I sat and sat trying to find the perfect story to explain Isaiah 48. I wanted to tell how we all take Gods promises and use them to glorify ourselves. Like the time that God honored my prayer for more business and I decided the growth was because of my superior product knowledge. I also wanted to tell about how we all have carved idols, we just name them other things. For example, I asked God for a car so that I can get to work more easily and he granted my request. I bought a Cadillac and quickly rose to the top of the parking lot. I am sure thankful for his great provision. Heck, I even tell anyone who asks that it was a gift from God.
If I were to write that story, I would also have to explain that these prayers are just like the Israelites. Isaiah lashes out at them in the very first verse. He illustrates that we are quick to invoke God’s name in all things, but our actions don’t reflect his commands. This is where it gets hard because people don’t want to hear about God’s commands. They only want to know about how loving and merciful he is. Besides, if he didn’t want us to sin, he wouldn’t have given us the desire to do so, right? That conversation would have taken us all the way back to the Garden of Eden. I would have to remind the reader that our bad choices demanded that God establish rules, even rules that are impossible to keep. Our failure to keep them illuminates the Truth. They can show us when we are stealing glory from him. The story would conclude with an explanation of why we are here. It would say God created us for his good pleasure and to give him glory. The answer is easy really. In fact, the answer to all of our problems lies right there. Give him the glory. When we do, he returns peace and righteousness. When we don’t, we get cut off and destroyed. In the end, I wonder why we didn’t pray for his glory and our righteousness in the first place.
If I were to write that story, I would feel really awful for having gotten it wrong all these years. I would wonder if there is still hope for me and if God could still love me. I would shed a river of tears feeling hopeless and guilty. And then I would remember Jesus.
Someday, I will write that story.