It’s the way we might expect a patient professor to gently prod a student who isn’t living up to her potential. “Come now, let us reason together…”
It’s the tone a serious financial planner might take with a shortsighted investor. “Come now, let us reason together…”
It’s the appeal of a counselor, trying to get two people who are at odds with one another to set aside their petty differences and see eye-to-eye for the good of everyone. “Come now, let us reason together…”
It’s a call to go deeper than individual feelings. A plea to reach higher than self-centered impulses. An invitation to accept input from beyond my own limited perspective. “Let’s think this through. Together. What path are you presently traveling? Where does this path lead? Is the end result of this path the destination you desire? If not, what are you going to do about it? Is it past-time for a change in direction? If not, who will you have to blame but yourself for traveling this path to that destination? Knowing what you know–that this path leads where this path leads–where do we go from here?” The professor isn’t forcing the student, but she is making a strong plea. The advisor isn’t irresistibly imposing his will on the investor, but he is making a reasoned appeal. “Let’s think this through. Together.”
What happens next? It really depends on two basic variables:
- Do I believe the experienced advisor?
- Am I willing to apply what the patient professor is telling me?
How remarkable, then, when we realize that this is precisely the long-suffering, gentle, undeserved approach the Almighty Creator of the universe takes with shortsighted, rebellious people in Isaiah 1.
“Come now, 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 become like wool.” (1:18)
Were their sins really that serious? Were the stakes truly that high? Isaiah 1 is just the beginning of the devastating diagnosis.
“The ox knows its owner,
and the donkey its master’s crib,
but Israel does not know,
my people do not understand.” (1:3)
Ah, sinful nation,
a people laden with iniquity,
offspring of evildoers,
children who deal corruptly!
They have forsaken the LORD,
they have despised the Holy One of Israel,
they are utterly estranged. (1:4)
Why will you be struck down?
Why will you continue to rebel?
The whole head is sick,
and the whole heart faint.
From the sole of the foot even to the head,
there is no soundness in it,
but bruises and sores
and raw wounds… (1:5-6)
The situation couldn’t have been more serious. And yet, how patient the faithful Counselor is with his grossly unfaithful people. “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD.” His mercy can change the scarlet of sin into the white of snow. His grace can transform crimson red into silvery wool. His perfect intercession can heal the worst of our raw, incurable, self-inflicted wounds. On what does the possibility of such amazing salvation, healing, and renewal depend? Just two variables, really:
- Do I believe the Counselor?
- Am I willing to apply what the Counselor is telling me?
Just listen to the next two verses.
“If you are willing and obedient,
you shall eat the good of the land;
but if you refuse and rebel,
you shall be eaten by the sword;
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” (1:19-20)
A strong plea. A reasoned appeal. Refuse and rebel or willingly submit and humbly obey? Feast on the good or be consumed by your own stubbornness? “Come now. Let’s think this through. Together.”
The end of a year is a very appropriate time to check in with your financial advisor. “Are we on track? If not, what do we need to change?” The beginning of a new semester is a great time to check in with that caring professor. “Are we on the same page? If not, what do we need to implement?” How much more is this the perfect time to have an honest look in the mirror with the God who has carried you through the past year and given you another day of life under his sun? He continues to patiently invite. Lovingly prod. Graciously provide opportunities. “Let’s go deeper than your fickle feelings. Let’s reach higher than your selfish impulses. To whom are you listening? With what are you fueling your heart? By what are you setting your mind? Let’s think this through. Together. What path are you presently traveling? Where is this path going to lead? Is that the destination you really desire? If not, don’t you know how much I’ve already done to change everything you need for the best?”
Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes;
cease to do evil,
learn to do good;
bring justice to the fatherless,
plead the widow’s cause. (1:16-17)
This Counselor is merciful and gracious. Slow to anger. Abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. All that hangs in the balance is whether or not I believe him. Do I trust him? Am I willing and obedient? Will I walk with him, following his lead, even when the path is tough?
“Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD…”
What a powerful thought for the darkening twilight of December and the approaching dawn of January.