Read Isaiah Ch. 1--(yes, read the entire chapter).
As an introduction to our new Series we must first examine the context we find Isaiah. Whenever you read a book in the bible we must understand the time, the setting, who the book is written to, and who wrote the book. We must understand that Scripture is not always about us in our modern context (it very rarely is). We can learn more when we actually study the word of God in its rightful context. We must ask "What is the bible saying instead of asking "where do I fit in the bible?"
Isaiah was a prophet sent to Israel (the consensus is that the prophecy of Isaiah takes place while the king Ahaz is ruling over Jerusalem). Isaiah lived in Jerusalem and was speaking to the leaders of Jersualem (Israel was split in two: Jerusalem and Judah). 2 Chronicles 28:1-2 talks about King Ahaz losing his faith in God and making molten images of Baalim (like Babylon).
Why does God send prophets? To bring judgement, correction and a solution to the sinful problem of humanity. Here, we will read how God tells His people to act and what they are doing wrong. It is meant to bring the people of Jerusalem back in line with God's proper law and into rightful, God-like living (Christ-like).
Why does the Lord Judge? and Does the Lord still continue to Judge in our modern context?
In what ways is Israel being sinful in the first chapter of Isaiah?
Where do we find redemption and a solution in the first chapter of Isaiah?
God was upset at Israel because it mixed the land's culture with their worship--they had their own selfish desires, corruption and sinful desires in place of where God should have been in their lives. What was once wine has now become diluted with water (impure, not set apart, etc).
It is important note here that God is judging Israel through Isaiah because they simply to do not love Him and do not serve Him with their entire hearts (or beings)--Isaiah 1: 10-15
Instead, the Lord shows them what a good God-like follower does for worship (Isaiah 1:16-18)
There is corruption at all levels of leadership in Jerusalem (v. 21-22) there is the consistent imagery here of wine being mixed and diluted with water (a direct contrast when Jesus makes water into wine in John 3 and when Jesus was pierced in His side after His crucifixion, blood and water poured out of Him and it was separated (John 19:31-34).
God is not judging JUST the actions rather He is judging what they have become. You become what you worship. These corrupt actions are happening because of a deeper cultural problem in Israel.
According to God and God's law there is right and wrong. There is a proper way to live under His Lordship verses an improper way to live. When God's people stopped living purely under God's lordship (when they stopped worshiping Him) He brings correction and judgement to them.
God brings Judgement because He loves His Children.
God is judging poor behaviour and idolatrous rebellion in Isaiah 1-12. But Why does God Judge? God judges because He truly believes that His children should know better. Sure, humanity is born into sin and we do not deserve God's judgement but God judges because He believes that humanity can repent and be saved from their corruption. Isaiah 1:27-21 highlights the solution and hope that the corrupt people of Israel can look forward to. The repentant ones will become righteous wheras the others will burn away in the fire (like Sodom and Gomorrah). It is clear that God refines through fire; He judges and makes humanity like Him in the process because He loves His creation (even though His creation does not deserve His love).