Religion without Righteousness Vain Isa 1:10-20
The prophet points out, first the misery that had overtaken the country, Isa 1:4-9 ; and then the sins of the ruling classes, Isa 1:10 ; Isa 1:17 ; Isa 1:21-23 . What may be called personal and private sins, such as drunkenness, vanity, bribery, and the oppression of the poor, are viewed in their public hearing, as bringing wrath and disaster on the whole nation. No man can sin by himself. His most private sins react on the whole community. Thistle-down floats far and wide. In reply, the nation pointed to the splendid ritual and innumerable sacrifices of the Temple service. But these observances only added to the tale of their sins, because they were formal and perfunctory. The sacrifice of God is a broken and contrite heart. The outward is absolutely worthless, unless it is the expression of the inward and the spiritual. But where a pure and holy spirit is present, the simplest forms are magnificent in their significance and value. To atone becomes the base of a ladder to heaven, and the thorn-bush flames with Deity. But forgiveness is freely offered to the guilty. Crimson and scarlet are the most lasting of all colors, and their removal impresses the completeness of God’s pardoning love.