

  • Dana Moore

    Wow. This was good. I really need to examine myself for evidence of transactional faith. I can see seeds of that planted in me. I want it gone.

  • I couldn’t help but feel this could have been written about today’s world! So much brokenness and rebellion – including my own. His grace is truly amazing

  • To be honest, this is my first time reading Isaiah. I have read bits and pieces of it, sure. I have certain key verses highlighted, but I have never read the entire book front to back and really studied it. So I am very excited about this study and already learning a lot

  • Rebecca Ferrell

    I often find that God takes snippets of each scripture and forms the message he’s trying to relay to me. I am so bad to focus on what is needed of me and what is expected of me; whether it’s from my husband, my family, my church, my friends. I too often regard the needs, thoughts and opinions of human before I consider the thoughts of God. Today God spoke to me from Isaiah 2:22 and Luke 24:44-47. “Stop regarding man in whose nostrils is breath, for what account is he?…everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled… thus it is written that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead and THAT repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations.” I am his daughter and I should be about his work above anyone else’s because it is his opinion that matters most and it his will that carries eternal weight.

  • I feel slightly out of my element here…this was extremely difficult for me to read. Long and hard to interpret. I had to use my bible app to read it in a different version. I’m feeling discouraged that I didn’t quite get it.

    • Courtney Coker

      We are reading some pretty heavy stuff from Isaiah. I pray you stick with this Lenten series and allow God to help you understand.

    • Jane

      Psalm 27 ..Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart and Wait for the Lord
      We aren’t suppose to “get it” right away. God just wants us to wait for Him, trust
      Him, not our own “figuring it out”. God knows and let that be enough for today as you wait!

    • Mandi Barnard

      Oh Tammy! You are not alone! I studied the Bible in college. I’m a pastor’s wife. I teach bible classes. And that was STILL a lot and hard to get through! I think I’m going to have to read morning and night to really be able to meditate on it. Do not lose heart or think that you’re the only one struggling to get through it all. The more we read these hard words from Isaiah, the more fluid it will sound to our ears. Big hugs from me to you. Xoxoxo

    • Lindsey Smith

      Hi Tammy, I too found it difficult to read. When I went to settings, I found the default was set to ESV. I changed it to NIV which helped a lot and I’m thinking about reading it once in NIV and then once using The Message just so that I understand more fully what I am reading. I hope this helps you find the version best for you!

  • Convicting and thought provoking. “Stop doing evil…” really stood out to me along with the part about how God doesn’t want our offerings and earthly things, He wants us to trust in him completely and offer ourselves to Him and His kingdom and purpose.

  • I can’t highlight and mark as read. This frustrates me about this app and should be fixed.

    • Rachel

      You need to ‘bookmark’ whatever you highlighted and then Unhighlight it… annoying I know but it’s the only solution I’ve found.

  • Wow. Good stuff today

  • Hannah Carlson

    This is powerful and convicting scripture. I needed this awaking to my own sin and idols.

  • PronetoWander

    Wow this hits hard and I love it. Cease to do evil! I needed to be told this in a firm way. Sometimes I take advantage of God’s love and forgiveness. I may just need to hand paint some of these verses after all…

  • “Stop doing evil.

    Don’t take a break from evil. Or fast from evil. Or be sure to clean up after yourself when you’re done.

    Stop doing evil. ”

    Simple, but true.

  • Tough reading. Hard hitting message. God hates my sin, my disobedience, my carelessness. But praise God that He still loves me, Easter is coming…

  • “Stop bringing useless offerings.” Am I giving God my best?

  • Fern Boeing

    Wow. Tough love. Hard truth. Needed this reminder. Thank you!

  • God hates sin. He hates it. It’s hard to think of a
    God hating anything, but sin messed up his perfect Eden and hurts us-his children. I hate anything that hurts my children. But, as my good friend put it, Jesus keeps his Father’s anger at bay. And my love for God should keep my anger at bay, when I listen and let God be God.

  • Luke 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,
    I am thankful for that passage from Luke because I struggle with understanding what things mean. I am so very thankful to be here and share and gain new perspectives on these Bible passages.

  • While I was reading over today’s section, it reinforced the idea that a relationship with God should not be treated as a habit. A relationship with God requires authenticity, intention, and transparency. Growing up in the church, I put a lot of stock in the habit or ritual of going to church, praying every day, and going through the motions. But never put much more thought into it, I just saw it as something I had to do each day or week. Same as how the people in Isaiah were bringing “useless offerings”. But lately I’ve learned that it is so more than that. It is a relationship that involved work, growth, and effort. And by no means am I criticizing habits, I think habits can be beneficial. But it all goes back to your intention behind doing them. I’m so grateful for this Lenten study and community of women who are doing it together!

  • Thank you for explaining why we read Old Testament prophecies! I often wondering about that. I too worry I won’t keep up but I sure want to try. Your words help me make sense of challenging scripture! ❤

  • morningdove

    i know one area God really wants me to pray for – Supreme Court Justices. i love isaiah 1:26 i will restore your judges to what they once were, and your advisers to their former state. Afterward you will be called the Righteous City, A Faithful City.” i am always amazed at the scriptures God gives to each of us personally.

  • Love this!! Repent and Stop doing evil. That’s the message the church is afraid to preach today because it doesn’t fill the pews.

  • Mary Joseph

    I don’t “think of God as endlessly patient, a giver of wide margins and benefits of the doubt.”
    I see God as hard to please. A listener, but not a talker. Frustrated with my sin, and I need to work to earn His forgiveness.
    Neither of these are true. He’s not all patient, and He’s not hard to please. I loved how God’s anger and dismay over sin was so strong in these chapters, and yet, he follows it up with instruction on how to live right, and an invitation to “Come.”
    Thank you Jesus, that You are just and righteous. That You will listen to me and speak to me as well. Help us to see You for who You are, and to know Your heart. Amen.

    • Amy

      Yes!

    • Erin

      God also says in these verses, “”Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord : though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.”
      Isaiah 1:18 ESV.
      Come let us reason TOGETHER. He’s not endlessly patient with our sins, but He is in this with us. Through His leading by the Spirit we can repent and learn to walk in righteousness. Here, in the Old Testament, we are reminded that we are doing this with his help. That we’re together.

