But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets. – Matthew 22:34-40
In our passage today, we see Isaiah’s prophecy of the upcoming judgment against Judah and, then specifically, it’s capital, Jerusalem. The Lord promises to take away from Jerusalem and Judah everything they depend on: food, water, military protection, government leaders, spiritual advisors, and more. Isaiah lets the people know “Jerusalem will stumble, and Judah will fall…” (v.8). Why? “…because they speak out against the Lord and refuse to obey him.”
Judah made it clear they were not worshipping the Lord. They didn’t even try to hide their sin. They failed to love God with all their heart, soul, and mind. In failing to follow the “great and first commandment,” Judah sinned in worshipping gods other than the true Lord. This was idolatry.
Judah also made it clear they were an unjust people. The Lord speaking through Isaiah said, “Childish leaders oppress my people…” (v.12) and “How dare you crush my people, grinding the faces of the poor into the dust?” (v.15). Not only did Judah and Jerusalem engage in idolatry, but they committed severe injustices against their own people by taking advantage of the poor. Verses 16-26 describe the previous unjust accumulation of wealth in Jerusalem and describe the coming judgment because of this sin. The people of Judah failed to follow the “second” commandment to love their neighbor as themselves. This was injustice.
When we look at our lives today, most of our sins are failures to follow these two commands Jesus talks about in Matthew 22. We sin against God and against others, committing idolatry and injustice. As I read through Isaiah, I’m reminded of my own sins against God and neighbor. But thank God in a few days we will read Isaiah 6 and then later on Isaiah 53, where we see God illustrate a way to be purified from our sins and describe the man by which we would be saved from sin.
Take a minute to confess to the Lord any sins of idolatry (worshipping anything other than God) or injustice (sinning against your neighbor).
By: Lucas Taylor — West Campus Pastoral Ministry Apprentice