Divine Counsels to the Wicked
Isaiah 55:7-9
Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him…

I. THE COUNSELLOR. The Father of the wicked is here speaking to the wicked. He who speaks knows every wicked man. He who speaks hates evil. He who speaks hath power to destroy the wicked in hell. He desireth not the death of one transgressor, but rather that he should turn unto Him and live. It is the redeeming God who is here addressing the wicked man.

II. HIS COUNSEL. "Let the wicked forsake," etc. We have ways in common; but we have ways that are individual and peculiar to ourselves. Every man has his way of thinking, and reasoning, and imagining, and feeling, and willing, and acting. Now, "the wicked setteth himself in a way that is not good," and God says, "Get out of it, forsake it." This advice is based upon the following facts. The way of the wicked and the thoughts of the unrighteous are absolutely wrong. They are injurious — injurious to the wicked man himself, Further, repentance now is possible; for the Son of the Father now speaking to the wicked man, is exalted to give repentance and remission of sins. Further, God Himself seeks it. This advice requires —

1. Self-inspection. It asks the wicked man to look at his way. It says to him, Look back — it has been a rough way, sometimes covered, it is true, with bright green grass, and with soft enticing moss; but the flints have come through it all, and have made the feet often bleed: so that if the wicked man will look back, he will find blood-marks on his way, an evidence that the way of transgressors is hard. The wicked man is not only to look at his way, but the unrighteous man at his thoughts. He is to consider his purposes.

2. The admission of truth as to the character of the way, and as to the nature of the thoughts. It is quite possible that a wicked man looking back, and seeing his path to be hard, will try to forget it. God says, admit the truth.

3. The resistance of an inclination to go on.

4. Submission to the conviction that the way is evil, and the abandonment of every unrighteous purpose, with actual departure from the path of open and actual transgression. It is just possible that in the midst of a multitude of transgressions, there is one master sin; and that master sin, it may be, the key-stone of all your transgressions. Take that away, and your habits of sinning are broken up. This advice requires appeal to God for mercy, and for help and reconciliation.

III. THE COUNSELLED. If you take a Concordance and look through it at the word "wicked," I think you will be astonished to find how often the winked are recognized in Holy Scripture, and men often talk about the wicked. But God and men do not always mean the same thing. Men unduly limit the application of this word. They call the immoral wicked, and only the immoral. Now hear what the Lord says in describing a wicked man. "God is not in all his thoughts;" so that he is a wicked man who does not recognize God in God's own world.

IV. THE PROMISE OR ASSURANCE BY WHICH THIS ADVICE IS SANCTIONED AND SUSTAINED. It is like the promise made to faith; you must believe in order to realize the promise. It is like the promise made to repentance: you must repent in order to realize the promise. The promise is conditional; and yet, mark, it is sure. The promise is made, further, to characters. There is, therefore, an indefiniteness about it which may well encourage you. It is not necessary I should go into your wickedness, or that I should at all define or describe your thoughts.

(S. Martin.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

WEB: let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to Yahweh, and he will have mercy on him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

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