The State of the Nation
Isaiah 1-4; Matthew 7:21-23
The accusation: 1:2–3. Israel had rejected God as their Father.
The judgment: 1:4–12. They were going to be beaten by their enemies, and they would experience poverty and the devastation of war.
An appeal to repent: 1:16–17. "Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean."
Offer of redemption: 1:18–20. "Though you sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow."
This four-step pattern repeats itself throughout the first four chapters of Isaiah.
This is the diagnosis of Israel: They had turned their back on God. They had relied on their idols. They were full of pride and arrogance. They trusted their military strength and their economic prosperity. They were full of fake spirituality. They had oppressed the widow, the orphan, and the stranger among them.
Isaiah preaches the gospel to them: He gives them the bad news first but then offers the hope of redemption. This is the very same gospel message that we find throughout the New Testament.
Questions for personal reflection and/or group discussion
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