The book of Isaiah:
The book of Isaiah is one of the most spectacular books in the bible. It contains magnificent words from God, to the prophet, given to the nation of Israel, and now for the world to read and enjoy.
The following verses are just a few of the many well-known verses in Isaiah. What is your favorite Isaiah verse?
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD
“Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the LORD: Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn;”
“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.”
A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”
“You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me.”
“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.”
“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”
“Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations.”
“This is what the LORD says – Israel’s King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God.”
He was despised and rejected by others, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him – the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD –
Isaiah 1:1-2 “The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the Lord has spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me.”
Isaiah was a true prophet to the nation of Israel.
- He saw a vision from God.
- He heard the Words of God.
- He spoke them to any and all who would listen; declaring to the earth and the heavens so that any who wanted to hear could.
A true prophet versus a false prophet
A true prophet of God declares the Word of God, not an opinion, a commentary, or a guess. What a true prophet says is true because it comes from God who cannot lie. The world has had its fill of false prophets. There were many during the time of Isaiah and there are many more in the times we live today. The more false prophets speak the more confusing and difficult it is to hear and know the Word of God.
Who do we listen to? Who has the true Words of God?
The world is approaching the end of God’s story. I don’t know how close we are because I’m not a prophet. I’m just a reporter with no claim of special visions or insights. I read and study the bible and report what God’s Word says is so.
Isaiah was more that a reporter. He heard and saw directly from God. The nation of Israel was in trouble. The nation God chose to be special had become especially wretched. They didn’t stand out as a ‘city upon a hill’ or a nation that gave glory to God. They stood out as a nation that turned their back on God and chose to follow their own path.
God chose Isaiah as a prophet to Israel. The prophet spoke to them directly, relaying to them, what God said, and what must change. If they didn’t change there would be consequences. That’s essentially what prophecy is; speaking the Word of God to an individual, nation or group of nations. God says thus, and so it shall be.
Isaiah chapter one
What did God see? What did the prophet say?
1:3 “The ox knows his owners, and the donkey his master’s crib: but Israel does not know, my people does not consider.”
Animals know their own master but Israel no longer knew the Lord.
1:4 “Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward.”
The whole nation was sinful and backsliding. Evil had seeped into the core of the nation and not one individual could truthfully claim devotion to the Holy God.
1:6 “From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it, but wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.”
Instead of a special nation they were now something of an open wound that had a putrid stench.
The Lord compared all Israel to two famous cities which were renowned for their sin and rebellion.
1:10 “Hear the word of the Lord, you rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, you people of Gomorrah.”
The Lord, through Moses, established the sacrificial system for the Jewish people. By the time of Isaiah God was sickened by them all. The hypocrisy of their phony sacrifices was now a stench on God’s nostrils.
1:11 “To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? says the Lord; I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of male goats.”
1:14 “Your new moons and our appointed feasts my soul hates: they are a trouble unto me: I am weary to bear them.”
You don’t understand do you?
God began to reveal to Isaiah some of his true character. It is part of God’s nature most of Israel past and present doesn’t understand. Most people don’t understand. God reveals his true character for those willing to sit quietly and learn. It’s not the sacrifices that are important. It’s the relationship with the One True God, that is important.
Come let us reason together
“15 And when you spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yes, when you make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. 16 Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; 17 Learn to do well, seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. 18 Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. 19 If you be willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land: 20 But if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it.”
The Lord said to them in summary; “Come let’s talk about this, I want this to work out for you, but I will not allow you to continue on this path of destruction without consequences.”
Israel didn’t like that deal. They, like all humans, chose their own path and that path usually leads to destruction.
The lonely road
Are you on the same path Israel chose? If you are, you know how the saying goes, “you are not alone.” But it’s better if you are. The path toward God is usually a lonely barren road that few choose to travel.
Matthew 7: 13-14 “Enter you in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and many there be which go in there. Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads unto life, and few there be that find it.”
We all want to be special but few of us want to go against the heavy flow of traffic. Peer pressure it tough and hard to resist. It fills the path of destruction with countless numbers of willing trekkers.When it comes to spiritual things it is much better to choose the path least traveled. The road is harder but the destination is better–far better.
Choose life, let God heal your putrid wounds. The first step is admitting to the reality of the putrid wounds. Israel refused that deal and is still paying the consequences.