(Isa 55:7) let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
Yesterday, we saw the direct command to seek the Lord and call upon Him. The passage continues today with an explicit command to the wicked. The picture here is that of repentance – turning from evil and turning towards God.
What’s interesting to me is that both actions and thoughts are called evil. The wicked has his way – all the sins that he commits against God and other people. This is the way of the wicked, caring only for himself and disregarding the welfare of others. The unrighteous has his thoughts – all the schemes, images, and words they he may or may not actually act out. Still, that evil is there, within his mind, and he relishes the thought of his own glory.
At first glance, I read this verse and think that these are the people that need the gospel. The sinner who hurts others, and the narcissists that think only for themselves. But then a seemingly inconsequential word pops out at me: return.
Is this a passage about evangelism and repentance? Absolutely. But it also contains more, and that little word, “return” shows it. These wicked and unrighteous men on whom God will show compassion and abundantly pardon previously knew God. Not only are their actions evil, not only are their hearts evil, they’ve already been partakers of grace and have spat in the face of their Lord and Savior.
And this is where the Spirit convicts. As much as I’d like to think that “those people” need the gospel, the Spirit corrects me. It is I who need the gospel.
I am the wicked one who has received salvation by the blood of the Lamb and then gone and purposefully rebelled. I am the one who’s heart is desperately wicked and who’s thoughts are continually towards himself. I am the one who needs to return to God.
And the blessing of this verse? There is truth that although I’ve spat in the face of my Savior, although I think I’m worthy of praise, when I turn back to Him and I humble myself in His sight, He will show me compassion. He will abundantly pardon.
Today, I need to repent. Today, I need to look upon grace as the only hope for my life.