Isaiah 1: 15 And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. 16 Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; 17 Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. 18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. 19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: 20 But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
Why would the Lord send a message like this to Israel? What a statement in verse 15. His people had a name as the nation of the Jehovah God. Other nations made gods of everything. It sounds familiar to our day and time. People worship everything from possessions to bank accounts and are so struck on themselves and openly self-centered. We’re told we can be what we want and that’s all that matters. Many television shows are nothing more than ways for people to show off physical strength or beauty. Self should be our last concern. Do you love yourself before you think of anything else? Will you let others around you go without for your own benefit? The Laodicean Church was rich and full—money and people. There are churches like that today. Some of these shouldn’t be attended. Some people only go to them for the coffee and the food they serve. Remember the devil serves good coffee too. Be careful of the atmosphere you put yourself in. Be mindful of the distance between you and God.
Israel had drifted away from God and started asking God “why, why, why.” It wasn’t God. He will never separate himself from us. If there is any distance, it is ours. If there is praying and you hear only silence, stop and think if you’re close enough to God for him to hear you. He is everywhere and will come when we earnestly seek him.
Satan works so deceptively. Before being cast from heaven he was an important angel in charge of the music of the angelic host. He got it in his heart to take God’s throne. He got wrapped up in himself. Do you think God said that was okay? No. All of a sudden there was distance between Lucifer and heaven. He was cast out and on his way to a lake of fire and bottomless pit. Don’t think of it in terms of miles or light years. Think of it in light of eternity. The devil put distance between him and God and has no hope of anything changing. When mankind puts God second or third and the primary person becomes self, there is distance. I see it in our relatives but turn around and see it in myself. Don’t think that “no one is as close to God as I am.” Did the Pharisee see how far he was from God? No. He talked about others and how much better he was than they were. The devil can make us up so much that we think we’re close to God when we’re not.
The people of Israel cried out. Look at what they were doing. Verse 4 says Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward. God wasn’t talking about just anyone; this was his people. They put distance between them and God and couldn’t see it. They thought anything was all right and didn’t see it. Years ago when churches began to allow things to go we saw changes begin. Now it’s illegal to have prayer. Manger scenes aren’t allowed. Abortions are legal. Look at perversion laws passed in the past few years. You’d think churches would be full. The ones who are full are the ones who let anything go. Everything is preached but the truth.
America doesn’t realize how far she is from God. People ask “why God?” Open ears and listen. God may be saying “Bob, why are you not listening to me?” We say our ritualistic prayers and nothing happens. God said: And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil.
I can’t believe God is saying this to Israel. Clean up. Wash up. Turn from evil and backsliding. Stop being so in love with yourself. Verse 18 says Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. Use your reason—your good sense.
How far is the distance between you and God? How close? Hebrews 10:22 says Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. James 4:8 says Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.