Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America

Saturday after the Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday

Posted on October 2, 2021 by Pastor Dulas under Devotions
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Scripture: Isaiah 1:10-17 (NKJV)
1:10 Hear the word of the Lord, you rulers of Sodom;
Give ear to the law of our God, you people of Gomorrah:
11 “To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?” Says the Lord. “I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed cattle. I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs or goats.
12 “When you come to appear before Me, who has required this from your hand, to trample My courts?
13 “Bring no more futile sacrifices; Incense is an abomination to Me. The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies—I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting.
14 “Your New Moons and your appointed feasts
My soul hates; They are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them.
15 “When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood.
16 “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil,
17 “learn to do good; Seek justice, rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, plead for the widow.”
The prophet Isaiah addresses Sodom and Gomorrah. These two cities embodied the utter corruption of mankind. They serve as examples of how corrupt and sinful mankind can be. The problem is that when Isaiah was preaching, Sodom and Gomorrah had long since been destroyed for the abominations that were committed in them. So then, to whom is the prophet Isaiah really preaching?
Isaiah is addressing the Israelites. The sins of the people of Israel had reached the level of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. The sacrifices that they made on a daily basis did nothing to appease the Lord. They had reduced the sacrifices down to work that they did which required no faith whatsoever. This is much like at the time of the Reformation when the Papists believed they were observing the sacraments correctly by observing them ex opere operato, that is, by the mere doing of them.
In short, their heart was not in them. Israel did not offer sacrifices to receive forgiveness, but did them only as a good work. Even worse is that they did not change their behavior, or show humility over their sinfulness. They thought they could go on committing the abominable acts of the false religions around them and still appease the Lord God by offering sacrifices. Their sacrifices had become an abomination to the Lord God, just like Sodom and Gomorrah. What God required was repentance, a humble heart that clung to Him alone for forgiveness.
Prayer: Lord, we beseech Thee, grant Thy people grace, to withstand the temptations of the devil, and with pure hearts and minds to follow Thee, the only God; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee, and the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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