hear the word of the LORD, you rulers of sodom! give ear to the teaching of our God, you people of gomorrah!  “what to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the LORD; i have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of well-fed beasts; i do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats.

“when you come to appear before me, who has required of you this trampling of my courts? bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination to me. new moon and sabbath and the calling of convocations— i cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly. your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates; they have become a burden to me; i am weary of bearing them. when you spread out your hands, i will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, i will not listen; your hands are full of blood.

wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.

[isaiah 1:10-17]


in this passage, God calls out his people through the prophet isaiah because of their hypocritical worship. rather than true worship leading the people to humble purity of heart and care for the people around them, the people used worship as a way to try and manipulate God for selfish gain.

that seems crazy to me… until i think about the conditions i put on worship of God.

until i think about the days filled with sin that i then show up to church and interact with God’s people and sing worship to God like nothing is wrong.

in tomorrow’s passage, we will get a glimpse of the grace of God. but for today, we have a command in verses 16-17. this command was given to the israelites in isaiah’s time, but i believe this command applies to us today as well.

this command isn’t intended to be completed all at once, rather, it brings heart change through obedience. the command to learn to do good indicates a length of time involved in this process. just as we will never be perfect in this life, we are still called to aim to live lives honoring to God.

so today,
– how can you start the process of making yourself clean?
– what do you need to do to remove evil from your eyes?
– what is the first step you can take today to learn to do good?
– is there somewhere in your life that you need to speak up to seek justice or correct oppression?
– do you know an orphan or widow who needs care?

wrestle with these questions with the Lord.


may he make us clean, because he’s the only one who can.



~ john sandman