“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool(v.18)”.
Who shall justify himself before God? It is not in himself to lift himself by bootstraps as it were, and set himself in the path of righteousness. Judah had the Law and teachers to lead them but they rebelled and would not listen; instead they went after their own desires. For lack of vision people perish. There is no one who may call himself perfect. What does the Psalmist say? “They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one(Ps.14:3).’Declare thou, that thou mayest be justified'(Isa.43:26)
“If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it(vv.19-20).
Isaiah as a prophet is speaking what God had willed concerning Judah and Jerusalem. ‘For the mouth of the Lord hath spoken’ attests his own role as nothing more than as the voice. Compare his role similar to that of John the Baptist. As voice in the wilderness what he did was similar. No one can be an oracle unless God had separated him and given his authority. The rebellious spirit was now evident in the manner the land was devastated. Had the nation obeyed God and did what was right in His sight none of the evils would have visited them.When we see the nations once prosperous become trapped in frequent economic meltdowns and people suffering from opioid crisis what shall we say?
“How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it;…. 24 Therefore saith the Lord, the Lord of hosts, the mighty One of Israel, Ah, I will ease me of mine adversaries, and avenge me of mine enemies:
The nation had ceased to do good and the city had become symptomatic of their collective guilt. God calls them harlot. They have fallen victims to the spirit of whoredom and it has caused them to err. In the Book of Hosea there is a graphic description of it. “They sacrifice upon the tops of the mountains, and burn incense upon the hills…(Hos.4:13,12)Their sins are errors adding to one another because they do not understand. Once their reverence for God was lost they had lost love for His word as well. It would mean also that they lost their moral compass as well
The city was full of judgment and righteousness was their roof. “Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water:/ Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them.It is thus sin causes people to overturn law and set themselves contrary to God.
Isaiah while throwing open their failings he also speaks comforting words. “And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin:/ And I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellors as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called, The city of righteousness, the faithful city.(vv.21-26)
As with prophecies time element works with variable speeds. The prophet while addressing their immediate concerns of making peace with God also points to the end times. Jeusaalem is not to be left as ruins but rise as the city of righteousness. “Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness (v.27).