This is given early in Isaiah (1:18), and is especially striking in that Jehovah here invites man to, as it were, sit down and think seriously with Him on matters of grave importance. The latter part of the verse focuses on the sinfulness of man, and the fact that man’s scarlet, red sins can be as wool, as white as snow. Involved in this is surely the fact that if man thinks seriously about eternal an spiritual matters, the message God has provided will be of importance to him. Therein the problem of our time: Getting men to think seriously about their souls!
Some have said that man is merely showing his age when he thinks of the “good old days.” There may well be a tendency for all of us, when we reach the golden years, to look back and give earlier times a glamour that they really did not have. Be that as it may, some of us can remember when it was not difficult to get people to place their minds on things of a spiritual nature. I certainly do remember when virtually all in our little community professed faith in Christ. I recall religious discussions in the fields, during the lunch-hour break, and down at the grocery store on the highway. It was a time when the communities and the nation itself, were not drowning in alcohol, when drug use was virtually unheard of, when the tendency was to whisper the word “homosexual” if it had to be said at all, and when divorce touching a family in the community was of such shame that families tended to move away! I remember a time when the mothers were at home with the children, and when the family unit was intact and was such that the greatest possible good influence was exerted upon the children. Alright, if I am telling my age, so be it! The times were wonderful, and only now, looking back, do we know how wonderful.
Our point is to show that in that era, it was not all that difficult to get man’s attention with spiritual lessons. We have found that to be drastically changed in our time. The times are decidedly non-religious, and people are very, very busy—but not in things of a spiritual nature. In Luke 8:14, Jesus explained how spirituality is forced out of one’s heart due to being “choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life.” The same cares and concerns can cause one to have little interest in things that pertain to the soul, and with an unwillingness to set aside those concerns long enough to think spiritually. A most appropriate cartoon appeared in one of our papers, years ago, showing a man bent forward and under a load that just about had him to the breaking point, and in large letters across that load was this word: Things! Man involved with his things, but ignoring the things of God!
The Bible is filled with both illustrations and means regarding their need to be faithful in their stewardship, and also to give warning not to “trust in uncertain riches” (1 Tim. 6:17-18). We, today, have lived in good times, materially speaking, and now the question: “As times have been good, has there also been a proportionate drift away from God and spiritual matters?” Surely, all can join in a resounding, “Yes!”
The Word of God has all the power it ever had, and the blood of Christ still waits on man in sin to obey and make the proper use of it. Forgiveness awaits, and blessings await, and salvation is offered. Jesus still says, “Behold I stand at the door and knock” (Rev. 3:20). That picture was the basis of a well-known painting, generations ago, and it is no doubt found in many homes of religious people. Jesus stands, light in His hand, and knocks at a door. When the artist displayed the finished product, one of his neighbors called attention to the fact that the artist had overlooked something: “There’s no handle on the door!” The artist replied, “I intended that. Christ knocks at the door of the human heart, and the latch is on the inside!”
We live with the truth that the Word cannot be changed to adapt to a desire for man to have the world and to also have Christ. “No man can serve two masters” (Matt. 6:24). The tendency in the denominational world has been to change the message to suit the fancies of men. Too much of that ungodly thinking has already invaded the kingdom. Man still, if he is to have salvation, must cease his sin and come to live for the Christ— in a new and living way (Heb. 10:20). God still expects man to be converted, and I, as a teacher, would lose my soul and render a great disservice to any ma if I minimized any requirement of God, and if I allowed man to think he was forgiven and blessed by God when he was not! We are still left holding the Word, the sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17), and we use it, “in season, out of season” (2 Tim. 4:2). We hope factors of just any type might work to cause modern man to reassess his values, and to once more think spiritually. We use the Word continually to urge that change upon men. The concern is that we continue faithful to God, and faithful to His Word, and whether that change comes—sooner or later—or whether it never comes again, we will save our souls! Let us press on!