“Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD.
Promises and precursors of Christ’s sacrifice thread through the Old Testament, from Genesis to Malachi. In Isaiah, though, they weave together into the Bible’s most dazzling prophetic tapestry. Stepping back from its arresting imagery reveals its central theme: God’s redemptive masterpiece is unlike anything the world’s seen or He’s done. “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” He whispers in Isaiah 43.19. Indisputably, this is His breakthrough work—nothing after it can be the same. We’re eager to know what inspired His achievement, what went into His process, and how He began. Answers hide in plain sight throughout Isaiah, starting in very first chapter.
A Fresh Pattern
Rather than destroying the lackluster results He got using us as His medium of expression—as He intended to do with the Flood—God unravels everything He’s done thus far to correct warps caused by our stubborn disregard. Isaiah 1.2 and 3 quotes Him saying, “I reared children and brought them up, but they have rebelled against me. The ox knows his master, the donkey his owner’s manger, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.” From there, He and Isaiah alternate in seething frustration over our unwillingness to yield to God’s intentions. Regardless how often He revises His approach to accommodate our weaknesses, we still manage to distort His original vision,
After the Eden follies stripped us of divine health and provision, God smoothed that wrinkle as our Healer and Provider. Though He refused to turn from us, Isaiah 1.4 charges we turned on Him. For that we suffered from head to toe and lost everything God gave us. Once more, He ironed things out with a slate of demands to strengthen our fiber. But we got strung out on appearances. We perverted obedient worship into a “God’s Top Model” competition. “Stop bringing me meaningless offerings!” He rages in verse 13. “I cannot bear your evil assemblies.” He orders us off the catwalk and back to basics in verse 17. “Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.” Listen closely and you’ll hear God sigh between verses 17 and 18. Three attempts and, still, He’s displeased. Instead of throwing us away, He throws out His previous template based on our pliability for a fresh pattern shaped to fit His love.
As an exasperated sculptor talks to her clay, God says to us, “OK, let’s talk. Let’s be reasonable about this. What I wanted to do with you, you won’t do. So I’m starting over with a new pattern and emphasis that requires changing the color scheme. I’m removing the stains of guilt to restore your true colors of innocence. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.’”
Each of us is a critical thread in God’s tapestry, tied directly to His Self-portrait of love and acceptance through Jesus. His new pattern corrects everything that distorts His original vision: our sin, self-righteousness, and neglect. All He asks is we be reasonable and submit to His cleansing. In Psalm 51.7, David prays, “Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” That’s our only legitimate response when God says, “Let’s talk.” Hearing that, He changes our lives and weaves them into His breakthrough masterpiece of redemption.
God cleanses us to weave us into His masterpiece of redemption.
(Tomorrow: The Lord’s Day)