  • I’m reasonably new to SRT (my friend got me onto Hymns V a while ago now) and am loving the vulnerability shared among likeminded women. Thank you for your thoughts. I’m trying to get myself back to the point where God is my everything…not that I’ve let go completely but more that I feel I haven’t been putting the effort in that God deserves. I know for me one of my weaknesses is self control and it effects all areas of my life – with not having the last piece of cake, spending money, exercising even when I don’t feel like it and first and foremost making time for prayer and reflection, even when my schedule is full.
    Another book I’ve been reading relates to Isaiah and so I’m glad to be delving in deeper during this Lenten Season.
    I love the beginning of one of the prayers from our faith: ‘Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.’

    • Corrie Mae

      I also struggle with self control in each of the areas you mentioned, but my prayer is that this Lent series will keep us both on track. I am relatively new to SRT and absolutely stoked to have found this community and such excellent materials to dig into the Word. I’m excited to stick to something (for once!) and to make my relationship with God an indispensable part of my daily routine. Cheers!

    • SuzD

      You could be writing about me. Blessings to you.

  • MamaCrazy

    “Sin is ugly. It should be killed daily. I die every day, because Jesus said “Take up your cross daily” And crosses are for dying.” -John Piper

  • I’m thrilled we are diving into Isaiah. I’ve been attempting to get through this book for awhile now, as I feel like God is calling me to it over and over, and I always end up frustrated and confused. I stumbled upon this study today, decided to give it a go, and laughed when I realized the focus is Isaiah! Awesome!

    Today it hit home for me that it is not just about avoiding sin, but actively seeking good things. As a stay at home mom, it’s easy to get into a mundane routine, but I want to challenge myself this Lent season to find ways to focus better on God and share it with not only my kids, but others in the community.

  • johanna tropiano

    It’s really two parts. Stop doing evil and then “learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression, bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.” This morning, I’m reminded that stopping evil is not enough. We must pursue justice and fight for those who are oppressed. This Lent, I’m asking myself, how does my life and calling reflect the words of Isaiah 1:17?

    • Audrey

      There is something my pastor said recently that really stuck with me…we were talking about how so often as humans we try to will ourselves to stop sinning. We think we have to focus on the don’ts, but in the end we just create a list of rules that are impossible to follow and then we get mad when we fail to stop doing evil. But he mentions how every time in Scripture God says “don’t do this”, He also says “but do this”…If we focus on the “do” (seek justice, encourage the oppressed etc…) we will automatically stop doing the “don’t” (evil). We only have to worry about one list – the do! How incredibly freeing is that!

    • Allison

      Wow…. so true. If you’re busy doing all good things there is no time for the bad to ever slip in. Thanks know you for sharing!

  • Wow, this was so challenging but so needed today. It’s my first time observing lent and I’d be interested to hear what everyone is giving up or adding in to better focus on God in this season!

    I’ve decided to not add in or give up anything, but spend forty days of focus on God and words. Anyone else decide to something a little less traditional? Thankful for this space!
    https://unmentionablesblog.wordpress.com/2017/03/01/lent-the-forty-days-of-focus-challenge/

    • Alecia Huval

      I’m also new to observing Lent! I think focusing on God’s Word is just enough, but I decided to let these 40 days break me of really bad habits. I’m cutting out alcohol and excessive TV and adding in yoga and reading.

      • Allison

        I’m a cradle Catholic and have always observed Lent. Most years it’s always the same..giving up sweets, pop, candy etc. But this year I wanted it to be more about actually deeping my relationship with God. So, this year I’m committing to this study as well as not listening to any secular music and focusing only on Christian/praise music or Catholic radio.

        • Jacquie

          I’m in the same boat! And I love that you’re focusing only on Christian/praise music.. I listen to that music frequently but also listen to more “mainstream” stuff. But there’s so much more positivity and compassion and truth in Christian music. I love that you’re injecting more of that into your life, which will surely help to nourish your relationship with God. Taking a page out of your book :)

      • Olivia

        Oh man, that’s so smart to not only take out but also add in something to replace it! I need to remember to do that with my excessive social media habits!

    • Shannon

      I’ve deleted Facebook off my phone as my “cutting out” as I see it as a problem for me. And I’m committing to this devotional daily, and really trying to align my heart with God’s this season.

  • My mom and I were talking the other day about the Old vs. New Testaments. Even though God in the Old Testament seems harsh to some, Israel had its chances over and over and over again. His patience with them was actually pretty impressive, but their desire for sin was even more. Even though I know I sin daily–I would be out of goats by now!–I am thankful for His grace and will try do better tomorrow.

  • Kimberly Patterson

    This is what I wrote in my work book. “We are still wicked people, set in our ways and so very lost without the presence of God. God is missing in society. We, as a people, are like Israel – we complain about what we don’t have but turn our backs against the ONE who can provide it. We need God. In everything we do. We need His grace, His love and His good works in our lives. God gave us an out – salvation from eternal death and separation from Him, a way to turn our backs away from God and toward sin. Thank you Lord for bringing Heaven down to us with Jesus. Thank you for loving us enough to make the biggest sacrifice of all – like a lamb to the slaughter. You don’t need us Lord, but we need You. Help us to turn to You, to seek You in every part of our lives.”

  • Tara Parker-Ceballos

    Though the Lord God is speaking His pending wrath to Israel…right in the middle of His words…He says…”clean yourself up…get rid of the evil and corruption and disobedience…and come on over here with Me…let’s reason together…yes Your sins are as scarlet…but”

  • I LOVED this one. Thanks for the encouragement :)

  • Wow. It amazes me that because of Jesus the perfect lamb, God only wants our hearts. And if we have truly given Him that. . He gives us the grace to “stop doing evil” He writes it there in the soft parts of our hearts. And yes I would like to add, sometimes a heart needs to be shocked either to start or to maintain a rhythm. So thankful to Jesus our only physician. Create in me a clean heart Oh God.

    • Stormye Puffer

      Beautiful thoughts! Thank you for sharing! We’re grateful for you.

  • Wow. Talk about conviction this morning. God doesn’t want our excuses and apologies. He just wants us to be genuine and “stop doing evil.” I am excited to continue with this study to see what else God has for me during this lent season. My eyes are being opened more and more. Thank you Jesus for your convictions this morning.

