I am once again convinced that the English language, a language in which 'cool' and 'hot' can mean exactly the same thing, does major disservice to scripture.
A day or so ago, I ran across this oft-quoted passage in Isaiah 1:18 "Come, now let us reason together, says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow...."
To read that verse, you'd think we were being invited into some conference chamber. The judge's robe hangs open to reveal his khaki slacks and blue dress shirt. The court clerk brings us coffee in fine china and a plate of Girl Scout Thin Mints.
The judge moves from behind his desk to take a seat in a leather wingback chair separated from yours by a small table that holds pictures of his grandkids in wooden frames. He takes a sip of his coffee and a bite of a Thin Mint, letting the moment hang in awkward silence. Then, just as you're about to break out in a cold sweat, he leans over, touches you on your arm and says in a warm tone, "Come, let us reason together....".
The inference - at least in English - is this: Surely we can work out our differences. Undoubtably we're both reasonable people. Let's not continue this farce of a trial. Let's settle our matters like gentlemen, in wingback chairs, over coffee and Girl Scout cookies.
OK, snap out of it. That is not even remotely what that passage describes.
That word - reason - is from the Hebrew word Yakach...and it has none of the nuance of comprimise that is inferred in English. The literal translation is to prove, decide, judge, rebuke, reprove, correct, be right.
In other words, He isn't coming for a comprimise. There will be no voir dire. He's serving as jury, judge & executioner. He will be right when the gavel hits the hardwood. He is not asking you for new information. You are not in the room to debate. You are in the judge's chambers to hear his decision. He has done the reasoning for both of us.
The followup verses are not some grand comprimise, but rather the judge of the highest court laying out the way it's going to be:
"If you are willing and obedient, you will eat of 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.
In a moment, you are ushered back out of His chambers. You can still smell the leather of the chairs. You still have Thin Mint smeared on your thumb and index finger. You never got a chance to make your case. In a moment of brutal self-awareness, you realize that you didn't have much of a case anyway. Nevertheless, the judge looks you in the the eye and asks "How then do you plea?"
All eternity waits for your answer.