“Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from My sight. Cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, reprove the ruthless, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.” (Isaiah 1:16-17, NASB95)
There it is again! God’s grace and mercy. Although He is terribly frustrated with the sin of Israel’s ritualistic worship, His plea is for their repentance. He desires that their hearts change so that they would not be punished. He calls out to them to wash (rid) themselves clean from their sinful choices and turn back to the truths of God’s Word. The message for you and for me is that it is never too late, but now is the time. We need to repent and turn to God while He is still open to receive us and while our hearts aren’t so hardened that we do not care. There is nothing you have done that has/can cause God to love you less. He wants your heart. He wants to have a personal relationship with you.
Note the description God provides for the fruits (proof) of repentance. He calls His children to return to doing good, seeking justice, correcting the wrong and defending the orphans and the widows. God isn’t looking for better sacrifices and offerings. He is looking for Christlike mercy to be shown to the world around us. This is why Scriptures say in many places, “I desire mercy, not sacrifices.” People in the world out there are only going to get to know God if they experience Him through us. They are not going to experience Him through our ritualistic sacrifices. They are going to experience Him when we get ourselves dirty and dig in and help our fellow man. We need to love the people around us as Jesus has loved us.
May we today grow to understand the repentant nature that God seeks in us. May we also grow to show His love and mercy to the people He places in our lives.