The first promise I came across in Isaiah is in chapter 1, verses 18-20. The book starts out rather distressing. God is telling His people that they do not know him, that they have rebelled. He tells them that their outward deeds of sacrifices and rituals are no longer pleasing to Him because their hearts are far from Him. This chapter doesn’t end on a happy note either, but in the middle, when it seems like He is on the brink of walking away from them (so to speak), we read this beautiful promise:
18“Come now, let us reason together,”
says the LORD.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool.
19 If you are willing and obedient,
you will eat the best from the land;
20 but if you resist and rebel,
you will be devoured by the sword.”
For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.
Just when you think God is about to turn His back, He gives the Israelites, and us, that promise. He is still willing to forgive. Not just willing – eager. It doesn’t matter what we’ve done if we turn and repent. King David is an excellent example of this. He lusted, committed adultery, tried to cover it up, lied, tried to hide from his sin… God called him to repentance, and while there were still some consequences, David was forgiven. He was regarded as a man after God’s own heart. David wrote in Psalm 51:17 that “the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”
This gives me so much hope. That no matter how much I mess up, no matter how badly I sin – when I turn to God in my brokenness and ask Him to heal and forgive me, He does! And the promise in Isaiah 1 goes even further than forgiveness alone. Did you see it in verse 19? That when we are obedient, He provides for us. He blesses us. In the context of this passage, God was addressing the whole nation of Israel. And we see in their history that when they were obedient, they were blessed. But when they were disobedient, those blessings were withheld.
God calls us to a life of obedience. But He doesn’t throw huge challenges in our paths that we can’t meet. He first gives us small things. And when we are obedient in the small things, then He begins to give us more. We get more responsibility when we’ve proven our trustworthiness in the small things. We won’t always get it right – we’re human, after all. But when you know God is calling you to obedience, are you doing your best to obey? Or are you putting your fingers in your ears and singing “I can’t hear you! La la la!”? So when you mess up, when you don’t obey, don’t stress out. God promises to forgive. And He will give you more opportunities to be faithful and obedient.