  • Reading Isaiah 1 & 2 this morning reminded me of our God’s undeniable Holiness and the extreme importance of it’s inclusion in our view of Him. He cannot be anywhere near sinfulness and evil, much less unified to it. By our own righteousness, God can be no where near us because we have none. We have not an ounce of righteousness on our own, yet we are in complete desperation of the salvation the Perfect righteous one offers. The only mending we have to God from this broken relationship is by this sacrifice that Isaiah prophesies about. Let us not forget that it is RIGHT for God to judge us for our sin. It is right that we should be damned to hell for all eternity. It is right to have this Holy and fearful view of God in all His majesty and splendor. If you pay attention towards the end of Isaiah 2, once the people of Judah got a full and correct view of God’s holiness unhidden and as it is in reality, Isaiah tells us that the people will 1. throw out their idols they made for worship and 2. disown trust in man. When we have a right view of God’s Holiness, we will be desperate to throw out these things that promise life but only lead to sin. This tells me that God’s Holiness is not to be taken for granted or overlooked in a day-to-day relationship with Him. Because God’s Holiness DESIRES for the people of Judah to accept righteousness. God’s Holiness possesses perfect justice and only good intentions for us. Never evil. God’s holiness leads us to our need for Him and thats exactly the place we want to be.

  • Oh Lord God, humble us in repentence. Open our minds to understand what you are saying to us.

  • Elizabeth

    This was very shocking for me. I think that, too often, I try to bring God down to my level. I view Him as being my best friend who goes to the mall with me. I picture Him as being okay with everything – I’ll just say I’m sorry later. Really, this is not true and I’m really working on that now.

    • Sarah D.

      Wow, so true. He is with us even behind our closed doors. He sees it all, and he still loves us.

  • Alanna Davis

    A slightly terrifying reminder that sin is EVIL and God is GOOD – all the time, not just when it suits me or my needs. Thank you for this convicting post this morning as we start this Lenten journey – I want God’s Word to keep convicting me, to continue to show me God’s grace and love even as I struggle to do the same for others. Dear Lord, please give me the strength to do good, to show your love (even if it is in the form of showing my or their sins) to others and to spread your grace and truth to all whom I meet. Amen.

  • Teri Lynne Underwood

    Our lesson in small group this week was from Malachi … this same reminder of how seriously God takes our worship. When we come before Him, our hearts must be humble and fully aware of our sinfulness. But not because He wants to beat us down but rather, through His lavish love and mercy, to lift us up. But this can only happen when we first recognize that He is the holy Judge. Personal humility can only grow as we grasp the powerful holiness of God.

  • I’m impacted today by the knowledge of how God sees my sin. My sin is not a “weakness.” It is not a normal and acceptable response. My sin is EVIL. It is an affront to the holiness of God. If I love Him, I will obey His command to cease from doing evil. “Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double-minded.” (James 4:8). As much as I rejoice in the fact that my salvation does not depend on me, but on Christ and His work, I should not ignore my responsibility to honor Him by turning away from my sin.

  • Also, if you could all please pray for me, been sick with dizziness the past week. My mom is wanting to go back to a specialist doctor again, which I don’t want to do. Its my fault really, cause I’m supposed to be doing my vestibular/physical therapy excersises, which my mom angrily pointed out to me. Guess I’m just going to have to start those up again, everyday, to see if they help, which I think they do. Its hard to keep up with them, with school and everything. I just don’t want to see any more doctors, I have seen dozens already!!! And we have gotten out any and every idea that the doctors have recommended ! Guess I have to keep trusting in Jesus and start working with the information I’ve already been given and do the physical therapy. Prayers appreciated.

    • Stormye Puffer

      Praying for you, Sarah. Asking the Lord to give you strength and perseverance and healing!

  • I’ve got to be honest – was fully hoping the graphic at the bottom would be Isaiah 1:15.

  • I love how after the passage says to cease doing evil, it tells us to learn to do good. We are always striving for something. God doesn’t just tell us to stop one behavior. He gives another to take up. The verse is also clear–learn to do good. He knows it isn’t something that comes naturally to us. I’m thankful God works in my work-in-progress state and gives me something to run to, not just flee from. Looking forward to this study and what He wants to teach me.

    • Stormye Puffer

      Anna, thank you for your beautiful insight on this! Grateful to have you in our community.

  • I love seeing the interplay between God’s wrath and God’s grace in Isaiah. While the punishment for sin can be so painful, shameful, and hard to endure, I love that He humbles us not just for punishments’ sake, but with the ultimate goal of drawing us back to Himself. I am praying that I will begin to see these moments of conviction and the stripping of pride as opportunities to know Him better.

  • Also, if you could all please pray for me, been sick with dizziness the past week. My mom is wanting to go back to a specialist doctor again, which I don’t want to do. Its my fault really, cause I’m supposed to be doing my vestibular/physical therapy excersises, which my mom angrily pointed out to me. Guess I’m just going to have to start those up again, everyday, to see if they help, which I think they do. Its hard to keep up with them, with school and everything. I just don’t want to see any more doctors, I have seen dozens already!!! And we sweezed out any and every idea that the doctors have recommended ! Guess I have to keep trusting in Jesus and start working with the information I’ve already been given and do the physical therapy. Prayers appreciated.

  • Did anyone else attend Ash Wednesday service this morning? I left feeling so ready to acknowledge my sin and ask God to show me my sin so that I can be aware of it. I am wearing the ash on my forehead and have to admit my slight sense of discomfort in doing so, as I worry what others will think. There is almost no one else faithful in my work place, and so I feel extremely public in my declaration of being a Christ follower today. However, I know that it what Ash Wednesday celebrates, in part, and the end of Isaiah 2 struck a chord with me since it says “stop regarding man”. I am wearing the ashes in the form of a cross proudly today despite what people may think, and only for God.

    • Sharon

      Love this, and praying for your stand today, Dori, that someone will ask you about your “ashes” and you can share the liberating truth of Jesus’s sacrifice and complete healing of sins.

  • Coupling this with an Old Testament study really brings Gods words through Isaiah to life – what an awesome devotional today!! He is so desperate for us – this Lenten season I hope to heed his warnings and turn from the habitual sins in my life! Thank you SRT :)

  • Hey all with the study book, how do you use it? I’ve had study books before, I just want to see if I can open my actual Bible, but still use the study book (cause if I only read my Bible, I feel like I’d be wasting the book). I’ve written prayers in the study book too, so there’s that.

