#DailyDevotion The LORD says, “Wash & Be Cleansed”
Isaiah 116Wash, get clean! Put out of My sight the evil you’re doing. Stop doing evil, 17learn to do good, try to be fair in judging, straighten out the oppressor, bring justice to orphans, and defend widows. 18Oh, come, let us reason with one another!” says the LORD. “Though your sins have become like scarlet cloth, they will turn white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, they will become like wool.”
The LORD had just called Israel and Judah-Sodom and Gomorrah. Their hearts were that far from the LORD their God. All of the religious regulations, precepts, festivals, commandments, sacrifices and the like were all considered by the LORD to be worth less to him than the worship of the pagans surrounding this people. The prophet Isaiah would we warning both countries to repent or the LORD would bring down his anger upon them by the hands of the Assyrians and then hands of the Babylonians.
However, believe it or not, the LORD is not in the punishment business. It gives him no joy to punish people for their sins. It is just his wrath is all you can experience when you have rejected his love. The LORD shows his heart in verse sixteen and following as he calls them out to repent of their sins. He invites to wash and get clean. Baptism wasn’t even a thing yet, but here it is. After washing let a new life follow. Get rid of the evil thing, probably referring to idol worship and the serving of false gods. The LORD wanted them to trust him alone. He wanted them to look to him for every good thing. Without this change of heart, without this trust in him, everything else they did would be evil to him, even if he commanded it.
We see other things the LORD would like to see his people be doing: learn to do good, be fair in judging, call the oppressor to repentance, bring justice to orphans and defend widows. While all these things are in the Torah, they surpass the Torah. All people of all nations should be doing these things. James 127 “Your way of worshiping is pure and stainless before God the Father if you look after orphans and widows in their troubles and keep yourself unspotted by the world.” Such is the worship of the LORD that follows a heart that trust solely in him.
Now the LORD promises the Israelites with a promise to call them to be repentant and to trust in him, “Though your sins have become like scarlet cloth, they will turn white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, they will become like wool.” How about that? They need not do anything to earn or merit God’s grace or forgiveness. If they would just put their trust in him he would forgive them their sins and remember them no more. The sins and trespasses filled their hands and covered them with blood for death is the penalty for sin. However, the LORD promises here to forgive and forget. They would no longer be covered with the blood of their sins but they would be covered with the righteousness of the LORD himself. He offers this freely to them.
This promise he offers to us as well. Titus 34 “He saved us, not because of any good works we did but because He was merciful. 5He saved us by the washing in which the Holy Spirit gives us a new birth and a new life. 6He poured a rich measure of this Spirit on us through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7to declare us righteous by His grace so that we may be heirs according to the hope of everlasting life.” Just as the LORD called the Israelites to wash and be clean, the same Lord Jesus Christ calls us to the waters of baptism, forgives us or sins, washes them away, gives us his Holy Spirit, justifies us, i.e. declares us righteous and gives us faith to receive these things so that as heirs of everlasting life we may live new lives now and in his kingdom to come.
Merciful God and Father, you call to us through your word to reason with you and to turn to you in faith for every good thing and trusting you will do that to live lives reflecting that trust. So now through baptism wash us, make us clean, fill us with your Holy Spirit that we indeed will turn in faith and love towards you and love toward our neighbors. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.