God’s Inflamed Nostrils

incense

Photo credit here.

S (Scripture):  Isaiah 64:8 O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. 9 Do not be exceedingly angry, O LORD, and do not remember iniquity forever. Now consider, we are all your people.

Isaiah 65:1 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. 2 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; 3 a people who provoke me to my face continually, sacrificing in gardens and offering incense on bricks; 4 who sit inside tombs, and spend the night in secret places; who eat swine’s flesh, with broth of abominable things in their vessels; 5 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.

O (Observation):   As Isaiah’s witness starts to draw to a close, Isaiah seeks God’s mercy for God’s people.  God gives them one last reminder:  I called, but you didn’t listen, and as such, you suffer this day.   The temple has been burned down, God’s people have been scattered to foreign nations.

God reminds Isaiah that the people who were supposed to be following God have cause a great error by their actions.   The sacrifices they have offered and the self-righteousness they have dared to embrace are a “smoke in my nostril’s, a fire that burns all day long.”   I don’ think this is a good kind of fragrance, nor a  nice cozy, pleasing fire.   I believe this is God’s way of saying…your righteousness has vexed and irritated me!

As you read further, God’s mercy looks like this:   I will not forget my people…and I will save a remnant of my people.   Through the remnant, God will make good on God’s promises to bring forth a Savior…Jesus Christ.

A (Application):  How many things do we do as Christian churches in America, and how much behavior do we endorse that is counter to God’s mercy and goodness?   Do we distance ourselves from those we deem “sinners”?   Do we look at our service to others as “helping out those poor little folks” when we have much to learn from others?   Do we glorify our Sunday worship to the point that almost all of our resources go to the “sacred Sunday experience”?

We have a lot to discern and lot to repent of.   Let us consider…are our actions a “smoke in God’s nostrils, a fire that burns all day long”?

I don’t wish to make you fearful.  I simply want to know what pleases God.   I want what pleases God to be our motivation, not fear.   And so, every day, as I “Dig Daily,” I hope to seek out what is pleasing to God.   I start fro

m the position, as this Isaiah text points out, that “God is calling to me and to you, saying, ‘Here I am!  Here I am!”    And so our response is to accept God’s invitation the best way we can…humbly, peacefully, excitedly.

P (Prayer):  Lord, we seek your forgiveness…keep calling.  We appreciate your patience!  Forgive us.  Bring us hope!  Amen.

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