    • Barb

      Great question! I’ve been wondering the same thing. :-)

    • Heidi

      I read my Study Guide first. Then the devotional and open my Bible and read the passages again. I’m someone who needs a little direction on what to look for. I need background and context or I’m just wandering. So having this when I read and mark up my own Bible helps. I like marking in my Bible to show myself -“hey, you’ve read this before. Remember when you learned this.” I, like you, use the Guide for my written prayers.

      • morningdove

        i circle verbs that speak action to me, underline phrases that God impresses on me, i am a note taker so use margins to reiterate a scripture or put in my own words. like doodling/art in margin too. i enjoy reading the comments here.

    • Mary

      Hi! I had the same questions when I first started using the SRT studies! When I purchase a study book, I typically read the scriptures first in my Bible, then read them in the book, so I can write all over it as things begin to pop out at me. I’ll look at the app and read again if I have time. If not, I’ll move to the devotional that goes along w the verses, make notes again as i read, then move in to a time of reflection and prayer. These studies have changed my daily devotional life and time with the Lord. I have found that I am much more disciplined when I have some direction. Hope this helps!

  • Amber Galleguillos

    I want to say thank you. I am new to this site, and was not sure what to expect, I can already feel the truth of Gods word working with the Holy Spirit. I need this.

  • This isn’t specific to today’s study…but I need all the spiritual support I can get today. I have an important meeting with my husband today. Would you please pray that my communication could be clear and precise and that both my husband and the counselor will hear what I am saying. Thank you sisters! Praise God no matter the outcome.

    • Amber Galleguillos

      I will be praying for you, and your time with your husband.

    • Stormye Puffer

      Andee – Definitely praying for you this morning! Asking the Lord to intercede and provide clarity for you both. Thank you for letting us know how to pray for you!

    • Connor Stephens

      Prayers with you!

    • Deanna

      Just prayed for you and that God will give you the words to provide clarity.

    • Brenda

      Prayers going out to you today.

  • This is my first year really “celebrating ” lent… growing up my parents tended to ignore lent as it was a ” catholic ” thing not a thing for born again believers. This year I’ve decided to follow along in study and also I’m doing the bagged items challenge- for everyday of lent, you fill a bag ( any size) to give away or throw away … almost as if you’re clearing your life from sin .

  • I was struck by the beauty and rawness of the following passages. I pray through this Lenten study I can focus on becoming more obedient and willing because of my love and relationship with God vs being obedient and willing to get my “prayer list” answered. God states He will bless us and make us as the snow; however He is also starkly clear on his hated of sin, rebelling and resistance.
    18 “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.
    19 If you are willing and obedient,
    you will eat the good things of the land;
    20 but if you resist and rebel,
    you will be devoured by the sword.”
    For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

  • Beautiful. A revelation I wish so many actually believed — that God is the exact same today as he was then… So thankful that he is forever unchanged!

    http://www.in-due-time.com

  • Laura Payne

    I love the phrase in 1:18 where God says “Come, let us discuss this [situation of sin separating Him and His people]”. It’s clear over these two chapters that God is desperate. He’s trying everything to convince His people to repent, from two-way discussion and loving communication to destroying their nation and eradicating the evil in very aggressive ways. But ultimately He longs for them to be with Him in peace and harmony! How much simpler must our lives become if we surrender to His will and walk in His ways! Thank you for sharing these thoughts to focus our hearts on what He wants for us.

  • Michelle rene Cole

    Thank you SRT for doing Lent again this year . I received my book and I’m excited to get started .
    I work in show business (35 years ) and there is a lot of gossiping and I have to learn to walk away from these circles and not engage in it . I have to clear my heart too . But most importantly I want to know the Christ that gave His life for our sins . As we all enter into Lent Season I hope you know how much God so loves you .

  • I was struck with the last verse of Isaiah chapter 2: stop regarding man. I struggle so much with seeking others’ approval more than God’s approval and this verse hit me squarely between the eyes. While we are called to stop doing evil , I need to focus on who I am seeking approval from since this is another form of evil and idolatry.

    • Joy

      This struck me today as well Ginger

    • Christina D.

      Ginger and Joy I am right there with you. Seeking others’ approval is something the Lord showed me I was doing probably 4 years ago and it is still something I wrestle with regularly. Love the simplicity and straightforward words of that verse which is exactly what I need to write on my mind and in my heart.

  • Diane Huntsman

    Sin.. the seemingly unpopular subject in church today.. it’s either treated as a normal part of who we are, or just not the hot topic from the pulpit at all.. our reading doesn’t pass over the subject though.. God hates sin. Sin is often what we do. We need to repent and turn away from sin. Our own sin needs to be dealt with.. not a family members.. not a friend.. our very own.. we often focus on the sin of others attempting to make ourselves feel better about us.. God is calling us to face our own sin and deal with it.. hate it and turn away from it.. my sin of pride, discontentment, judgements, jealousies, withholding forgiveness just to name a few, need to be admitted, confessed, and respected of.. I need help with repenting.. I can’t even truly repent without Gods strength because sin is hard to turn away from.. so today i ask for Gods strength to honestly repent and I ask for His strength to help you repent.. God that we would no longer be comfortable with our sin, that we would no longer justify it or excuse it but that we would loathe it and turn away from it.. Jesus may we not attempt to take advantage of grace.. may we see the price You paid on Calvary and take seriously the need to rid our hearts of the sin that nailed You to that tree. In the life giving name of Jesus I pray.. amen

  • i just started reading she reads truth and have decided to give up makeup and social media for lent. it will be extremely hard but i’ve wanted to for years.

    • Stormye Puffer

      Kelsey, welcome to the SRT community! We are so glad to have you reading along with us in the Lenten season.

  • Audrey’s comment about approaching God transactionally using the grace card really resonated with me! I’m afraid I do that too often myself. Another thought I had this morning as I was reading these insightful comments is that when we speak of society and its state we need to remember we are part of that society. Therefore we need to be all the more diligent to make sure we are not letting ourselves be conformed to it!

    • Stormye Puffer

      Melody – I completely agree! I think we sometimes forget that we are in a relationship with God and that it isn’t completely transactional. I loved Raechel’s reminder of that today.

