June 24 I Sunday
“‘Come now, let us settle the matter,’ says the LORD. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.’” —Isaiah 1:18
Marriage involves two kinds of togetherness. There is a side-by-side togetherness in which a couple moves towards a shared purpose in life. They agree on major decisions such as careers to pursue, where to live and how they will raise their children. The other is a face-to-face togetherness in which there is intimacy between a couple reserved only for them. It is where they allow their vulnerabilities to show and convey their deepest thoughts, desires and aspirations to each other.
Breakdown in marriage often begins when the busyness of life buries face-to-face interactions beneath side-by-side concerns. If we fail to make quality time with our spouses, we may manage the occasional, “Are you doing okay?” but soon find the intimacy once shared slowly dissipating. This is not healthy for marriage, and neither is it healthy in our relationship with God. We can be fully aware of His presence yet keep Him on the periphery of our lives and forget, neglect or even abandon a face-to-face relationship with Him.
Isaiah 1:4 warns of an even greater danger: a “back-to-back” relationship. He laments Israel’s broken fellowship with God, saying, “They have forsaken the LORD; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on Him.” Israel’s history, influenced by pagan nations, is filled with repeated rebellions against the Lord that turned them to idolatry. The people of Israel knew their heritage and proudly claimed they were the people of God, but they had stopped living in intimate relationship with Him.
Thankfully, God offers a remedy. Through Isaiah, He says to His people, “Come now, let us settle the matter.” There is no bombardment or judgment here. God does not wave a stick but is essentially saying to His people, “Look Me in the eye. Turn back to Me. Reconnect with Me. Let me make you white as snow so we can have a face-to-face relationship again.”
This is God’s invitation to all of us. “Look at Me. Let’s get you cleaned up.” We can be at rock bottom and even believe we are beyond hope, but God says though our sins are like scarlet, He will make us white as snow. This does not happen in a washing machine. It is a miracle of God where we begin to experience transformation in our lives. God settles the matter of our sin and clears the decks so that we may know His peace, comfort and strength. Just as marriage requires intimacy, God requires intimacy with us and this makes essential a face-to-face relationship with Him in which we truly experience the depth of God’s love for us.
Prayer: Father God, I am sorry for allowing the busyness of life to interfere with our relationship. I long for a renewed face-to-face togetherness with You. Thank You, Lord.