Remember and Repent

Reading Time: 6 Minutes

When I read the words of Isaiah 5, I thought of Jesus’ message to the church in Ephesus: “Remember then from what you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first” (Revelation 2.5).

Isaiah 5 reminds us of how far we have fallen and calls us to repentance. We are to return to the love relationship that was ours when we first began our walk with Jesus.

The Hard Work of Disobedience

One of my friends said that nothing could keep him away from his drug dealer if he needed drugs. As a clean and sober man he could laugh at his foolishness and say, “If there were three feet of snow on the ground, I’d walk to my dealer to get what I needed.”

Isaiah described how willing people are to work to fulfill the inner craving they have for wrongdoing.

Ah, you who drag iniquity along with cords of falsehood,
who drag sin along as with cart ropes.
(Isaiah 5.18)

It is not only addiction that drives us to do whatever it takes to get what we want. As we think through the sins that we commit, we realize that we are willing to put forth some level of effort to commit them.

An old story describes the reality and tragedy of sin.

A little girl found a baby fox while walking in the forest. She brought it home and showed it to her father.

He said, “Daughter, you have to return the fox to the forest. If you keep it you will be greatly harmed.”

The girl didn’t believe her father and help the fox hidden underneath her coat. Every so often, the fox would bite her chest under the coat, until one day it bit through to her heart.

Sin may begin somewhat in innocence but eventually becomes work.

Intellectual deception is needed to keep sin hidden and out of mind.

Ah, you who call evil good
and good evil,
who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter!
(Isaiah 5.20)

Like the little girl who thought she knew better than her father, we choose our own best thinking over God’s wisdom.

Ah, you who are wise in your own eyes,
and shrewd in your own sight!
(Isaiah 5.21)

Let’s reflect again on the words of Revelation, “Remember then from what you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first” (Revelation 2.5).

The counsel of the Proverbs will help us refuse sin and turn to God.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and instruction.
(Proverbs 1.7)

Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
(Proverbs 3.7)

The best definition of the “fear of the Lord” is found in Deuteronomy 6: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might” (Deuteronomy 6.5).

Like the little girl in the story, people who think lightly of God’s wisdom and instruction are wise in their own eyes. Sin will take a bite here and there, but will ultimately reach our heart.

People with whole hearts love God, follow his guidance, and turn away from evil. They experience God’s very best for their lives because they allow his direction to be the guiding force in their lives.

Specific Issues

If we are to repent and change our behavior, what should be changed?

One verse gives a snap-shot of what it is like to engage in self-centered and pleasure-seeking behavior.

Ah, you who are heroes in drinking wine
and valiant at mixing drink.
(Isaiah 5.22)

The heroes are not famous for their love, kindness, courage, and generosity. Rather, they are only great in how much they can consume.

Like the little girl and her fox, a lifestyle that is dominated by self-centered attitudes and actions will ultimately eat into our hearts.

Justice and righteousness are two characteristics of God and his people. When we love God with all of our beings, we will seek justice for all and live righteous lives.

When we allow selfish pride and self-centered living to eat into our hearts, it will be natural to turn away justice to serve our purposes. Isaiah describes this as follows:

Who acquit the guilty for a bribe,
and deprive the innocent of their rights!
(Isaiah 5.23)

When our heart is consumed with selfishness, we care little for the gross unfairness in society.

God’s word to his church has not changed. He tells us to remember what our relationship with Jesus was like when we first began following him.

He tells us to turn away from the sin that has captured our heart and to do the basics of the faith – to love God with all our being and to follow his guidance.

He warns that if selfishness had reached our hearts, he will act in judgment. He said, “If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent” (Revelation 2.5).

About This Blog

Rudy Ross is an excellent student of Isaiah. Rudy and I have a video you can see on the Bob Spradling YouTube Chanel.

Rudy will bring a different dimension to Isaiah than what is in my blog. I hope you will check out and enjoy my interviews with him.

I am indebted to a book by Dr. John Oswalt on Isaiah for his insights into this powerful book.

If you have a prayer request, please email me at bsprad49@gmail.com or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood Baptist prayer team will pray for you.

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