I am fascinated by a word I occasionally hear or read about. It is the word “summit.” A summit is a high-level meeting or conference between leaders of nations, organizations, or other groups to discuss important issues and make decisions. Since World War 1, nearly every U.S. President has traveled abroad to take part in conferences with leaders of other nations. During the Cold War, when American presidents joined with Soviet or Chinese equivalents for one-on-one meetings, the media labelled it as a “summit.”
Businesses, political leaders, religious groups, and church denominations often meet through conferences or summits to conduct business, discuss issues, and hold elections. I want you to observe a Summit Conference that God called with the southern tribes of Judah as recorded in Isaiah 1:18: NKJV: “Come now, and 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 be as wool.” God is calling America to return to her original Judeo-Christian heritage.
- God is Appealing. The book of Isaiah begins and ends with a condemnation of those who rebelled against God. Isaiah 1:1- 17 reads like a courtroom scene in which God charges Judah with unfaithfulness. His covenant people were acting like spoiled children. They resembled a damaged battlefield, a desert instead of a garden. Had God not left a few survivors, Jerusalem would have been destroyed like Sodom and Gomorrah. Even the nation’s worship was hypocritical because people’s hearts were not in it. If Christ were to come into our churches today, would He commend us for our faithfulness? More likely He would tell us that many of our testimonies and professions are making Him sick! God, as Judge, might have thrown the book at Judah. Instead, He expressed His love and desire for His chosen people to be righteous, so He offered them a summit conference (Isaiah1:18). Our problem is the same and we too need to have such a conference with the Lord.
- God is Anticipating. Attendance at this summit is voluntary, nobody is forced to attend. Scores of God’s spiritual giants attended His call on their own. Noah was not forced into the ark, because the Lordtold him: “Take your whole family with you into the boat, because you are the only one on this earth who pleases Me” (Genesis 7:1). Moses did not force anybody to join his Canaan-bound pilgrimage. He simply said: “Come with us and we will do you good” (Numbers 10:29). Jesus did not conscript His disciples. He offered them a new life with His invitation to follow Him and be made fishers of men (Matthew 4:19). His universal call to all lost humanity was: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Genesis to Revelation echoes God’s welcoming voice, inviting a lost and bewildered creation to come to Him. This summons is urgent, so come now because now is the accepted time (II Corinthians 6:2). God stands ever ready to cleanse us and forgive us when we turn to Him. And as we go and share this Great News with others, we are proclaiming the same truth that God decreed to His people here in Isaiah 1:18.
- God is Arguing. How wonderful! No dictatorial mandates are being hurled at us. We are invited to “reason together” with God. He wants us to converse with Him. He wants our honest reactions. Unfortunately, some well-meaning believers make a mistake when they say, “God has spoken, it is no longer necessary for us to think.” Thinking over God’s propositions, evaluating His programs and ideas, comparing the world’s counterfeit substitutes, analyzing our own involvement, and reaching for ways of implementing His truth are the avenues through which reason travels. They are the way to victorious living. William Shakespeare wrote: “Strong reasons make strong actions.”
Though we believe in heart-felt religious conviction, we must be aware that it can become emotionally centered only, without the intellect being employed at all. There are multitudes of professing believers whose theology is based on emotional experiences. Someone has wisely said, “It is useless to attempt to reason with people out of something they were not reasoned into.”
Why will people not reason with God? Why do they close their eyes to the reality of life, the certainty of death, the destiny of eternity, and the redemption offered in Christ? Why do numberless Christians remain spiritual dwarfs because they do not want to reason or listen to any idea that contradicts the security of their prejudices? A nameless scholar boldly stated: “He that will not reason is a bigot; he that cannot reason is a fool, and he that does not reason is a slave.”
The issue involved in this reasoning is a sin of the mind, but God is eager to cleanse and forgive. This is His primary invitation. Until and unless we are willing to be cleansed and forgiven, there is nothing else to discuss. But the moment we are prepared to enter God’s presence and open our lives and hearts to Him as He opens Himself unto us, who knows? He might even utter words like those Isaiah 1:18 recorded in “The Message – the Bible in Contemporary Language:” “Come. Sit down. Let’s argue this out. This is God’s Message: ‘If your sins are blood-red, they’ll be snow-white. If they’re red like crimson, they’ll be like wool. If you willingly obey, you’ll feast like kings. But if you’re willful and stubborn, you’ll die like dogs.’
That’s right. God says so.” Beloved, it is time for all of us to attend a summit conference with God so that He might prepare us for His ministry to a broken world!