1:16, 17 “…cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.”
Chapter one of Isaiah is all about the wickedness of Judah and Jerusalem. They had reached the point where God was ready to destroy them. Religiously they were going through the required motions, but their actions outside the temple showed their true nature. God was tired of their pretense at worship. He had reached the point where He was refusing to hear their pleas. Many prayers would not get His attention because their hands were full of blood.
What could the people of the land do to change God’s view of them? The answer to this question is important to us today because we could find ourselves in the same situation if we get lost in the world of sin. One thing we know from this chapter is that going to worship does not make up for a life of disobedience to God. The people of Judah were keeping the feasts and observing the sacrifices, but on the streets of Jerusalem, they were oppressing their fellow Hebrews.
Isaiah tells them what they need to regain God’s blessings and protection. The first thing they needed to do was to stop their evil behavior. Before you can change direction, you must stop going in the way you were. Secondly, they needed to learn to do good. I am impressed with the prophet’s choice of verb. Not that they should start to do good. They first needed to learn the art. They had practiced evil for so long they had forgotten how to do good.
The prophet then gives them some examples of the good they should be doing. In later years, the last prophet will tell the people the same things. He will call for repentance. Repentance is ceasing to do evil and learning to do good.
Task for Today: Have you repented of the evil in your heart? Are you willing and obedient (19)? Today is a good day to get right with God by coming to His Son for forgiveness. Stop, learn.