Devotions By Jan

Holly and Ivy

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Scripture for Today: Isaiah 1:18 “‘Come now, let us settle the matter,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.'”

The holly and the ivy with their bright red berries say Christmas to me. But decorating with it can be a challenge with their prickly unforgiving leaves! The carol, “The Holly and the Ivy.” has been around at least since the 15th century and is full of references to Christ through its images. The white flower represents His purity, the red berry pictures His blood, and the prickly leaves bring to mind the crown of thorns Jesus wore.

Today’s verse tells us that something is settled. We can be as white as snow and as wool, even though our sins are a bright scarlet red. The matter being settled was the meaningless offerings (verse 13) and the hypocritical prayers being offered. (verse 15) The people’s attempts at pleasing God had no effect as they continued doing what they knew was wrong. What was important to the Lord, then as it is now, is a washed and clean heart. (verse 16)

How amazed I am that the Lord has settled the matter of sin for those who in faith trust His incredible sacrifice! I can understand these Israelites wanting to avoid the hard step of uncomfortable confession. It is much easier for me as well to let traditions and religious routine take its place. But there is only one way to approach God for forgiveness and that is through His Son (John 14:6) And when I do, the matter is settled forever! What an indescribable gift God has given through the birth of His Son!

Thank you Lord, for making me as white as snow!

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