"Come now, and let us reason together," says the LORD, "Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool."
Isaiah 1:18

Turn with me to the first chapter of Isaiah. God has made a covenant with the nation of Israel. He has set before them blessing and cursing, life and death. He tells them, "Now look: you have a choice to make. You're Mine, sons I have reared up. I chose you. I redeemed you. But I have set before you a way for you to live. I have given you the commandments. And I have told you that if you will keep My commandments, if you will walk in My statutes, if you will obey Me, I will bless you. But if you choose to walk in the opposite direction, if you say, 'No, I'll do my own thing, I'll do what I want to do and I'll do it my way,' then I will curse you. I will have to judge you, because I am the Holy One of Israel. And because I am God," now listen carefully, because this applies to you and to me today, "because I am God, you cannot despise Me and get away with it. I'm God, and you cannot go against Me and think that you can get away with it or that it won't cost you. Whether you believe in Me or not, whether you name someone else as your god or something else as your religion, I want you to know: I am God and there is no other."

In the first portion of Isaiah, God is going to talk to His people about the high calling that they've failed at, about how they have revolted against Him, despised Him, kicked up their heels, walked away, and chosen disobedience instead of obedience and blessing. Now that may not be you, but you still need to listen so that it never becomes you. Or it may be that you have begun to veer off the path and God wants to bring you back on the path. Beloved, God does not delight in having to chasten us. He does not delight in having to judge us. But because He is the Holy One of Israel, He will do it if He has to. Now how does this transfer to you and to me and where you and I are living today? How does it come into this century, into this time and to this day and to this moment and to this experience? When you and I come to know Jesus Christ, we become a child of God. We are a people who profess to know God and belong to God. But what about those who have revolted against God, who have despised the Holy One of Israel? What does God do with them? How does God handle them? They should know better, but they haven't behaved like they should have behaved. They should have understood, but they didn't want to understand. They willfully chose the wrong path. Now what's God going to do?

What I want you to remember is this: If you are a child of God, Precious One, you are accountable to Him. God expects you to know Him and to understand Him. And it's when you rebel, when you get so busy, when you get so entangled, and put everything ahead of knowing Him, that you get in trouble. It's when you and I no longer take time to be still and to know that He is God (See Psalms 46:10). Listen to what He says. He says, "Sons I have reared and brought up, but they have revolted against Me." (Isaiah 1:2) Now the fact that they have revolted against Him means that they knew what they were supposed to do, but they didn't do it. They knew what was right, but they chose their own way. It speaks of a willful rebellion, a willful disobedience to authority. You have to stop and make a decision today about the way that you are going to live. Are you going to live on the fringes of your Christianity? Or are you going to go all the way for God? Are you going to be one of these that He constantly has to chasten, that He constantly has to deal with? Have you been rebelling? Have you been revolting against the Lord?

There's no time like today to quit rebelling, and there's no wiser decision than to quit sin immediately, determining in your heart that because you have been chosen by God, you are going to live life on the very highest plane. This is what God expects. And I think, Precious One, that when you look at the general state of Christendom in the United States of America, you see Christians living on the edges, on the fringes of obedience, on the fringes of consecration. You see them dabbling in the world, looking and lusting after the world. They're like Israel. They have played the harlot. They are adulteresses. They are in love with the world instead of in love with God. And what does God tell us? "'...Consent and obey...,'" (Isaiah 1:19) consent that He is God, consent that you are called by God to live life on this highest plane, and then start obeying. Beloved, tell God that you do not want to live like Israel lived, but you want to live righteous and please Him and know His power and His blessing in your life. The blessed assurance that you have, if you belong to God, if you truly have been chosen and have received Jesus Christ is this: God has a future and a hope for you.

Kay Arthur
Teacher, Precepts For Life