“’Come now, let’s settle this,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet I will make them white as snow…’” — Isaiah 1:18
It is a strange sight this morning for south Alabama–snow. These winter tears began to fall four hours ago. Their invasion has been met with confusion and caution. Over a dozen wild turkeys have pitched down out of their roost in the pines. They are walking around in my back yard like old men with arthritis. I don’t believe they know what to make of all this. If my eyes weren’t seeing this I wouldn’t believe it myself.
The strangeness of this scene parallels the offer of a holy God in Isaiah chapter 1. Israel was a putrefying corpse of a nation. Their sins had corrupted the soul of their nation like cancer corrupts the flesh of a human body. Corporately, they were dying. Individually, they were already dead. There was no place in them where death was not working (1:5-6).
Everything that Israel had come to rely on for strength had been taken away. The cities were in ruins (1:7a, 8a) and the fields had been stripped bare (1:7b, 8b). The “best” of the people had been taken away into other nations (1:9), and their worship of God had been rejected (1:11-13). There was nothing of these people that deserved love or loyalty (1:13-14).
In their hopeless despair, in the winter of their soul, God called with an invitation. It was an invitation to life. He said, “Come now!” He said, “I can turn the plague of sin into the purity of snow!” God shocked a nation with an offer that would take them from death to life, from darkness to light , from hopeless despair to Heavenly deliverance!
Why would God do that for them? Why would God do that for us? God offers us pardon because of His great love for us. God offers us pardon because of His great character and glory. God offers us pardon because He is who He is! He is Lord, He is Love, He is Life, He is Liberty!
When I look out and see the snow covering the ground this morning, I see something that is altogether new…something that I have never seen. The whole world has changed in my back yard. What was dark or dull at best is now a delight!
If you have never been changed by the power of the living Lord, you can be changed today. Your dark heart can be as pure and clean as new-fallen snow. He can take your sin away and give you life. Will you repent (Luke 13:3)? Will you turn from your sin and receive God’s free gift of forgiveness and life through Jesus Christ (John 1:12)?