Abandoning it all
Seek God while he’s here to be found, pray to him while he’s close at hand. Let the wicked abandon their way of life and the evil their way of thinking. Let them come back to God, who is merciful, come back to our God, who is lavish with forgiveness. (Isaiah 55:6)
During a time when the nation of Israel stood divided into two kingdoms and were constantly threatened by attacks from Assyria and Egypt, the prophet Isaiah is called to write these words - a prophesy of redemption to those who would seek it. The nation had been mostly deaf and disobedient to the words of God through the prophets - in fact, if they could break the rules, many of them did. Isaiah was called to focus on the redemption that would come through the Messiah (Christ), but the divided nations of Judah and Israel stood in opposition to much of what they knew they should be doing. Isn't it just like us independent humans to choose our own way of doing things, even when we know it stands in complete opposition to what we know to be right and true? Even worse, the two kingdoms did much to 'display' the 'look' of righteousness, but in reality, they were living without any form of intimate relationship with God. In today's vernacular, we'd call them hypocrites.
Do you ever stop to consider scripture and just have one of those 'huh' moments? You know - those times when you just sit and ponder the 'why' behind what you are reading and then realize you might have a bit of the same kind of attitude or behavior. If you find that happening from time to time don't get discouraged. It is just God's way of reminding you (and me) just how much you are loved. God only exposes our hypocrisy in order to help us realize he has something so much more for each of us. In fact, he shows us where we have a 'facade' of righteousness, but lack the 'heart' of right-living. Anything short of 'heart-investment' into the 'right-living' we do is just nothing more than hypocrisy. Did I step on any toes with that one? Remember, God talks to me about this stuff first, then he allows me to talk with you!
Abandoning our way of thinking affects our way of living. Whenever we compromise our beliefs, we will see a change in our living - our 'heart' for right-living will be affected. We might put up a good front, but the reality is that we are like the kid who is sitting down on the outside, but standing up on the inside. God warned his people to avoid certain things because he knew it would begin to affect their 'heart' for right-living. He warned them not engage in certain behaviors they might see around them because he knew those would prohibit the development of solid morals. The 'heart' of the mankind is really all God had in mind as he gave instructions to avoid certain thinking/actions/behaviors and to embrace others. If you have ever developed a wrong way of thinking, you know how hard it is to break free from it. It is much easier to avoid it in the first place!
It is a wonderful place to come to - the place of forgiveness. The place where God embraces you with his grace and goodness. It is a far more beautiful place to never have abandoned that place of grace and goodness in the first place! Just sayin!