Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to not go along with the crowd. Sure, the peer pressure is strong, and we want to fit in and not seem odd…but we also realize what the crowd is about to do is just plain wrong. Deuteronomy 13:8 tells us to not yield to or even listen to the enticements from those who are sinning. And the old excuse of, “Everybody’s doing it!” can’t stand up to the truth if it goes against the word of God. For any words of persuasion, guilt, or deception we hear will never change wrong into right.
The prophet Micah had to make a very personal and difficult decision…be quiet and allow the greed and injustice he saw to continue…or speak out, denouncing the willful rebellion and habitual sinfulness he was witnessing. For Micah, the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit far surpassed any threat in the world…and the righteous indignation within drove him to openly condemn the ungodliness he saw. As Believers, we’re filled with the same Holy Spirit as Micah…the same knowledge between right and wrong…the same ability to bring light into darkness. I pray that a spirit of righteous indignation rise up among God’s people, causing us to boldly speak truth where there’s lies and deception.
This Scripture specifically deals with immorality and adultery…but in the bigger picture, it deals with sin against God. Have you ever considered that every time you sin – you’re defying God to His face? For every time you allow evil to reign in your life, you’re in direct opposition to God and rebelling against Him. Joseph understood that giving into a temptation was a sin…but that sin isn’t self contained…for no matter how hidden we think it is, others will be affected by our lack of judgement. And ultimately, Joseph knew he would be sinning against God.
When we come to Jesus, He says to us, “Be clean!” And at that moment we are purified from all the pollution, guilt, and shame of our sins. For it says in Psalm 51:2, “Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.” Where we once were covered with the filthy stains of sin, we are now cleansed…our nastiness replaced by pristine purity and righteousness through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. For it is only through the blood of Jesus that we can become cleansed from all our transgressions…it is only through Jesus we can be saved.
We all have things we’ve done that we’re not proud of. Lapses in our character where we actually thought we could hide willful sins…but God saw everything. And the longer we attempt to cover-up and rationalize sin, the harder it is to admit we’ve crossed the line. David in Psalm 32:5 told the Lord, “I acknowledge my sin to You, and do not cover up my iniquity.” The first part of David’s confession was Relent. We need to yield to God and admit we’ve messed up. The second part was Repent. There needs to be true remorse and shame for our sin. We’re sorry for what we’ve done, not just sorry we got caught. Finally, we need to Remove the sin from our life…by whatever means it takes. By keeping a short account with God, we won’t find ourselves outside His Will and far from His compassion.
In the presence of God, Isaiah realized instantaneously his sin of impure language. In that moment of God’s presence, there’s never any vague, broad sense of sin…rather the Lord will laser focus in on some specific personal area of your life you need to change. Your attention will be directed to it, followed by conviction to take personal responsibility and confess the sin to Him…followed by you acknowledging your need for forgiveness.
In this passage God is doing away with this well-known proverb and giving His people a new one. For in the next verse He exclaims, “As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, you will no longer quote this proverb in Israel. For every living soul belongs to Me, the father as well as the son – both alike belong to Me. The soul who sins is the one who will die.” Here God gives us a declaration of individual responsibility for our sins…for only us are accountable for our sins…and some day, we will be the only person that will answer for them.