10 Hear the word of the LORD, You rulers of Sodom; Give ear to the law of our God, You people of Gomorrah: 11 “To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?” says the LORD. “I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed cattle. I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs or goats. 12 “When you come to appear before Me, who has required this from your hand, to trample My courts? 13 Bring no more futile sacrifices; Incense is an abomination to Me. The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies— I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting. 14 Your New Moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates; They are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them. 15 When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood. (Isaiah 1:10-15)
Israel had wearied the Lord God with their sacrifices of worship and offerings of praise while they simultaneously defiled themselves with all manner of sin (see Isa. 1:4, where God described His children as a “brood of evildoers”). We cannot successfully worship and serve God with defiled hands; only “holy hands” will do (cf. 1 Tim. 2:8). Pretending to love God while practicing sin is as unholy as the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah. Cleanse yourself of sin’s defilement that your sacrifices of praise will honor and please Him (Isa. 1:18-20).
7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, 9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began…” (2 Timothy 1:7-9)
The eternal purpose of God to save us in Christ is the compelling reason for Christians not to be “ashamed of the testimony of our Lord”. The preacher Timothy was to remember this and never be afraid to boldly preach the word of God. The fear of sin and death is cast off in Christ (Heb. 2:15). Be bold in spirit as you teach the gospel. The gospel is God’s power to save. The gospel is the expression of God’s love. The sober mind pledges allegiance to the gospel, come what may.
Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is His delight. (Proverbs 11:1)
How you transact business says something about your integrity. The dishonest person uses a heavy weight to measure his purchases (so he gets more product than he deserves), and he sells using a lighter weight (so he makes more profit than is rightfully his). Be honest in all your transactions. For example, do not accept too much change back when making a purchase (it is money that doesn’t belong to you). Pay the full amount agreed upon when making a purchase (to do otherwise is stealing). God knows whether you are honest when you buy and sell. He is pleased when He sees your honesty in every transaction you make.
1 Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. 2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear. (Isaiah 59:1-2)
Let’s be honest. It is your own sin that has separated you from God, from those you love and from those who love you. Choices were made to disobey God’s truth and His way of righteousness. Unless you take responsibility for your sins you will not be able to repent. Do not blame God or those who love you when your sinful choices bring separation, hurt, loneliness and despair. It doesn’t have to be that way, you know. God is ready to hear you and save you. The isolation your sin has produced can be replaced with joyful acceptance by God and by all who love you in the Lord. Choosing sin only brings you pain and eternal death. Choose life. Choose to repent and be saved. Choose God.
42 For He remembered His holy promise, And Abraham His servant. 43 He brought out His people with joy, His chosen ones with gladness. 44 He gave them the lands of the Gentiles, and they inherited the labor of the nations, 45 that they might observe His statutes and keep His laws. Praise the LORD! (Psalm 105:42-45)
God keeps His promises. He promised to give Abraham, Isaac and Jacob “the land of Canaan as the allotment of your inheritance”, and He did (Gen. 15:18; Psa. 105:11, 44). Joshua confirmed God’s fidelity in keeping His land promise (Josh. 21:43). The fact that God keeps His word should compel us to “observe His statutes and keep His laws” He has given us in Christ. Jesus said, “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say” (Lk. 6:46)? Christ promises to eternally save those who believe and obey Him (Heb. 5:8-9). He also promises to eternally punish “those who do not know God” and “those who do not obey the gospel” (2 Thess. 1:8). Yes, God keeps His promises. Which one of these promises will He keep in your case? That, my friend, depends on what you choose to believe and do.
8 Therefore the neighbors and those who previously had seen that he was blind said, “Is not this he who sat and begged?” 9 Some said, “This is he.” Others said, “He is like him.” He said, “I am he.” 10 Therefore they said to him, “How were your eyes opened?” 11 He answered and said, “A Man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed, and I received sight.” (John 9:8-11)
What if you had been this blind man? Would you have gone to the pool of Siloam and washed as Jesus instructed? Or, would you have said, “any water will wash the mud off my eyes – why should I go to that pool?” It would take faith to do what Jesus said. If you did wash your eyes like this man, would you have earned the right to have your sight restored? No, and neither did this man. God was gracious to him when he put his faith in Jesus and followed His instructions. Yet today, when the same Jesus says “He who believes and is baptized will be saved…”, many sinners object (Mk. 16:16). Why not have the faith to go to the water and be baptized to be saved (to have your spiritual sight restored)? You will not earn anything when you do. You will be saved “by grace, through faith”. We cannot expect to be saved if we do not have the faith to do what Jesus said.
Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. (James 5:16)
There is power in prayer for the people of God. Sins are forgiven when they are confessed to one another and as prayers ascend to the throne of grace for divine mercy. The unrighteous have no assurance of effective prayer; it is the prayers of the righteous that are heard and answered by the Father. Prayer for someone today, and also seek the prayers of the righteous.