I was ready to be sought out by those who did not ask,
to be found by those who did not seek me.
I said, “Here I am, here I am,”
to a nation that did not call on my name.
I held out my hands all day long
to a rebellious people,
who walk in a way that is not good,
following their own devices;
a people who provoke me
to my face continually,
sacrificing in gardens
and offering incense on bricks;
who sit inside tombs
and spend the night in secret places;
who eat the flesh of pigs,
with broth of abominable things in their vessels;
who say, “Keep to yourself;
do not come near me, for I am too holy for you.”
These are a smoke in my nostrils,
a fire that burns all day long.
See, it is written before me:
I will not keep silent, but I will repay;
I will indeed repay into their laps
their iniquities and their ancestors’ iniquities together,
says the Lord;
because they offered incense on the mountains
and reviled me on the hills,
I will measure into their laps
full payment for their actions.
Thus says the Lord:
As the wine is found in the cluster,
and they say, “Do not destroy it,
for there is a blessing in it,”
so I will do for my servants’ sake
and not destroy them all.
I will bring forth descendants from Jacob
and from Judah inheritors of my mountains;
my chosen shall inherit it,
and my servants shall settle there. ~ Isaiah 65:1-9
As you get to the end of this passage, there seems to be a lot of judgment coming from God's direction.
But re-read the beginning. This is a God who keeps trying and trying to be found. "Here I am!!"
This is a God who wants to be called.
A God who keeps holding out hands of deliverance just to have them be slapped away.
How frustrating that must be!
Have you ever tried to get someone's attention? Tried over and over to get them to see how much you care? How willing you are to help?
Now, I'm not talking about stalker-ish level caring. I mean, someone you have compassion for - someone who needs help that you can offer - but for whatever reason (pride? denial? disinterest?) keeps pushing you away?
At what point do you give up trying?
It seems like God is ready to give up here, but we know how the story continues. This is a God who, no matter how frustrated, keeps showing up with hope that we will notice.
Help me to see you, O Lord, and not to push you away, Amen