My three-year-old grandson’s day was off to a rotten start. He couldn’t find his favorite shirt. The shoes he wanted to wear were too hot. He fussed and fumed at his grandmother and then sat down to cry.
“Why are you so upset?” I asked. We talked for a while and after he calmed down, I gently inquired, “Have you been good for Grandma?” He looked thoughtfully at his shoes and responded, “No, I was bad. I’m sorry.”
My heart went out to him. Instead of denying what he had done, he was honest. In the following moments we asked Jesus to forgive us when we do wrong and to help us do better.
In Isaiah 1, God confronts His people about wrongs they’d committed. Bribes and injustice were rampant in the courts, and orphans and widows were taken advantage of for material gain. Yet even then God responded mercifully, asking the people of Judah to confess what they’d done and turn from it: “Come now, let us settle the matter . . . . Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18).
God longs for us to be open with Him about our sins. He meets honesty and repentance with loving forgiveness: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Because our God is merciful, new beginnings await!
What sins have you not been honest with God about? What’s holding you back from confessing them to Him?
The prophet Isaiah, whose name means “the Lord saves,” warned an unrepentant Judah of God’s impending judgment (Isaiah 1–12) through the Babylonian exile (39:6–7). He spoke of God’s grace (chs. 40–55) and a future glorious restoration for all who would repent (chs. 11; 56–66). Here in Isaiah 1, God calls His people to consider carefully their sinfulness (vv. 2–15). But He assures them that no matter how tainted and sinful they are (v. 18), God will cleanse, forgive, and bless them if they “are willing and obedient” (v. 19). He also warns of severe punishment if they fail to repent (v. 20).