Isaiah 1:18  “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.”

     The great prophet Isaiah tells us that God wants to talk to us.  God is willing to reason with us.  He wants a relationship with us rather than the empty, unthinking and blind worship of fools and hypocrites.

     God is telling Judah to stop going through the motions of empty, meaningless religious ritual; “Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them.” (Isaiah 1:13,14)   God is not impressed with pomp and circumstance or beautiful liturgy or grand vestments.  This kind of stuff, carried on by liars, cheats and hypocrites, He hates!

     Centuries later, Jesus would tell us that God hasn’t changed.  Charity shouldn’t be trumpeted seeking glory from men (Matthew 6:2).  Prayer should be simple, direct and between you and God  (Matthew 6:5-7).  The things you do for God should be between you and God and not for all men to see (Matthew 6:16-18).   Later Jesus in one of His most damning indictments of the religiously self-righteous warned us; “But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.” (Matthew 23:5-7)
   

God does want to reason with us.  Why is it so hard to listen?  Why is it so hard to enter into the give and receiving of a relationship with God?  His Holy Word makes sense;  “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16,17)  What’s getting in the way?

     Pride!  Have you ever tried to reason with a teenager that is physically mature but doesn’t have life experience.  They have adult feelings and desires but no wisdom to exert healthy discipline over their bodies.  Immediate gratification drives their will.  For many, life is about gratification.  They never grow up and they have a kind of selfish immature pride – me first!

    There is a more terrible pride that comes from growth; but not healthy growth.    People acquire it over time by accumulation of wealth, education and living.  They become educated but have no wisdom.  They know things but not the limitations of things.  They become experienced but have no integration of this experience into a meaningful whole.  Like a book without a binding their life experiences are disorganized pages out of order in a big messy pile.  The pride arising out of it, is more like the encrustation of barnacles on a ship’s hull.  It grows and grows; over time, dragging the ship down and slowing  its progress.  It’s truly a kind of ponderous sinking pride.

     It takes humility to really talk with someone.  Pride talks at people.  Humility listens.   God listens to us; “You have heard the desire of the humble; You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear to vindicate the orphan and the oppressed . . . ” (Psalm 10:17,18)  Reasoning is based more on listening  than talking.  A humble person shuts up and listens;  “Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.” (Proverbs 19:20)  His Word promises to lift up the humble; “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” (James 4:10)
 

 There will come a time for every person when life will humble them.  In that moment of pain or mourning your ears will be open for a brief time.  When life deflates us pride goes whether it is the immature ‘me first’ pride or the ‘I know better than you’ barnacle pride of accumulation.  Ever so briefly we have a chance to hear God’s still small voice and really listen.

     Ever so quietly Jesus knocks.  He is always there wanting relationship – to be in our lives.  Ready to clean up our lives and lift us up not drag us down.

    “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20)

     Come Lord Jesus!

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