God is bringing a powerful case against his people. He is calling heavens and earth as witnesses. Like a parent, God reared children. Yet, God says, they rebelled against him (Isaiah 1:2).
Rebellion is what we commonly see in teenagers; isn’t it? Now what do you call as rebellion in them. First of all they start to form friendships outside family and prefer to spend more time with them. That is ok. But then they start listening to their opinions and start to reject the wisdom of parents. Then comes assertion of their independence in choices they make, in places they go to, in the dress they wear, in hair styles and fashion and so on.
Often parents watch helplessly as their children stretch their independence to harmful behaviours and practices. If parents confront their children, the children yell at them saying, “You don’t understand!”
But here in Isaiah, God is the one as a parent who is saying, “my people do not understand (v. 3).” God is saying that even the ox knows his master and the donkey his owner’s manger. These animals know who is their owner and who provides for them. But we, God’s children, often forget the loving hand of God that brought us up.
When we live in sin we are telling God that we want to run our lives independent of him. It is this spirit of independence that is at the root of rebellion. Isaiah says, “they turned their backs on him [God].”
“Why do you persist in rebellion (v. 5)?” is a question God is asking you and me today. See, rebellion is not easily understood. It is hidden deep in our hearts. But it shows its ugly head in our sinful behaviour. Often we try to treat the symptoms rather than the disease. Maybe it will surprise you to know that lust, anger, silly talk, coveting, and above all disobedience might have its roots in rebellion against God.
And rebellion, let me remind once again, starts with a spirit of independence. In very simple terms it is like telling God, “I want to live life the way I like it. You can be a guest in my life with no more privileges than a casual visitor. Get off my back.”
Even if you have run your life so far like this, there is hope. God is giving you yet another chance. He is calling you to come to the discussion table. Your sins which are like red shall turn to white like wool and snow (1:18).
Yet the choice is yours. If you are ready to go God’s way, he promises you restoration—enjoyment of the best from the land. But if you choose to resist God and go on in rebellion, judgement will follow (1:19).
What inspires you to live according to God’s word? Love for God or fear of judgement?