  • rebecca7395

    Reading the words in Isaiah this morning, I too was struck by how closely our nation and society resemble the people of Judah…how closely I resemble them. How easy to be so caught up in living my every day life that I explain away or even don’t notice my sin. Justify it, or blame it on someone else. How often do I actually stop and confess my sins to God? More importantly, how often do I truly repent? I’ve told my children numerous times when they squabble and hurt one another that saying “Sorry” isn’t enough, they have to stop doing what hurts the other. Yet do I model that in my walk with God? Reading the verses about God’s hatred for their sin offerings, I kept hearing the words white-washed sepulchres. Painted pretty on the outside yet rotten to the core. Lord, may I stop taking Your love and forgiveness for granted. Help me to be relational, if not for my own sake, then for the sake of my children. Take me out of my smugness and convince me of my need to truly repent.

    • Katalina

      Amen Rebecca, I completely agree with you. This is one of those “actions speak louder than words” moments <3

      • Emily

        Wow Rebecca, thank you for you perspective. I to have said the same things to my children yet I can not say that I have been a grate model. Your prayer is my prayer also. Amen

    • Joy

      Amen

    • Stormye Puffer

      Rebecca – such true words and a solid reminder for us! It really hit me in Isaiah 1:13 when the Lord said “Stop bringing useless offerings to me” – ouch. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this! We so value you!

  • This is one of the reasons I love the church calendar, particularly the seasons of advent and lent. During Lent we are reminded of our sinfulness and great need for a savior and God answers those cries with Easter, making it all the sweeter. Thanks, SRT, for leading us through some tough passages this Lenten season.

    • Stormye Puffer

      Meg, we are grateful to study alongside you! It is the Lord’s kindness that leads us to repentance and I think that is all the more clear in these seasons.

  • I have always found the old testament hard to understand and I am enjoying everyones comments and thoughts. Its clear that we each see what God wants each of us to hear and I believe that he clearly spoke to me through his word this morning. What an awesome & patient Lord God we serve!

  • This verse below stuck out to me in the readings. I find it hard being humble, but I must do it. God alone deserves the glory.

    Isaiah 2:11 “The haughty looks of man shall be brought low,
    and the lofty pride of men shall be humbled,
    and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.”

    May today God I choose to be humble, with my body language towards others. Help me learn to choose you first, but also others more than myself.

    • Chris N.

      Kersti, this is the verse that stood out to me too. I need to let go of my pride and learn to walk in humbleness. Your prayer resonates with my heart.

  • As I pondered these passages, I remembered with a chuckle the last-ditch defense I occasionally pulled out when I was a child: “But I didn’t *try* to do it!” And my parents would sternly reply: “You didn’t try *not* to.” The truth of their words, and the feebleness of my defense, still stings me a little. Perhaps that’s a bit of what is going on in Isaiah 1. Perhaps God grows weary of us mindlessly sinning. Even though in our weakness and stumbling, he offers us grace, when we don’t try to follow his commandments, and when we don’t face our failures with honest regret, his anger is well earned.

  • Your thoughts on Israel’s system with God becoming transactional rather than relational really struck me. How many times are my devotions, study time, church attendance, prayer, etc. more of a check-off-my-list transaction rather than a seeking-after-because-I-love-and-want-to-serve-Him relationship. My prayer is that these areas will be a way to grow my relationship with Jesus and not turn into a check-off on my list of to-dos. Thank you for your thoughts on this.

    • Kersti

      That totally hit me too! It’s incredible how quickly we can just go through the motions instead of relishing in who God is.
      May you and I both grow in awe of God and humbleness this lent season ❤️

    • Stormye Puffer

      Pam, so glad that this stuck out to you – it really hit me, too! I wonder how different our walk with the Lord would be if it was all based on a relational desire to love and serve Him. Grateful for your words today!

  • Stop doing evil. Even reading that, my heart feels the weight of Romans 7. I so badly want to stop doing evil but every time I turn around I find myself yelling at my kids again or doing an outwardly charitable action that is dirtied with my own self-interest.
    I’m thankful for this time of intentional breaking off of sin and the things that hinder us from following the Lord.

  • Reading Isaiah 1 and 2 this morning was a good reminder that sin in no light matter. It is easy to forget that God really does hate sin when we are told all the time that God’s grace is greater. And thank God it is! But I think we lose the importance of constant surrender and repentance when we just use God’s grace transactionally. In Isaiah chapter 1, up until verse 18, God speaks about the murder, useless offerings, desolation, and blood stained hands of the nation. After all of that God says, “Come, let us discuss this.” Mercy. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they will be as white as snow.” Hope. I praise God this morning that He is willing to bring sin to light and to discuss it, and He wants to help us. He is not a distant, transactional higher being, He is the Lord who desires a close relationship – even unto the death of His son.
    “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” Psalm 40:1-2

    • Ronda

      “I praise God this morning that He is willing to bring sin to light and to discuss it, and He wants to help us”
      Love this!!!

  • Jenny Barker

    “Stop doing evil.”

    I love God’s straight-forward, tell-it-like-it-is, direct and clear instruction. There’s no mincing of words, no cutting around corners… just plain, simple, cold, hard truth from the One who knows us fully and best and knows what is good for us, the greatest parent ever known.

  • As I read the verses this morning, they struck fearfully close to home. Looking around our country — we seem awfully close to Judah of old.

    Stop Doing Evil.
    Learn to do what is good.
    Seek justice.
    Correct the oppressor.
    Defend the rights of the fatherless.
    Plead the widow’s cause.

    These are the lines that stood out to me the most. They give me hope. Think about the blessing that would come, if we all did those things. If, as a nation, we did these things. There is hope.

    • Susan Lindquist

      I, too, thought of the current state of society. The same lines made me shiver. Isaiah is starting like a cold slap and a sharp rebuke.

  • Cassie Kendall

    May we all realize the weight of the choices we make. A gossipy word here or there, an unkind thought or attitude, it may not seem like much. “No one heard it,” we might think. It didn’t matter. But it does. Praying that all of us sisters seriously examine our thoughts and attitudes over this Lenten season. We can’t let ourselves be tricked into thinking sin doesn’t matter. May God pull us all closer to Him and to our fellow believers over these next few weeks!

    • Kelsey

      The best thing I heard recently was about those sins of gossip or unkind thoughts/attitudes or even just the foul word spit out or said under our breath when you stub your toe is to instead learn to pray in those moments. Pray for the person who is the topic of the gossip, who crosses your path and makes you angry, or any moment where sin would be our normal “habit”. I am wanting to really work on that this season.

