Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Isaiah 1:22-25 -- On Purifying Ourselves as Silver

"Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water:
Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them.
Therefore saith the Lord, the Lord of hosts, the mighty One of Israel, Ah, I will ease me of mine adversaries, and avenge me of mine enemies:
And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin:"
Isaiah 1:22-25

These verses are talking about the corruption, probably both literal and figurative, of Zion. The progression here is interesting.  The purity that God is looking for in us is lost... symbolically, our silver is mixed with tin.  More literally, our leaders are rebellious, running with thieves, looking for bribes and doing what will reward themselves the most.  They aren't concerned with orphans, widows... people who are homeless and needy and have no way to support themselves.

So, says God, I am going to relieve myself of the burden of this corruption, and solve these problems.  And when he says "avenge," we expect fireworks and lightning bolts, right?  But instead, God says that he will purge away our dross, and take away our tin. Admittedly, God turning his hand upon us and purging us is not a calm or pain-free image.  Purifying silver requires very high heat.  Some other translations say "I will melt you down and skim off your slag," "will burn away your dross," or "remove your impurities with bleach."  None of this seems pleasant.  But just the idea of *fixing* us instead of throwing us away or replacing us is an amazing idea, filled with hope and love.

Sometimes in our lives we are God's adversaries, and we work exactly opposite to his will.  Even so, he doesn't want to destroy us or cast us away.  He wants to help us become pure again.  He wants us to be his children, our best selves, and to reconcile with him.  Today, let's change.  Let's repent.  Let's purify ourselves so that God doesn't have to encourage us to turn around in high-heat or more painful ways.  Let's not be rebellious or run with thieves. :)  Let's look to others before ourselves, helping people who can't help themselves, and offering them shelter, food, compassion, and love.  Let's be pure silver by doing God's work and making the world a better place.

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