I was ready to be sought out by those who did not ask, to be found by those who did not seek me. I said, “Here I am, here I am,” to a nation that did not call on my name. I held out my hands all day long to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good, following their own devices; a people who provoke me to my face continually, sacrificing in gardens and offering incense on bricks; who sit inside tombs, and spend the night in secret places; who eat swine’s flesh, with broth of abominable things in their vessels; who say, “Keep to yourself, do not come near me, for I am too holy for you.” These are a smoke in my nostrils, a fire that burns all day long. See, it is written before me: I will not keep silent, but I will repay; I will indeed repay into their laps their iniquities and their ancestors’ iniquities together, says the Lord; because they offered incense on the mountains and reviled me on the hills, I will measure into their laps full payment for their actions. Thus says the Lord: As the wine is found in the cluster, and they say, “Do not destroy it, for there is a blessing in it,” so I will do for my servants’ sake, and not destroy them all. I will bring forth descendants from Jacob, and from Judah inheritors of my mountains; my chosen shall inherit it, and my servants shall settle there.
Food For Thought:
In this passage of Scripture, God is upset with God’s people for their continual disobedience. Even though they deserve punishment, God offers them forgiveness. When have you experienced God’s transforming forgiveness? How did it feel to receive that forgiveness? How do you go forth from that forgiveness to be a better follower of Christ?
Most holy and eternal God,
you dwell in the heights of heaven,
yet you walk among those who refuse to see you.
Hold out your hand to those who rebel against you,
and free us from the chains that bind us,
that Christ may heal us
and proclaim his saving deeds to all the world. Amen.
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