Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Isaiah Chapter 1 Verses 1-3

We begin Isaiah with a courtroom scene.  Isaiah is the observer.  Jehovah is the plaintiff and the judge.  Israel is the defendant.  The heavens and the earth are witnesses.

In verse 2 the Lord brings forth his charge, "I have nourished and brought forth children, and they have rebelled against me."  Truly the Lord has nourished his children.  In Exodus 16 we learn of the story of the manna from heaven.  The Lord heard the children of Israel's cries for food and for forty years, he provided food for them daily.  The Lord has also nourished his children spiritually.  In John 6:31-35 we learn of the symbolism of manna.  Christ himself is the true bread from heaven, He is the bread of life.  "He that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst." (v. 35).  Jacob 5 in the Book of Mormon is a wonderful example of how tirelessly the Lord goes about His work of nourishing and caring for His beloved children.

The charge laid forth is a serious one.  In the law of Moses as laid forth in Exodus 21:15 and 17, the punishment for smiting one's father or mother or cursing them is death.  Indeed, rebelling against the Lord will lead to our spiritual death, and should be regarded with the same gravity.  And yet, in verse 3, the Lord continues, "...but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider."  These children whom the Lord has loved and taken such care to nourish, do not know Him or seem to give Him the slightest regard.

The complete verse says, "The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider."  The analogy to the ox and his owner and the ass and his master give the impression of having been bought.  Indeed, as we are told in 1 Cor. 6:19-20, we are "not our own... [we] are bought with a price..."  Christ has paid the ultimate price and we are His.  It is also interesting that these "lesser" beings know their owners and obey them and yet we do not.  To me it symbolizes the humility required of men to know God and follow Him.

I love these opening verses.  Already we can see the application to our day.  The Lord continues to nourish His children daily both temporally and spiritually, but do they know?  Do they consider?  Do they realize the consequences of rebelling against their Father, do they care?  Do they understand the gravity of the punishment that awaits them, should they persist in their rebellion against the Lord?  Do they not understand that Christ has paid the ultimate price and they are not their own? 

Let it not be so for us.  Let us recognize each day the many ways we are nourished and cared for by the Lord.  Let us recognize His hand in our life and express our gratitude for it each day.  Let us be humble and obedient, always willing to do the will of the Lord.  May we live our lives with the awareness of its import and eternal purpose, aware of what awaits those who rebel and seeking that reward which has been promised to the righteous.

As the Lord laments in verse 3 that His people do not know Him, in John 17:3 we are told what awaits those who do know Him.  "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."  Verse 3 gives us a key to how we shall know Him.  As we are humble and obedient, we shall come to know our master, just as the ox knows his owner and the ass his master's crib.