Warning, today’s reading will contain strong language from the start. We are used to a kind of gentle, nice respectability to our Christianity but the prophets were prepared to deal directly with root problems and unashamedly use shocking language to get their point across.

Read Isaiah 1:21-31

Israel is compared to a prostitute. Sexual immorality is often used as a metaphor for spiritual unfaithfulness in the Old Testament, a reminder that God’s people were meant to be his faithful bride. There has been a terrible exchange, silver for dross, righteousness for unrighteousness.  If the nation have entered into the oldest profession then they are not very good at the business side, they’ve got a poor deal.

Theft and bribery run through society from top to bottom. When the elite participate in corruption this also results on oppression and abuse. There is a lack of justice and the vulnerable in society suffer most.

God will see that justice happens. The offence is first and foremost against him, so he will seek vengeance.  Those who were meant to represent him have become his enemies.  Judgement though is also about refining and restoration.  If they have acquired dross, this will be burnt up so that silver and gold will be refined. God will restore true and faithful leaders and judges to positions of authority. The capital City Jerusalem will be renamed to emphasise the restoration of righteousness. Redemption is promised speaking of things that have been sold off to pay debts being bought back.  However, those who continue to resist will face punishment.


Meditate on these words from verse 26

“You shall be called the city of righteousness, the faithful city.”

  1. If God’s people, the church are now the New Jerusalem, then what does it mean for us to be known as “the city of righteousness”?
  2. What does it mean for us to be faithful?

Lord God we are sorry that we too often have been unfaithful to you.  Even though you have been faithful to us and kept your promises, we have too often doubted them, too often looked elsewhere for satisfaction.  Thank you for your redemption that buys us back, justifies us and restores us. Help us to faithfully cling to Christ.

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