There is a debate over nature versus nurture. Do we, as humans, come equipped with the knowledge of right or wrong (nurture) or do we have to learn it? Some will argue that people won’t know unless they are taught. I am not here to settle the debate but show you what Isaiah says. He tells us to clean up our act and learn to do what is good.
Wash yourselves. Cleanse yourselves. Remove your evil deeds from my sight. Stop doing evil. Learn to do what is good. Pursue justice. Correct the oppressor. Defend the rights of the fatherless. Plead the widow’s cause.”
Lost Their Way
The Israelites had lost their way by the time Isaiah came along. There was a long line of wicked kings, sprinkled with a few righteous ones, after Solomon. Add to that the priests leading the people astray for their personal gain and you have a nation that needs to get right before God. Some of Isaiah’s first words were to stop doing evil and learn to do what is good. Unfortunately, Israel didn’t listen, and they were sent packing to exile for seventy years.
There are times where we lose our way chasing after sinful desires. In his grace, Jesus calls us back to him. In our heart, there is a feeling of dirtiness. All we want to do is wash ourselves of the sins of our past. When we come to that realization, we need to take the steps necessary to get clean. First, we need to wash ourselves with the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ. His work of atonement is the only thing that will cleanse us. Next, we need to get rid of all the idols and routines that lead us into sin. Change your path so you won’t return.
It Can Be Contagious
Part of the process of coming back to God is to learn to do good. Isaiah points our several areas we can do good in; Pursue justice, correct the oppressor, defend the fatherless, and plead the widow’s cause. Did you notice that all of those acts of justice are for those suffering? Doing good for others takes our attention off of ourselves which is one of the most productive things we can do. On top of that helping, the helpless shows us that our circumstances aren’t that bad. Learning to do good can be contagious.