The Israelites are called to repent and return to the Lord because He is the only one Who can save and heal them.
Isaiah 1:18: ‘“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.’ NKJV
There are verse references here that refer to Jesus’ death and resurrection on the third day:
Luke 24:46: ‘Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day,’ NKJV
Acts 10:40: ‘Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly,’ NKJV
1 Corinthians 15:4: ‘and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,’ NKJV
The resurrection of Jesus is prophesied here. There is hope for the Israelites as well as the rest of the people in His return.
The Israelites are told to pursue the Lord, but we should too. God’s Will must be our first pursuit and priority. If we don’t, we are liable to fall into the trap of idolatry and putting other things or people before Him, just as the Israelites did before their capture.
When we make God our first priority, we are more in tune with Him which makes it easier to discover His Will. Don’t know where to start? Reading the Bible and obeying Jesus is the best first step you could make!
God has always been there and He always will be. He will never change. That makes it easier to learn about and trust Him. Because ‘“God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?’ – Numbers 23:19 NKJV
Due to their faithlessness, the people of Judah and Ephraim are judged by God and then slain because He desires mercy and knowledge of Him more than sacrifices and burnt offerings.
Jesus later told the Jews the same thing that God desires mercy more than sacrifices.
Matthew 9:13: ‘But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”‘ NKJV
We know that God wants us to repent and have mercy, be obedient and righteous. He desires it more than making sacrifices to Him. Obedience and having a relationship with God has always been more important to Him than religion and a ton of rules.
The Israelites aren’t the only ones that needed to repent. As sinners, we need to also.
Rather than showing mercy and increasing their knowledge of God, they disobeyed and dealt treacherously with Him. They were evil and murderous, with blood on their hands. The people of Israel and Judah turned from God and they suffered for it.
God appointed ‘a harvest’ for Judah as well, when He returns the captives. Harvest has more than one meaning but since the harvest spoken of here happens after they come back from Assyria, I take it to mean that they will reap goodness. Since they suffered the consequences of their sin already through their captivity, God brings them back to Him and shows them mercy, because they repented and returned to Him.
God has good things waiting for all of us. We just have to know and obey Him and show mercy and love to others.
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