The scene in Isaiah Chapter 1 is that of a courtroom, and God is the Judge. Judah and Jerusalem are in the dock and they are on trial. Heaven and earth are the jury. There are witnesses - there is the prosecution - there is the defence - and there is a sentence announced.

GOD is acting as Prosecutor and Judge.

The three basic charges are – Iniquity in the nation.– Insincerity in the Temple – and Injustice in the city.

Verse 2 – Look at the situation in the nation - the charge is that of juvenile delinquency.

God is the Father of the child in the dock - they are His sons and daughters. He has fed them - nourished them - clothed them - provided for them - raised them - and they have rebelled.

The children in the dock are the children of the JUDGE!

They had rebelled against a perfect Father - that is how serious sin is.

There was much material prosperity at that time, and with that came spiritual apathy, complacency, rebellion – and worse. We could be reading about our present day.

Chapter 1 introduces us to the Book rather than to the man.

This materially prosperous nation had a sick soul that was being neglected. Leaders would not lead spiritually. That is always sad to see.

It is in this context that Isaiah has to preach The Word of God.

The quality of the leadership in a nation or the Church is vital.

Verse 3 - God says - My people are worse than dumb animals. Animals know better than My people. Imagine God having to say that. But it is true - and God always wants the truth to be preached by his prophetic people.

The donkey knows where the manger is to get some food. There are many people today who do not know that God is providing spiritual food.

O they were and are religious – irreligious!

God says - Tell them - they don't know their Father - they don't take time to think - they don't consider Me - until soon, it develops into forsaking.

Then, they just wander away altogether - and are estranged - until they regard Me with contempt - and the Father and child relationship is broken.

Verse 4 – God is forsaken and spurned – and people have turned their backs on GOD.

We hear today – “what are we going to do about it?”

We have seen this with people and God - now we are seeing it with fathers and their children. What began spiritually is now happening physically.

That is the first charge - Iniquity in the Nation - and doesn't God speak clearly?

Verses 5,6. Isaiah sees a man - covered with bruises and sores - with no flesh left to beat - and yet, still he is persisting in rebellion.

They needed healing in so many ways, but they pretended that all was well. And - they would NOT come to God. How many are just like that.

Verses 7,8 speak of their condition - there are so few left - like a hut in a field. The great cities are gone - a nation has virtually been wiped out.

Some 46 cities had gone. They were saying - Who next? What will happen next? Is that not what we hear today?

But God did not wipe them off the face of the earth. God keeps a remnant - and God concentrates upon the remnant - and NOT THE NATION.

O, always be among those whom God wants to bless.

The second charge is - Insincerity in the Temple.

Now you would have thought that such a people would never have gone near a church - but no - we read the opposite. The Temple was packed.

They had got away from God - but still kept going to church! Just because they were attending services - that did not mean they were close to God.

Man can be so religious at times - he loves rituals - ceremonies - beautiful prayers - people can be thronging around certain services. These things do NOT impress God.

The people were physically present, but their heart was a million miles away from God.

It looked all right from the outside - all looked well - but God saw the heart.

The Temple was packed just hours before Jesus Christ was crucified.

We come here weak and sick and needy - we come to Worship for mercy and love and forgiveness - for healing and strength - for spiritual food to meet our spiritual hunger - thirsting for the Holy Spirit - needing to know that we have a fellowship around us.

The Church of Jesus Christ should be like a casualty ward - or a harbour - our refuge - our ark of safety.

Verse 10 – These people were so proud - so complacent - and God calls them - rulers of Sodom and people of Gomorrah. That is strong. And yet He continues to be so concerned - that He says - Hear My Word - Listen to My Law.

Verses 11 - 16 are God's thoughts. God says - I've had enough - Stop bringing meaningless offerings. I cannot bear to be present in your services. I am weary of it all. Stop doing wrong - put things right. 16.

I never want to hear that!

The prophetic word comes from God - and not from debate - nor by consensus.

Verses 18,19 - Let's deal with this today - if you do - I will wash you - and minister to you.

We are left in no doubt as to Who is speaking - what a message Isaiah had to proclaim

Verse 21 - Injustice in the city - that happens when you get away from God and His Word – and strong words follow in these verses - harlot - prostitute - murders - money losing its value - cheating – immorality and corruption among the rulers.

What a catalogue of sin and sins. God having investigated, He then intervenes. 70 years in Exile. God is going to deal with this – and after dealing with what is seriously wrong He restores and renews and raises up men to rebuild what was so terribly broken.

We look to God to do that – not only in the lives of individuals – but even in nations and communities as the Holy Spirit moves again and afresh.

Gracious loving Father – our holy God – when You raise up a man to proclaim and preach Your Word – You give him that boldness and courage. Have mercy upon those who read and listen and hear – that sins will be forgiven – bodies healed and strengthened – so that those with hurts and habits and hang-ups may be released – we pray in Jesus Name. Amen.