The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider.
– Isaiah 1:3
Let’s begin our day with light from word of God even in this dark world where people have become strangers to their creator.
We are moving towards Christmas as one of the right time to proclaim our faith and belief in God through Christ, that we may show the hope to lost and sinful generation as Isaiah showed to Judah in those dark days by opening up sins of Israel that abandoned the way of God.
(Is 1:3) God is answering to our lack of good sense in following Him, contextually it is addressed to Judah about there forgetful and self-centered life, which is living independently of God.
God spoke through Isaiah showed us His way of teachings to Israel in old days as recorded and passed on to us unto this day we shall not fall apart or forget His ways even in all days to come. As He spoke himself through Isaiah lets see His message.
Isaiah known as the “evangelical Prophet” prophesied during the period of the divided kingdom (around 790-700 BC), his major message was to direct southern kingdom (Judah) to repent from their empty ritualism and the idolatry into which so many of the people had fallen, his call was to the nation of Judah to turn back to God and to tell of God’s salvation plan.
Now you might have observed the word “Israel” is used in the passage, but Isaiah dwelt in Judah (i.e, Southern Kingdom) and this was sure that his prophecy was addressed to Jews in general and not just limited to specific groups in that region.
Serious fault of God’s people
Herein Is.1-v3, God is referring people’s foolishness to animals instincts as “ox….donkey” they got more power of explanation compared to God’s people who break fellowship with Him. Even stupid animals as donkeys and ox know their source of comfort, support and protection and submission to their master which is natural, but the behaviour of God’s people towards creator has become unnatural and that their hard heart made them not returning back to God even when the wrath of God is coming. God often used terms to show us His will, as in Jeremiah 8:7 Israel is referred to birds by describing birds use their natural instinct to survive ie., hereditary, passed on from the parents especially senses approaching danger. In contrast this highlighting stupidity of chosen people rejecting creator, so God uses this illustration.
The Whole importance factor is,
- God is without sin,
- He alone can help us to overcome our sin.
- We must be relying on His conditions as He is authoritative in power and moral perfection.
- We must never treat God as common or ordinary.
- He alone deserves our devotion and praise.
- He is always truthful, fair, and just.
So, are we showing our gratitude and ownership that we must show to our creator or we went on finding our own ways?
Lack of consistency
Israel was surrounded by pagan and idolatrous nations and they were influenced by those practices, So God cried through Isaiah’s voice to highlight the ways of Israel and to show His mercy of protection unto them (elect) from judgement which was to come and the only way to escape was by their repentance “That is the beauty of God’s holiness”.
The major problem with natural man is the pride and so with God’s people (Jews) that pride has built self-righteousness, even by their lip they knew God but lacked in the understanding of knowing His will and ways.
A simple test to know own heart is asking how much we know about God (self-examination) how much we know about Him in terms of His character, His attributes, His likes and dislikes, etc…
This is clear that God wants us to build the relationship with Him so we might know Him and do His will in His way and fashion. Things have to be performed in His ways, not ours.
What that means?
Dr John Monroe puts it in this way “We look through scripture as our goal to become like Christ which is main product & then that automatically brings its by-products like spiritual fruits” fact is we don’t concentrate to produce spiritual fruits by law or by own works in fact if we comply with God’s word and live accordingly then we are doing those spiritual gifts within us in love as it is gifted from God. So we don’t concentrate to produce spiritual fruits which are unnatural to gain without Christ as personal savior and if such things are practiced then they turn all effort to be ritualistic.
If Israel had those problems then we church are not different from them [Ecclesiastes 1:9 …. and there is no new thing under the sun. ] We failed too in some nor different part, in different ways. The facts as we all are fallen creators (Genesis 3) where mankind failed to show obedience to God brought curse upon them, which continued in all of us and as a natural man we don’t do anything good within (Mark 7:21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts….). Even when we hear word of God and yet don’t understand it, we still pretend to be wise outwardly “is it not sin?”, “is it lack of response?”.
When God said “Israel doth not know” He is also addressing to the members of the church. God is calling us and speaking every day to us through His words how to live our days on this temporal earth under His care and power. Now one may hear the word of God and may not lay it to his own heart, then that shall be the difference between knowledge and wisdom.
To define in context “knowledge” is the gathering of facts and data that are recorded in the Bible which God spoke, and “Wisdom” is the ability to recognize and find out depths of scripture and knowing the meanings, reason; why God spoke it, and what it means to our life.
Let us illustrate from Jim berg’s way of illustration “Write on paper our names with right hand and after that switch to opposite hand and write again, where Dr. Berg demonstrates, when we write with regular hand we do it as practice without much thinking involved (typical human nature is observed) but when doing it with opposite hand then we start thinking a lot on how to form letters and words…” well that is how we have to study Bible, God is saying to think on what I said. This is how one can put on God’s words into their own heart. “This is an illustration of wisdom”.
Matthew Henry says,
“In consideration of what we do know is as great enemy to us in religion as ignorance of what we should know”
Truth is, man is inconsiderate towards himself in reference to his best interests. As we see in daily life people drink alcohol even though they know it is not good for our body, so with smoking with huge information of negative consequences they still do it, and that is one of the clear demonstration of man’s inability to live fruitful life without God.
Watch own attitude
It is important and necessary to keep watching our ways, because our ways separate us from God which takes us to death, disbelief in God is like striking Him out of our lives and bringing chaos and darkness in our life, just as taking the sun out of the solar system. Our human life is built to know Him (God) as that was the design of creation but if people do not know Him then they have slain themselves.
Yet despite Israel’s rebellion, God still graciously addressed them as my people.
Yet our rebellious attitude in grieving God, He still looks on us and asks us to return back. (Isaiah 1:18, Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.) He promises to purge our sin and washes us and make clean, which is not on basis of our merit or effort but by saving power of Lord.
Answer is simple,
Do your part, and God will not withhold His grace, by which you shall be enabled to do all required of you.
By time and use this exercise, however ungrateful at first, will become more easy and pleasant.
All God is asking us is to line up our thoughts and acts according to His ways as spoke in old times from prophets and in last days by His Son. He is watching us curiously as Shepard watches there folks and cares them.
- The Biblical Illustrator,
- Ryrie Study notes,
- J. Macarthur word references (related verses)
- Matthew Henry Quotes
- Life application study bible
- Influence of FCI Biblical counseling
- King James Version Bible