Wednesday, January 25th
The headlines from the New York Times today are:
Trump Plans Mexican Wall and Sets Sights on Immigration
Battle Advances, but Peril Abounds on Mosul’s Front Lines
Trump Threatens Federal Intervention in Chicago, Citing ‘Carnage’
Reading the Prophet Isaiah on January 25, 2017
What does God require? Isaiah 1.16-17 gives the answer.
Isaiah 1.16-17 – Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, 17 learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow. Repentance is essential. It includes a change of attitude. Unless people accept their own responsibility, God’s grace cannot be applied to them.
Here is the concern that modern religion must consider as we read about ancient faith. If our religious exercises are manipulative, we are cheating ourselves. We are substituting a genuine relationship the greatest Being of all and replacing it with merely satisfying our own desires. A critical look at our religious practices is crucial for today. “Religious ceremony that tends to put God in the past, to become magical, to be man-centered and man-pleasing, to make God familiar, and to blur his moral demands, is a positive threat to the kind of relationship with God that Isaiah and the other prophets knew was possible” (John Oswalt, Commentary on the Book of Isaiah).
Prayer for January 25, 2017
Dear God, please grant us an inward look. Please help us to see ourselves, just as you see us. Please help us align our lives with your will. May we on an individual basis and on a national scale learn to do good, seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the helpless and pray for those who are most vulnerable. May our individual actions and public policy reflect your character.
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