Passage: "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 as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword." For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
Journal: What is this call to reason? God's justice has laid out His case of rebellion by His people, and God's mercy has delivered an invitation for His people to talk. His mercy requires obedience ("if you are willing and obedient . . ."), while His justice dictates punishment ("but if you resist and rebel . . ."). This is Judah's great opportunity to repent and turn to God for cleansing, and is a picture of the eternal decision of obedience over rebellion. Have you "reasoned together" with God? Are your sins still "like scarlet," or are they "white as snow?" Is your criminal act of rebellion still "red as crimson," or is it now "like wool?"
How does one "reason" with God? It is not a forum where we convince God that deep down we are good, and that our eternal scales of justice should tip in the direction of God's favor. Rather, it is our opportunity to admit how truly criminal we are compared to God's righteousness (scarlet and crimson evoke the thought of the hands of a murderer), and to repent of our sins and plead for His great mercy. Our reasoning is to admit our failure. Our reasoning is to express sorrow for our guilt. Our reasoning is to understand that God's justice demands punishment for our rebellion. Our reasoning is to comprehend that God, in order to protect His righteousness, will not ignore our sin.
When all the talking is finished, the message is clear. Children of Satan will bear their sins in Hell, for this is the bargain of their reasoning. Children of God have witnessed their sins drip down the body of Christ in scarlet and crimson streaks and, for reasons born by the grace of God alone, are secure in eternity "like wool," as "white as snow." For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.