How deeply the Lord loves His children! So many Christians never venture into the Old Testament, because they say it’s too difficult to understand, but I love the Old Testament. If we take the time to study the Old Testament, it will help us to understand the New Testament better. When we study the Old Testament, we see the character and the nature of God. Think of it this way:
- The Old Testament is the prequel
- The New Testament is the fulfillment of the Old Testament
- The life we are living is part of the sequel.
Therefore, let’s take a look at this first chapter of Isaiah. We’re going to study this chapter a little at a time.
These visions concerning Judah and Jerusalem came to Isaiah son of Amoz during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah — all kings of Judah. (Isaiah 1:1 NLT)
The first verse is packed with information.
- The first thing we learn is that a man named Isaiah, had visions concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
- The next thing we learn is that Isaiah was the son of a man named Amoz.
- The final thing we learn is that Isaiah had these visions over a long period of time (see Kings’ reigns below)…
- King Uzziah (788–736 BC) Reigned 52 years
- King Jotham (758–742 BC) Reigned 16 years
- King Ahaz (742–726 BC) Reigned 16 years
- King Hezekiah (726–697 BC) Reigned 29 years
2 Hear, O heavens! Listen, O earth! This is what the LORD says: “The children I raised and cared for have turned against Me. 3 Even the animals — the donkey and the ox — know their owner and appreciate his care, but not My people Israel. No matter what I do for them, they still do not understand.” (Isaiah 1:2-3 NLT)
Right away, Isaiah calls the heavens and the earth to listen to what the Lord says. You see, although the children of Israel are God’s chosen people, His word is important for all to hear… those in the heavens… the angels… the cherubim… the seraphim… the devil and his demons… all who live on earth…
Do you notice in that verse that Isaiah is crying for the earth to listen? He didn’t say, “Listen, O Israel!” That means that this message is important for all who dwell on earth to hear. Do you see? This is a message that is not just for the Jewish people. God’s word is timeless. It’s not just for the people of long ago. It is for the people of today as well. Therefore, my friends, I cry out to you, “Hear, O heavens! Listen, O earth! Listen to what the Lord says!”
This is what the LORD says: “The children I raised and cared for have turned against Me. 3 Even the animals — the donkey and the ox — know their owner and appreciate his care, but not My people Israel. No matter what I do for them, they still do not understand.” Can you hear the voice of the Lord as He cries out? Do you feel His sorrow?
If you’ve ever raised a child who turned against you, even if only for an instant, do you remember the pain you felt? Do you remember your grief, when your child rejected you? Did you try to reason it out in your mind? “This child I raised and cared for has turned against me.”
I remember how I felt when my children rebelled against me. It broke my heart. I remember thinking of the love that I had lavished on my children, only to arrive at that moment when they rebelled against me. And I can remember thinking and saying something very similar to what God says here. “Even the dog appreciates me, but not my child. After all I’ve done for them, they still don’t get it. No matter how much love I’ve given them… no matter how much I’ve sacrificed… they still don’t understand.”
For all of the men and women who are parents, I’m sure you can understand these feelings. It’s very likely that you’ve experienced them too. When you’ve gone through that experience with your children, did you ever stop to think of that time when you rebelled against your parents? Did it occur to you that, “Oh my goodness! This is how I made my parents feel”?
Has it occurred to you that this is how your heavenly Father feels when we rebel against Him? He spoke those words, because His heart’s desire is that you would understand. Do you have any idea how much God loves you… how much He has sacrificed for you?
He loves you so much that He poured His life out for you on the cross, and all He asks from any of us is that we would return His love and obey Him. Isn’t that all you’ve asked of your children?
Think about it… why does a good parent discipline his or her children? Isn’t it because we want them to grow up to be responsible adults, who are equipped to succeed in life? When you require obedience from your child, isn’t it because you know the dangers that could come to your child if he/she disobeys?
Is it possible that God calls us to obedience because He knows the dangers that we will encounter in this life, and He wants to protect us from them? Is it possible that as any good parent, He wants us to grow up to be the men and women He created us to be, so that we will succeed in life?
Hear, O heavens! And listen, O earth! The Lord says that He formed you in your mother’s womb. While you were hidden from view, God carefully knit you together in His image, and before you ever drew your first breath — indeed, before the foundations of the earth were laid, He knew you and had a plan for your life. His plan was for your good. He wanted to give you a wonderful future filled with hope. He wanted to adopt you and be your Daddy, and all that He’s ever wanted from you, is that you would be His baby and love Him with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. He said that if you love Him, you will obey Him. Therefore, I ask you, my beloved friend, Do you love Him?
Cheryl A. Showers