White as Snow
“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord:
though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool.
If you are willing and obedient,
you shall eat the good of the land;
but if you refuse and rebel,
you shall be eaten by the sword;
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
-Isaiah 1:18–20 (ESV)
This morning we woke up to a snowy world! This is a rarity and a treat in the Piedmont Region of Georgia. Our schools were canceled and we all crept into the day. Well, I say, “we all crept,” but Eisley and Evangeline were up with the Sun and ready to get in the snow! The rest of us crept. After coffee and a fruit smoothie, lovingly made by JoAlison, we all ventured out into the snow for a brisk and eventually wet-toed walk around the property. The horses were lively and quick, bucking to and fro across the fields. Our dog, Nugget, was just as fast running around and around in circles. Eyes were bright and smiles, big!
As we crunched across the land I thought about the freshness of new-fallen snow and how it just seems to cleanse the earth. I got to thinking about what Isaiah once had to say about the snow. In Isaiah 1:18–20, the prophet speaks of God’s desire for Israel to be made clean by living obediently to the law. Sadly this was not to be the case. Isaiah also speaks of the One who would come to cleanse us! Christ’s blood cleanses us from all unrighteousness, washing us whiter than snow and keeping the law where we could not! This is not a pass on holy living though. We are still called to be obedient to the Lord’s commands. Over and over Christ speaks this truth. In John 14:15 Jesus says, “You are my friends if you do what I command you.” Then, in John 15:14 He says something similar: “If you love me you will keep my commandments.” This is the heart of what God was getting at in Isaiah 1, that Israel’s love for Him was evident in their obedience to the law.
Christ has also commanded us to keep the law. In the Gospel of Matthew, Christ says, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matt. 22:37–40) To undergird these commands John records Jesus saying, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.” (John 13:34–35) Here, Christ is saying that if we are to be known as His followers then we must love others as He does. It’s all about selflessness — living for our God and our neighbor rather than ourselves. This is part of what it means to live obediently. It is a lesson I am personally learning and learning to practice even now. I’m thankful that the snow has reminded me of this truth today.