Babies are so endearing. Such consumers of our time and money. Wonder why God gives them to us?
“‘I have nourished and brought up children,
And they have rebelled against Me;
The ox knows its owner
And the donkey its master’s crib;
But Israel does not know,
My people do not consider.
Alas, sinful nation,
A people laden with iniquity,
A brood of evildoers,
Children who are corrupters!
They have forsaken the Lord,..'” Isaiah 1:2-4
God is giving a very painful evaluation of the people who are called by His name–specifically those of Judah and its capital, Jerusalem, around 740 BC. Most of the first part of Isaiah is a call to the Northern Kingdom of Israel to repent before the Assyrians destroy them. But, this passage is directed toward the Southern Kingdom, Judah, whom Assyria would never conquer. However, this passage could be applied to anyone who claims to be in relationship with God yet continues living her life her way. Or, by implication, it could be applied to any Christian church tolerating evil and corruption.
Rebellious children break parents’ hearts. After all we do and sacrifice for them! We can all relate to His pain and sorrow.
But in this case, it is the Sovereign God of the Universe who is speaking to Judah, a small insignificant nation claiming to be special to Him. Even the ox and the donkey–noted to be dumb– know who their Master is, who owns them. But this rebellious people don’t even think about that! That’s pretty arrogant, isn’t it? But, God is sorry for them. “Alas..” They are carrying a heavy load because of their sin and corruption and rejection. They have turned their backs on their rightful Master.
What Bible themes help us apply this passage?
One of the themes is God’s Faithfulness To His People While Remaining Holy and Just. He keeps His promises to them. He will never leave them or forsake them. His compassion and patience stretch to the heavens!
Yet, another theme warns: He will not always look the other way, appearing to tolerate sin. He is Holy, distinct from others because He is perfect and just. God’s compassion is sure. It is most seen in Jesus Christ. He is our righteousness. He satisfied God’s justice. He covered our sin.
With these themes in the back of our minds as we read this passage, we can apply them to ourselves.
Do you call yourself God’s child? Then don’t be burdened down by your sins. Throw them off and run back to your Father like the Prodigal Son in Luke 15. Your Father will throw a party! There will be joy, gladness, hope.
God gives us children so, as we raise them, we can learn something about His character, especially His love and compassion. They are created “for His own glory,” –to display what our Savior is really like. Children help us understand how God feels. “I have nourished and brought up children and they have rebelled against me.” No one wants that feeling.
Has your church been tolerating evil and corruption by not practicing church discipline? These biblical principles and this particular passage urge us to turn from our sins and follow the Lord Jesus Christ both individually and corporately.