Nancy and I bargain all the time. If that means we go to the Amish discount grocery and Olliie’s (“Good stuff. Cheap.”) and Goodwill and Salvation Army and 24/30 (a local surplus place that opened their newest store where K-Mart had failed.) We find marked-down Starbucks and discounted Irish Spring and great Carhartt sweatshirts for $4.50.
When we bargain together, we’re going on a cheap (double meaning) date. Saving money and saving money but being delighted by being able to get what we need to help various groups and projects. And to get good coffee cheap.
But we tend to not bargain (negotiate) because I mow out of love and she makes pie out of love (and apples). We do the things that we know we need to do.
Early in his conversations with Isaiah, God’s talking about both kinds of bargains, I think. He starts by telling his people to stop wasting and start helping. He tells them to pursue the good deal:
“Say no to wrong.
Learn to do good.
Work for justice.
Help the down-and-out.
Stand up for the homeless.
Go to bat for the defenseless.”
And then He shifts to the negotiating kind of bargain. Though some of it doesn’t feel like the give and take we associate with haggling on American Pickers.
“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’ll 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.
If we’re wrecked and acknowledge it, we’ll find clean clothes and clean hearts. If we’re convinced that we are more right than God, we’re going to be disappointed.