  • ….”becoming overtly transactional instead of relational”…….”as long as we gave goats on hand to sacrifice, we’ve got currency to trade with God for our sins.”
    What a powerful statement of how far a nation had sunk to live this way! I’m afraid that this is still in our modern age an adage that IS hand lettered and framed in our halls and meeting places. God forgive us! Thank you for words of truth that are indeed shocking but thanks to the mercy and grace of God, there is a remedy in Christ Jesus.

    • Cassie Kendall

      I totally agree, this really stuck out to me too! I feel like this is one of the prevailing attitudes about God we see today. We focus on how God is gracious and think that means we can get away with anything. But our relationship with God transforms us to become more like Him. We can’t let sin fester in our lives! It will just pull us further away from Him. Definitely a challenging scripture.

  • Living the Christian life is not easy. God knows this and He knows we could never measure up to what His Son was and is. We could never be perfect. When people read passages like these and start to worry and question… I tend to stay calm and think of God acting as a Father that… He really is anyway. He has given us what we need to live the life He wants. Why would He not become frustrated when His people, especially those who know and believe in Him, rebel and start to turn against Him, worshipping idols, voluntarily committing sin, disposing of Him because Earthly things are “better.” I would be worried if He didn’t react. He cares for us and remember that He is a Jealous God, a Jealous Father. I can never be perfect like Jesus… but I don’t feel that pressure or expectation when I read passages like this because the relationship I have with God is something so special. I make mistakes and what God wants is for me to let the Holy Spirit guide me in everything that I do, to allow it to consume me when I’m close to sinning so I’ll refuse. For me, I think the most important advice I can leave my SRT sisters with is that relationship with God. Create and build that relationship with Him and just tweak the idea of the Almighty Powerful God to also be looked at as a Father who just wants His best for His daughter, except this Father really truly knows what’s best. What do you expect a concerned Father to do when He see’s His children heading down the wrong path when the right one is clearly marked (even with its obstacles)? I may have questions, I may be a sinner but I don’t doubt my God and His love for me or for any of you.

    • Tiffany

      WOW!!! Such amazing insight!!! Thank you for that. I completely agree with you. Our Father knows us. He knows our hearts and knows we’re struggling with sin; but I believe there is hope and encouragement in that…that we ARE struggling against it while trying to follow His way.

    • Stormye Puffer

      Katalina, thank you for the encouraging words! We’re grateful to have you as a part of our community!

  • It’s so easy to focus on God’s grace and forgiveness and to forget that sin still comes with a cost. In these passages we are reminded that restoration is not an easy process. True repentance takes work and can be difficult. Seeing this more fierce side of God makes his grace all the more amazing.

  • “I have had enough of burnt offerings…” These verses spoke to me. God was reprimanding them for the very things he had instructed them to do because of the condition of their hearts! Could he possibly be saying to me today -I’ve had enough of your worship music and church going-stop doing evil? Very sobering thoughts.

    • CM

      I might be wrong, but to me his anger was directed at how they had turned sacrifice into the heart of their worship, and it was insincere, like checking a box. I’m sure our worship could be the same if we’re not careful. But yes, sobering!

    • Elle

      I’m not Catholic, but this feels a lot like the point the pope was making recently about it being better to be an atheist than to just go through the motions of being Christian without actually caring about other people and stopping your own evil deeds. I’m a firm believer in grace and faith alone, but it’s clear that just going through the motions isn’t enough.

  • Is anyone else using the book?? I’m super confused as all that is written is the scripture, but not the commentary part of the blog?? The first two days had the extra reading from the ladies at SRT, but not from here on out??

  • In a day and age where tolerance is promoted for every sin under the sun (let’s call it what it so often is), this was so good to read. Thank you Rachael Meyers.

  • As I was reading Isaiah 1:15, when God tells them, “I will not listen.” That made think about how many times I keep on sinning again and again. It also made me stop and think am I just like them thinking that it’s ok because all I have to do is ask for forgiveness? I need to focus on not committing the sin so I won’t have to ask for forgiveness. I’m a school teacher. I tell my students all the time, “when you say you are sorry, it means you are promising to try really hard not to do it again.” I need to start doing that when I ask for forgiveness. I need to promise to try really hard to not do it again.

  • Brokenness. Mercy. Obedience. These are the words that reverberate in me this morning. I love how God’s message weaves through every area of life because truthfully these are the words that He has been planting in me since January 1st! As I read Isaiah 1 & 2 this morning I was grieved by the magnitude of my sin, and convicted of all the times when I have approached God as a transaction using the grace card with such irreverence. It is only in recognizing just how deeply broken and sinful I am that I can see the mercy and love of God in His words. How merciful He is to call us to turn from our sin and to walk in His light. How merciful He is to save a remnant when all deserved death. How merciful He is to say your silver is dross, but I will remove your impurities and restore you. If we don’t see our brokenness then Isaiah feels cold and sharp. But when we see the utter filth of ourselves Isaiah feels hopeful because God is showing His great love and mercy by giving us a path to life – by giving us His light to guide and teach us in the way we should go. The path will hurt though because in His light our filth will be revealed for what it is. Yet there is hope because He promises to wash us clean! The light requires obedience, and not an obedience for the sake of obedience. To walk in His light we are called to an obedience that comes for faith for His name’s sake (Romans 1:5). An obedience that is first and foremost willing (Isaiah 1:19) to be broken and to stare at the bare naked truth of our sinfulness so that we may receive the grace that flows from His mercy. May we know the hope in Isaiah’s words! I am so excited to continue through the next 64 chapters!

    • Stormye Puffer

      Audrey – so thankful for your encouragement and wisdom this morning!

    • Alli

      Thank you, Audrey, for this comment! You clarified Isaiah 1:21-26 for me-love that word picture! Also, thanks for bringing out the thought of not obeying just for the sake of obeying but to glorify God’s name. (Rom 1:5) Yes! That gives us the pure motivation we need!

      • Audrey

        I’m so glad my ramblings could help! God has had me stuck on Romans 1:5 for the past 2 months. He is helping me unlearn all of the wrong things I have thought about obedience for so long, and showing me with such tenderness the heart behind His call for obedience. This is what I wrote in my journal this morning as I continued to meditate on the passages this morning…

        Willing. AND. Obedient.

        There it is again. Obedience.

