“Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; 7 let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”
Wicked. This is one adjective that I would not use to describe myself. Yeah, I might be a jerk and insensitive but wicked? Nah. I would not describe myself as wicked. Maybe I would say that I am wickedly handsome; but I’m pretty sure that’s not the meaning Isaiah had in mind when he penned chapter 55, verse 7.
When I think of wicked people, I think of individuals who purposefully lie, deceive and manipulate others in order to fulfill their own personal agendas. They are wicked because they knowingly do and say things that purposefully harm other people’s reputations, plans and even their physical or emotional wellbeing. And they do it all for the sake of simply getting their way. Now that to me is wicked.
However, in the Bible, the wicked are not only those who purposefully and knowingly lie, deceive and manipulate; but they are simply those who are not righteous. In Proverbs, the wicked are contrasted with the righteous: Proverbs 12:5 “The thoughts of the righteous are just; the counsels of the wicked are deceitful. Proverbs 13:25 “The righteous has enough to satisfy his appetite, but the belly of the wicked suffers want. Proverbs 15:6 “In the house of the righteous there is much treasure, but trouble befalls the income of the wicked.”
So, to be wicked is to be unrighteous. This is why Isaiah writes, “…let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts”. The words are synonyms.
To be righteous, is to love and honor God with one’s whole life and to live in dependence on His mercy and grace; to be wicked would be the opposite of that. Therefore, I am wicked when I am living my life without any consideration of God or His desires for me. Essentially, wickedness is when I am living in disregard of God.
So, as you memorize Isaiah 55:6-7, know that His call to return to Him is not only directed to the deceitful, lying manipulator; but His call to repentance is to anyone who has gone throughout their whole day or week or month or year or life without turning to Him to seek His thoughts and desires for their lives. Note also that His response to those who turn back to Him is not fire and brimstone but rather it’s compassion and an abundance of mercy.