The photo above is from my yard a few winters ago. I don’t particularly like snow, it’s cold and I don’t take pleasure in cold weather. Because I live in the Midwest I see and experience it almost every winter. Visually, I enjoy freshly fallen snow, the picturesque kind, when it looks like a white blanket just covered the landscape and it sparkles as the sun hits it. At those moments it looks like greeting card art—it’s beautiful. Why do I enjoy that?
Fresh White Snow
The snowfall I just described always brings to mind the Isaiah 1:18 passage. There is deep down peace knowing my sins are cleansed away by Christ Jesus. The fresh white snow then fills me with gratitude for His grace.
If you read Isiah 1:18 in context, which I recommend you always do with a single verse, you will learn that this promise is sandwiched in the midst of a harsh rebuke to a rebellious nation. The rebuke of God, spoken through Isaiah, was because the people turned to idols rather than God, they lacked social justice, and had failed to keep the covenant.
In preparation, I read Isaiah chapter one multiple times in a few different versions. It feels dark, discouraging, and heavy. A lot the way I hear people expressing themselves in regards to the year 2020. The generalities I read could describe many nations today.
I was taught as a youth, to contextually zoom out (look at verses before and after) whenever you see a promise of God. By zooming-out you will find the promise and the expectation or terms for the fulfillment. Let’s take a closer look at this specific promise—in context.
“Wash yourselves. Cleanse yourselves. Remove your evil deeds from my sight. Stop doing evil. Learn to do what is good. Pursue justice. Correct the oppressor. Defend the rights of the fatherless. Plead the widow’s cause. ‘Come, let’s settle this,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are scarlet they will be as white as snow; though they are crimson red, they will be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land. But if you refuse and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.’ For the mouth of the Lord has spoken” (Isaiah 1:16-20, CSB).
Do you see the expectations—humanity’s part? Do you see the terms and consequences surrounding the beautiful, hopeful promise? There is hope, in the middle of heaviness and gloom. Have you lost sight of HOPE in 2020? For those who are Christians, Jesus is our Living Hope.
Wash yourselves and cleanse yourselves describes purification. Can we wash ourselves of sin? No, only God can. Then how do we wash ourselves? It is by accepting the gift of mercy from Jesus. Jesus took the wrath of God upon himself as He hung on the cross in our place. I/we deserved that punishment because of my/our sins. “We were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:3-5, NIV).
How do I accept the gift of mercy? The Apostle Paul and Silas answered that question when a frightened jailer asked, “‘What must I do to be saved?’ They replied, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household’” (Acts 16:30-31, CSB). Believe that Jesus is who He said he was, the Son of God and that He died on a cross, was buried, and raised again to life, then you too can be saved.
Father God, You are so gracious and good to have allowed Jesus to take the wrath I deserved. Thank You for cleansing me of sin. Thank You for the visual reminder of Your mercy, when I see fresh white snow.
Father, thank You for the Holy Spirit who empowers and enables me to live a life pleasing to You. In His strength, I can follow Your decrees and enjoy the fulfillment of Your promise. What a joyous way to live. Hallelujah and Amen!
I am a follower of Jesus Christ, grandmother, great-grandmother, foster care parent, and trauma survivor. I enjoy sipping tea, writing devotionals, prayers, short stories, and unburdening my heart to the Lord. Check the About section if you want to read more of my story.
Copyright © 2020 Musings of Manette Kay™ All rights reserved. Requests to the author and publisher, Manette Kay, for permission.