        But willing comes first. Another reminder that we are not called to an obedience of a checklist. Obedience for the sake of obedience. Obedience for the sake of trying to earn anything. Obedience for the sake of self-righteousness. No. We are called to a willing obedience. An obedience for the sake of His name because His name is the life-giving mercy and life-sustaining grace that we need to remain obedient. This willing obedience – the kind that will continue to walk in His light even when it reveals the darkness within and feels like it is lighting us on fire and we may not survive it – is what opens the door to experiencing the joy of the Lord deeper and deeper every single day until we meet Him face to face.

  • I was up the majority of the night with a terrified seven-year-old. We encountered a severe Summer storm on this first day of March and as the thunder sounded and lightning flashed his little heart trembled. This morning another round of the same storms is creeping in as I type and I can hear the rumblings in the distance, rolling closer and closer by the minute. The rain and now hail battering down on our house like a storm of epic proportions as I receive notification that my daughter’s dorm is hunkering down in their basement … safe and warm. I can’t help but think about God’s words in the sense of this storm, my sweet son terrified to the core of it. “Enough” He said! “Enough!” That would rain down now on my heart like this terrifying ruckus that is wailing itself into the walls of our warm home. Would my heart have realized that my sin caused this crashing storm upon me, that my wretchedness defiled God’s love of me so greatly that in His furiousness, He let this monsoon of wrath rain down on me, leaving me in the cold and battering elements, turning His back to my please for help and salvation. It is hard to imagine my loving God so fed up with me, with His children in this way and yet as a parent I know there are days, my sweet children wreck me in their behaviors and choices, all the while still, holding no candle to the hollow and shallow relationships all of Judah exemplified.

    Today, as this horrible downpour surrounds me I am thankful that I am not hearing the words, “Enough. Enough!”, the Lord knows I deserve them but in His loving kindness, in His heart for Justice He provided my sacrifice to calm the storm of sin around me.

    Today, I am prayerful that I walk upright receiving the Grace that the Lord rained day for me. That I didn’t receive the true Justice I deserve/deserved, that He provides comfort in the storms and that in Humility I turn my back on sin that would wreak havoc upon my relationship with Christ, that I recall sin doesn’t come loudly like this terrifying thunder, it does clang and bang, waking me up … it is the slow drizzle that hangs comfortably over me, showering me with offense and heartache and brokenness. Prayerful that I stand strong against anything that would seek to separate and find comfort in the warmth and strength of my Father’s arms.

    • ~ B ~

      *pleas*, ah where is the edit button when you need it! :)

      • Leigh Gray

        We must be very close to you. I’m in Carmi, Il. Thank you for your beautiful words. Praying all is well this morning.

    • Heather (MNmomma)

      Praying for you all this morning!!!! So perfectly expressed…..

    • Stormye Puffer

      Beautiful words, Betsy. Thank you for your insight and encouragement this morning.

  • I continually thought of Psalm 51 through chapter 1. When David acknowledges “For you do not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; You will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” God tells Israel through Isaiah “Stop bringing useless offerings. Your incense is detestable to Me.”

    God’s message has not changed. He says the same thing to you and me. “His tolerance for sin has not softened around the edges.”

    Lord, I pray that this season reveals where I treat my relationship with You as transactional instead of relational. Transformation begins with my heart & mind. Renew a new spirit within me. Remind me who you are and that I have been given the freedom to come into your presence and have a deep relationship with You.

  • Jessica M

    I must admit that sometimes, hearing how much God hates our sin strikes fear in me, for I know how much I love sin and how prone I am to run towards wickedness and then act as if it’s no big deal. But I try to remind myself that God’s hatred for sin is yet another expression of His glorious love. He knows the damage that sin causes in the end. He knows how much it hurts us. If the most loving thing for Him to do is be harsh with us so that our eyes are opened to how disgusting and damaging our sin truly is, then that is what He will do.

    Hoping this will serve as a reminder for someone else who needs it too.

  • This is so on point right now…I can’t help but draw parallels to today when reading these chapters!

  • God will say to us enough is enough at some point but i believe in that moment He will be harsh like a parent to a child so they stop doing something that could be hurting to themselves. God calls us to stop doing evil and to be obedient to Him, and we try daily to do that otherwise we wouldn’t be here doing this study. While these words are harsh to read I think it’s wonderful to learn from others mistakes. We have centuries of fallen people in Judah and Israel to learn from and God provided that for us. He wanted us to learn from them. But the questions of how does this apply to me today and how is our God different now vs. then, etc. are valid. Lent IS shocking but God is calling each one of us to draw closer to Him so He doesn’t only shock us, but also awe, inspire, love, comfort, heal and most importantly show us we are His daughters. HIS daughters and we belong to Him. Happy Ash Wednesday ladies! Be at peace in the Lord and His Word today!

  • April Heather

    I was struck with “they bow down to the work of their hands, to what their fingers have made” Isaiah 2: 8 || As an artist in a modern world it can become easy to take sheer delight in constant approval seeking of social media. I was slapped with the reality that I can too often make idols of the work of my own hands (2:20). Thank you for the reminder to worship only our Lord and not put my “trust in man.” ( 2: 22) My heart had been tugging at me on this subject for weeks. That Holy Spirit! With me always and saying “heads up darlin-pay attention”

    • Sara

      I couldn’t agree more. I’ve found discouragement recently in my writing. That verse struck me hard as I was looking to the approval of others and not living in sheer obedience to God to do as He’s called and trust Him with it.

    • Kylee

      I bookmarked this verse for the very same reason — it flagged my heart and made me realize how much of my work I idolize as an artist who uses social media as a marketing vehicle. Because the work is literally in our hands and 24/7, it’s hard to not feel like this is so relevant for us, today. I love God.

    • amyloukuo

      April Heather, thanks for the reminder! As an artist also myself (graphic designer) who is currently between jobs, I’ve been realizing that my self-worth is lessened because I’m not working and my days are filled with housework and being alone. Even last night I was thinking about this, that a job wouldn’t be the answer and I need to identify my value as a daughter of God, whether my day to day looks more like a housewife or an art director; but I didn’t know how to make that truth real in my life. Yours and Isaiah’s reminder that our trust should not be in the works of our hands made that “click” in my mind. Thank you!

