“When you spread out your hands in prayer,
I will hide my eyes from you;
even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen.
Your hands are full of blood;
wash and make yourselves clean.
Take your evil deeds out of my sight!
Stop doing wrong, learn to do right!
Seek justice, encourage the oppressed.
Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.”
~Isaiah 1:15-17 (NIV – emphasis mine)
Such a gloomy-sounding section of Scripture that stood out to me this morning as I prayed and spent time with God. I almost didn’t share it today, honestly. I like the next section better. The one in which God promises to make our scarlet sins as white as snow. That’s so much more encouraging.
However, God wants us to read and apply all of his Word to our lives, not just the pleasant parts.
So, I swallowed a lump in my throat and asked God how this applied to me. Pleading the case of the widow, helping the fatherless, and encouraging the oppressed is what jumped out at me. It was a clear command to me to keep opening my heart and my home. To keep my hands open to those who need me. I have been struggling with how busy I am lately. Is it too much? How do I tell? God is showing me that he has called me to compassion and generosity – and I will keep trying to come down on that side of things as long as I have breath.
Thankfully, there is no blood on my hands. Thanks to the blood of Jesus, my hands are clean. (See the next section in Isaiah 1.)
Our nation’s hands, however. That’s another story.
Since Roe vs. Wade in 1973, there have been approximately 50 million legal abortions performed in this country. 50 million unborn children’s lives gone. But not as if they never existed. God heard their cries, and they are in his arms as we speak. He knows their names. He knows the plans he had for them on this earth.
We think that God does not see what we have done. We think that as long as we do enough good, that it will drown out the cries of these children. The cries of the broken hearts of men and women who have gone through abortion. (Yes, I know not all women feel this way, but many, many do.) Like Abel, their blood cries out to God from the ground.
How long will he stand aside and allow us to prosper and be blessed as a nation when so much blood is on our hands? God does not own any scales. There is no good great enough to balance out what we have done to these children, their mothers, and even some of the fathers. Any good we might place in that scale is a filthy rag. It makes no difference. In fact, God says he hates the good we do, when we think it can make up for the evil we have allowed and perpetuated. (Isaiah 1:10-14)
Doing good is not enough. It never will be.
We have to turn away from evil. We have to shun it completely, and learn to do right! It’s not enough to help the poor while we allow other evils to keep happening. We need to do the latter without neglecting the former. Repentance and doing good are meant to go hand-in-hand.
I weep for my country. So blind, so deeply entrenched in the belief that Self comes first. What a horrible lie to believe.
I know this is not a typical post for me, but it weighs so heavily on my heart. My heart hurts, almost physically, for those who don’t know the joy of salvation. The deep peace that comes from an identity rooted in Christ; in knowing that I never have to worry about being “good enough.” The gratitude that springs from knowing that, in spite of my personal sin, I am loved and forgiven by the Creator of the Universe more deeply than I could ever dream.
I am driven, not by a desire to balance some imaginary cosmic scales, but by the desire to please and serve a Father who has done nothing but love me and call me to his side. His love drives me to seek to do good, to love others the way Christ loved me first, so that they may open their eyes to see the Great Love he has for them.
Yes, he loves even those whose hands are bloody. He shed his blood so that bloody hands could be cleansed completely. Before the foot of the Cross, the ground is level – we have all fallen short. We all need Jesus.
“But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished– he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.” ~Romans 3:21-26 (NIV – emphasis mine)
He has washed me, and there is no greater height of joy than that of knowing I am in his hands, through faith in his blood shed as an atonement sacrifice! All of my own sacrifices were worthless. Everything good I could offer, unworthy of him.
Now, because of Jesus Christ, him crucified, buried, and raised on the third day, I am secure and whole – not by my own effort, but all by his. All I had to do was repent. I turned my back on evil, and lifted my eyes to the face of the One Who Died, but Lives Again. I keep my eyes fixed on his face, and he keeps my feet steady. He keeps my hands from willful sin. He forgives, over and over, when I fail because I am still bound in earthly flesh.
He is so good. I would hate to face him without the covering of his blood, that has washed me clean.
How long before he avenges the blood of the innocents? I don’t know. I do know that his patience does have a limit. (Genesis 6:3) There will come a day when he demands an answer for the blood that cries out to him ever more loudly from the hands that should have protected the weakest among us.
It’s not too late – turn to him. Wash your hands at the foot of the Cross, and be raised to walk in newness of life with the One who loves you more deeply than you will ever really know.
Grace & Peace,