I’m stunned and tremble that forsaking the LORD God of Israel is akin to becoming less rational than a beast of burden for, “an ox knows its owner, and a donkey its master’s manger but Israel does not know, My people do not understand” (v.3).
Like the beast of burden is weighed down with the yoke, Israel is weighed down with iniquity (v.4) as a result of abandoning the LORD and despising the Holy One of Israel. What does this look like? Israel still practices their religious rituals but the LORD rejects them all together:
“Hear the word of the Lord, You rulers of Sodom;
Give ear to the instruction of our God, You people of Gomorrah.
11 “What are your multiplied sacrifices to Me?” Says the Lord.
“I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams And the fat of fed cattle; And I take no pleasure in the blood of bulls, lambs or goats.
12 “When you come to appear before Me, Who requires of you this trampling of My courts? 13 “Bring your worthless offerings no longer,
Incense is an abomination to Me. New moon and sabbath, the calling of assemblies—I cannot endure iniquity and the solemn assembly.
14 “I hate your new moon festivals and your appointed feasts,
They have become a burden to Me; I am weary of bearing them.
15 “So when you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide My eyes from you; Yes, even though you multiply prayers, I will not listen.
Your hands are covered with blood.” (Vv.10-15)
Religious ritual without the life of trust in Yahweh in the daily grind is not acceptable to Him. God rejects mere duty when His own play the “hypocrite” by having blood on their hands (v.21, 23). Thus God calls for repentance:
“Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Remove the evil of your deeds from My sight. Cease to do evil, 17 Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow.” (Vv.16-17)
When repentance occurs the God of heaven always extends mercy, for it is part of His character and when mercy is given, forgiveness occurs:
“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool. 19 “If you consent and obey,
You will eat the best of the land; 20 “But if you refuse and rebel,
You will be devoured by the sword.” Truly, the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” (Vv.18-20)
Amazing! The result of abandoning the LORD God is heightened irrationality. It’s a sub-animalistic ability to reason because of sin. A beast of burden is more rational than the image bearer we the LORD is rejected by them. We don’t tend to think in those terms. Many erudite, scholars, and sages of our age think that belief in God is irrational fantasy. The opposite is true. Many professing believers also believe that lie.
Yet, the remedy from said evil and irrationality is repentance which includes right thinking (according to reality—that so many deny is real and true) and the evidence is “Learn to do good; seek justice, reprove the ruthless, defend the orphan, Plead for the widow”.
Are you someone who thinks you’re smarter than everyone else around? How do you compare to God’s standard? May holiness to the LORD be the cry of our hearts so we don’t slip below the intelligence of a donkey. SDG