The book of Isaiah opens with a prophetic word for Judah and Jerusalem: repent or be judged! The people of Judah had turned worship of God into pure ritual and were following the desires of their evil hearts. “Ah, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, offspring of evildoers, children who deal corruptly! They have forsaken the Lord, they have despised the Holy One of Israel, they are utterly estranged” (1:4). Verse 4 is a living description of Total Depravity! And so were we before our salvation. While denying God, they continued to assemble before the Lord as if mere ritual would please Him. The truth, however, was that God detested their hypocritical “going through the motions.” “I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly” (1:13). God despises those who pretend allegiance by attending worship while secretly adoring another. Many of us lived such false lives before our conversion. Given their sin and deplorable hypocrisy, we expect to hear words of judgment but instead we hear words of grace. The Lord calls for them to repent (1:16). If they will repent, they will find new life. They will have forgiveness. They will find salvation. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow” (1:18). If they refuse to repent, they will face the wrath of God. “If you refuse and rebel, you shall be eaten by the sword” (1:20). The choice remains the same before all of us who are corrupt and evil. If we repent, we shall know salvation. If we refuse, we shall know devastation!