  • SRT team, I am glad to see this focus on God and his hatred for sin and pride and rebellion and rejection. His intolerance for these things has not “softened around the edges” as Rachael so eloquently said, and “we read OT prophecy to understand God’s character.” Sometimes it has concerned me because the devotionals tend to be overly focused on God’s love and grace vs justice. But what I love about this study is that without a true understanding of God’s stance on sin, we can never really understand the magnitude of His forgiveness and grace. This is so convicting to me. I see over and over again the Israelites pride–and how I echo that pride in my life. So much of what I do is driven by pride and the need for significance. And God says, “Stop! I hate it! All I care about is your relationship with and worship of me!” This spoke right to my heart – thank you for speaking truth. ❤

    • Tacie Bracken

      Thank you for this comment–so well said, “without a true understanding of God’s stance on sin, we can never really understand the magnitude of His forgiveness and grace.” This put today’s reading in perspective even more for me.

    • Missy

      Amen! Until we grasp His hatred towards sin, we can’t possibly grasp how amazing His forgiveness and grace are!
      So, so important for the believer to understand God’s view of sin, and for me to be reminded of this daily lest I get comfortable in my own sin.

    • Stormye Puffer

      Rhiannon, glad to have you in our community. It is so necessary to keep reminding ourselves that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. Thank you for your words this morning!

    • AmyQ

      Amen!

  • Your questions are mine as well. This is hard to read but also does paint a clear picture of who God is and his desires for us and for our needs.

  • Churchmouse

    Yes. Isaiah 1: 15 causes me to shudder also. I am foolish if I do not realize that there will come a day when the Lord will say “Enough!” The date is unknown but that is not as important as how I choose to live before Him TODAY.

  • I’ve studied Isaiah before, but two verses struck me this morning in my current situation…chapter one verse five {we are falling apart, yet we persist in our sin} and chapter two verse 22 {stop trying to win the trust of man, which is why I keep falling into sin}…God’s Word NEVER fails to speak to me!

  • Truth! ❤️

  • When I read today’s passages I found the verses confronting and harsh. I am hoping to build a better relationship with the Lord, so am on day 3 of my prayer journal. I am not sure if a prayer journal is supposed to read as daily prayers similar to the formal well versed automatic prayers said in church but mine reads more like letters to God. After writing today’s “dear diary” type entry I realised that in the past I looked to the Lord when I was “needy”, coming to him with “burnt offering” bargaining chips. Lord if you do this I will do that, type prayers. Maybe others feel like me and taken burnt offerings to the Lord in times of need rather than remembering to give Glory and Thanks everyday when we do not think we need Him. Thank you so much SRT team for bringing HIS word to this community.

  • Was challenged last night at a women’s gathering to spend time just sitting in God’s presence everyday for 5 min. I’ve decided to meditate on Isaiah 2:5 – come let us walk in the light of the Lord – for this Lent. How are my actions and choices keeping me tied to my sin and the darkness? I am beckoned by God to WALK in His Glorious Light!!!!

    • Kathryn

      This verse spoke to me, too. I love the idea of using it as a meditation.

    • Brandi

      “How are my actions and choices keeping me tied to my sin and the darkness.” Thinking in that this morning . Thank you!

  • I have never reconciled the old testament with life today where God is concerned….. Often I have struggled to believe the God who loves me, and you today, in this century, is the same God who seems so harsh in the old testament….
    I remember attempting to read the bible in a year and felt confused as I would read a chapter or two from the old testament, then perhaps a Psalm, then a passage or two from the New testament…. talk about confusion, fear and OMG rolled into one feeling all at once…

    I have to say, if I were to hear these words from God… “When you lift up your hands in prayer, I will refuse to look at you; even if you offer countless prayers, I will not listen.” my heart would break… my life…. ugh… Just yesterday I said to a friend, I cannot imagine life now, without God, I couldn’t possibly begin to function without the thought or knowledge that I had God with me, my strength, my protector, my provider, my friend, my song… that is something I do not want to think about, let alone imagine…

    But my God…
    He is the same God who walked with His people in the time of Moses, Abraham, David, Isaiah, etc, today…. as He will be in the time of my childrens childrens children and beyond…. He is the same… All he asks is that we be in a relationship with him… that we hear His words to not do or be evil…to not sin, to love Him with all our heart, mind and soul… He has not changed, since back then… But God has ‘ moved the goal posts’ for us through His son, He has made a way for us… through His son, He has bought each and every one of us…through the sacrifice of His son, our Savior….. we are no longer on trial or judged…or need to make sacrifices for our sins.. God has made a way through His amazing and wonderful Son Jesus Christ…

    Thank you Lord God, for the gift of your love, friendship, compassion, grace…but most importantly your Son, who by his sacrifice we have a ‘direct line’ and access to you…. Thank you Lord God… thank you…

    Hugs and love dear sisters….every blessing xxxx

    • Caroline

      These words struck many chords in my heart Thank you beautiful sister!

    • Christy

      Yes! This was perfect.

    • Maggie

      So good. Thank you for this❤

    • Petri

      “moved the goal posts” I absolutely love this. this mornings read was such a tough truth to hear but this helped! thanks for your words!

    • Ronda

      ♥️

    • Stormye Puffer

      Love to you, Tina! Thank you for sharing. I loved reading this on this Ash Wednesday morning.

    • cassie

    • Melody Fiorini

      Thank you for this!

    • Lynn

      ❤️

    • Glennis

      Yes, we all have struggled with studying the Bible in our lives and try to apply what God said in the Old Testament to our lives today. We say it was for the evil then, but because of our Savior Jesus Christ dying for our sins, we know that we have repentance and salvation for our sins. We can come to God and have his Grace shine upon us to ease our pain, our suffering and our unworthiness!! Praise The Lord! Thank you Tina, for your comment- “He has moved the goal posts”!

  • I am really caught by the amount of times lofty is in chapter 2 of Isaiah. It’s also followed with brought down low or coming against things that are proud and lofty. How many things do we put faith into that are not God?

    Wow that makes me wake up and say God your word then is just as applicable now as it was then in regard to sin. Anything that is placed above you is lofty and insignificant and that makes me realise how much more I neee to run to you.

  • Not ending, but already starting with a bang!

    ”How does Old Testament prophecy work?
    Are these just God’s words to Israel then, or are they also judgment on me now?”

    I struggle with those questions, but this helped:
    the God of Israel who spoke through Isaiah then is the exact same God today. His character is unchanged. His tolerance for sin has not softened around the edges.

    Makes me be more in awe of our heavenly Father. Excited to discover more about Him trough Isaiah.

  • Transactional faith vs Relational faith

  • celebratingheart

    Really challenged this morning – am I transactional with God rather than relational?

Further Reading...