Lent Devotional: Isaiah 1:21-23
by Jonathan Haefs
How the faithful city
has become a whore,
she who was full of justice!
Righteousness lodged in her,
but now murderers.
Your silver has become dross,
your best wine mixed with water.
Your princes are rebels
and companions of thieves.
Everyone loves a bribe
and runs after gifts.
They do not bring justice to the fatherless,
and the widow’s cause does not come to them.
Well this is a pretty picture… isn’t it?
It’s funny to me how passages such as Isaiah 1:21-23 can be so shocking to people, as if something like this should not even be in the Bible. I mean… isn’t the Bible just a collection of encouraging sayings that make good inspirational posters, magnets, or mugs?
Scripture is brutally honesty, and when the Holy Spirit spoke through the prophet Isaiah, his words were like a mirror so that the people of God saw themselves as they really were… and the picture was anything but pretty.
A whore. He called them a whore.
The Lord’s relationship with his people was often described as being like a marriage. He was the groom and the people were his bride. Thus, anytime they forsook him for other gods, their behavior was nothing less than adultery toward God which led to abuse toward others.
They had been a community of justice, but now they were murders, rebels, and thieves. They now loved bribes and gain at the expense of the fatherless and the widow… the helpless and marginalized in society.
All of this came as a result and stood as evidence of their adultery against the Lord.
As a community, our treatment of one another is evidence of the current state of our relationship with the Lord. Love for the Lord leads to love of others (John 14:15 +15:12), but adultery against the Lord leads to abuse of others.
What does your treatment of your bothers and sisters in Christ say about your relationship with Christ today?