A Heart like New Snow

“Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are as red as crimson, they will become like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best of the land. But if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.”For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.…

Its the first snow of the season and as I was driving I was awakened to its beauty. It is amazing how just a little of it can change your perspective.

I have driven the same road over and over so much that I have it memorized, but one snow and it is a wonderland. Even the bare branches are so beautiful with their dusting of white. It’s as if I had never seen them before.

As I drove, the Lord reminded me of Isaiah 1:18-20, in fact, it had been part of the Sunday sermon at church the day before. I love it when He repeats the same thing over and over to me because it shows that He wants to have a longer conversation with me than just a fast word. He knows my love language is time and conversation.

 It’s a special scripture to me because it is one that helped me turn the corner towards Jesus in the first place. It is an invitation.

I have always struggled with authority. I don’t mean to but my nature is rather rebellious, stubborn, and self-reliant. I have gotten ahead of God so many times, or worse – wandered off my own way only to find myself lost and having to turn around.

After a particularly rough period of my life, I ended up in rehab. I had been an alcoholic but that morphed into full-blown heroin addiction. By the time I ended up in rehab I was almost dead, certainly inside if not everything on the outside of me.

As part of the program, we had to memorize verses. One of the first that stuck out to me was Isaiah 1:4-8

Oh, what a sinful nation! Their guilt is like a heavy weight that they must carry. They are evil, destructive children. They left the Lord and insulted the Holy One of Israel. They turned away and treated him like a stranger.

What good will it do to keep punishing you? You will continue to rebel. Your whole head and heart are already sick and aching.  From the bottom of your feet to the top of your head, every part of your body has wounds, cuts, and open sores. You have not taken care of them. Your wounds have not been cleaned and bandaged.

Your land is in ruins, and your cities are in flames. Your enemies have taken your land, and foreigners are taking what it produces. It looks like some foreigners destroyed it.

It was absolutely true…. My whole head and heart were sick and aching. I hadn’t taken care of myself. I was in ruins, and the cause… was rebellion.

Funny, I had never looked at rebellion as a cause of sickness before. In fact, I had literally worn my rebellion as a badge of honor. Oh, it looked like leather jackets and spiked collars and colored hair but that was just the costume. The true rebellion was that my heart had run away from God. 

I had pulled away so hard that I was like a kid whose parents are trying to hold their hand while crossing the street. Some kids recognize the danger of fast cars, and speeding trucks. They leave their small hands cupped inside the big one and wait to be lead to safety. 

However, some children, rip their hands from protection, saying they don’t need it. They pull away so hard that they end up in the road without even watching to see if it’s safe yet. These are so intent on their own ability to run their lives that they throw away their safety to prove the point and I, of course, was the second child.

I had to face the realities of the consequences of my actions, the brokenness I had let in, all of the things in my life that were in ruins. I pictured myself beating my head against a brick wall over and over, knowing it hurt but then doing the same thing again. Addicts know it hurts. They just don’t know how to stop.

Fortunately, there is a beautiful invitation later in Isaiah 1. God does not plan to leave us broken. That amazes me. I have needed every second, fourth, and hundredth chance he’s given me, and those chances come with new choices. He doesn’t do it for us, he invites.

“Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD.

Why would Jesus invite when He could force himself on us? That is the great mystery. He lays the choice back in front of us again and again. The shame is that the self-deception and delusions of the world keep calling to us to make a bad choice. 

It’s like when the audience in the show “Let’s Make A Deal” is yelling as if they know which curtain the free car is behind. They don’t know, but we take it for granted that the loudest, most confident voices must be correct… right? Right. (Add sarcastic voice here)

The voices are loud right now. So loud and so confident that they know sin is the right choice. Bold- and in your face, and on your tv, and phone and laptop and, and, and, and after awhile the rebellion sounds like the truth- and the true truth is lost in the noise. Sometimes an echo from far off sometimes reminds us that there might be another voice, but it’s easy to miss.

“Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD.

He is inviting you to bring all of you. Not just your “blind faith”. The world calls faith blind because it is blind. It is a horde of self-assured blind people who will not admit their impairment because they have never experienced anything else. Faith is not blind- it has evidence!

Hebrews 11:1 “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.”

When we look through its lenses, it is better than the best eyeglasses. Faith enables us to see a world we had no idea existed because we were too blind to see it. We become EYE-witnesses. 

2 Peter 1:16- “For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.”

1 John 1:1-“What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life—”

I am not saying this to be hard on those with spiritual blindness. I walked around the planet for most of my years, completely confident in my own “rightness”. My heart is not to condemn anyone, or call names. The problem is if you watch people tripping over the same thing over and over it is not loving or kind to watch them without saying anything, especially if you know the cure for their pain.

In 1 Peter 2:8, NIV: “and, ‘A stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.’ …..

What are they tripping over in the dark? Jesus Himself.

“As you come to him, the living Stone–rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him– you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

For in Scripture it says: ‘See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.’Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,’and, ‘A stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.’ They stumble because they disobey the message–which is also what they were destined for.” 1 Peter 2:2-8

They trip and fall because they have rejected the cornerstone (the essential part by which everything else is measured). They stumble because they don’t like the message.

But I love verse nine! 

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”

“But YOU!” Who? YOU! You who are reading this. Not some abstract person that I will never meet. You, who the Holy Spirit knew would be reading this. You, who He has been calling out to. You, who he has burned my heart with a message for. You, who had the patience to read all the way down to here. You, who He knows and loves so intimately with a love you don’t even know how to receive yet.

You, at the beginning of a turn in your life to a place that is deeper, when all the rebellion and mistrust and misunderstanding are put to death and you are ready to see what a life with Jesus as your cornerstone would be like. You.

“Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are as red as crimson, they will become like wool.” Isaiah 1:18

The snow I mentioned at the beginning of this, it’s covering the trees now. They look new, glorious. Their ordinary forms have been elevated into a beauty that takes my heart to new places. 

I never saw this verse the same way before but as the Holy Spirit quickened me this morning I saw it. The sin is covered, it’s not seen anymore, I can see and be seen through new eyes. When the Father looks at me he doesn’t see the ugly damage of rebellion, he sees the newness, the glory of the covering of Jesus.

If it is snowing where you are, or if you see it some time I hope you will remember this verse, and wonder with me at the miracle that Jesus would cover our sins if we would just let Him; that he would hold our hand and lead and guide if we will let our little hands stay in His.

He will give us a new chance to come to Him with all that we are and all that we think. He will take even our pain, and sickness, and blindness and heal us if we will come, reason, and bring what we have. Yes, we have to bring our sin. We can’t pretend that its not there. He wants it. He wants to take it and give you something better.

The invitation is to “Come”. 

Revelation 22:17– “The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come, and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.

Romans 10:13 “For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Photo by Justin Snyder Photo on Unsplash

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