Ah, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity.
If you listen to the news on the radio or television or read the newspapers you might think that the only news that gets reported is bad news — murders, abuse of one kind or another, political failures and so on and on. Bad news!
But just imagine if you went to church and the minister started his sermon in this way: "Shame! Misguided God-dropouts! Gang of miscreants, band of vandals... people who have turned their backs on me, their God... walked off and never looked back" (Isaiah 1:4, The Message). I'm sure you would be shocked. We don't like hearing things like that. Bad news.
That is just the message that God gave to his servant Isaiah to preach to the people in his day. God had become so disappointed with the way the people his people were living. They were just as bad as the people of Sodom and Gomorrah had been; immoral, selfish and just full of sin. This was shocking, and to be told that that was the way God saw the people must have shocked them.
How do you think God sees us? You? Does he see us as pure and clean and loving and eagerly walking in his ways? Let's take an honest look at ourselves through the searching gaze of God's Word the Bible. Isaiah said to the people "Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes" (1:16). The Apostle John wrote, "If we confess our sins, he (God) is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).