Isaiah 1:11-14, 18
11 “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.12 When you come to appear before Me, who requires this from you- [this] trampling of My courts? 13 Stop bringing useless offerings. I despise [your] incense. New Moons and Sabbaths, and the calling of solemn assemblies- I cannot stand iniquity with a festival. 14 I hate your New Moons and prescribed festivals. They have become a burden to Me; I am tired of putting up with [them].
18 “Come, let us discuss this,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are as red as crimson, they will be like wool.
(Holman Christian Standard)
As my husband and I were having our coffee this morning, I was telling him about an experience I had yesterday while shopping. I was in a small store with a woman on a cell phone. Since the store was relatively small and her voice was relatively loud, I could clearly hear her half of the conversation. She began with “How are you feeling?” and “Is your throat still sore?” but went on to “I don’t think you should go.” After long moments of silence and a few half sentences on her part, I hear “I’m not arguing with you over this! Do you understand what I’m saying to you?” If the person on the other end of that conversation didn’t understand, I certainly did!! The tone, the words, and the sense of frustration left me no doubt that this was a parent talking to her child. As I am thinking about that parent and her frustration and exasperation with her child, I can’t help but think of the frustration and exasperation You feel at times with Your children. This woman in the store had had enough. In Isaiah 1 You say You have had enough! Verse 11 says You have had enough of the showy sacrifices with no personal meaning. Could that mean You have had enough of my busyness and rote prayers? Verse 13 says to stop bringing You useless offerings. Don’t I sometimes give an offering of worship, but I’m really just playing a showy game? Verse 14 says that our routines have become a burden to You, and then You add “I am tired of putting up with them.” I think these verses say to Your children what the woman was saying on the phone – “I am tired of dealing with you.” But, in verse 18 You give each of us another chance. You have not become so frustrated and exasperated with me that You have given up. Thank You, Lord for second chances. Thank You for forgiving me and showing me mercy when I deserve justice.