“Let us reason together.”
Scripture reading for July 17th: Isaiah 1-4
The book of Isaiah is a rich resource of prophesy and New Testament truth. Jesus Christ said of Isaiah that he “saw my glory and spoke about it.” (John 12:41) Jesus quoted from Isaiah a number of times and began His ministry quoting from Isaiah 61:1-2 as recorded in Luke 4:18-19. Isaiah was a faithful prophet of the Lord during over 50 years of ministry under four different kings of Judah. His book is considered by some to be a miniature of the Bible as a whole. The first 39 chapters record Isaiah’s messages of judgment on the sins of a backslidden and lost people. The last 27 chapters contain a message of hope and consolation to those God has disciplined. It is said that Isaiah was sawn asunder by Manasseh, the wicked son of good king Hezekiah. As we study this amazing book of prophesy, ask the Lord to show you His glory as well!
The first chapter contain a pattern of preaching that many of the prophets used and one that Isaiah used repeatedly as well. He had a four-point sermon outline that goes something like this: (A) Charges of accusation of sins, (B) Threats of coming judgment, (C) Call to repent and return to God, and (D), Promises of healing and restoration if they repented.
The charges against Judah sound familiar with other prophets and in the church today! The people of Judah were raised and delivered by God himself, but willfully did not know God. They were sinful people who had actually turned their backs on God and rebelled against their own Maker! (Isaiah 1:2-9) The results were sores and infection, a land under judgment and drought, and cities burned with fire! God likened them to Sodom and Gomorrah, two cities He had destroyed by fire because of their gross wickedness.
God was fed up and threatened judgment! He was sick of their hollow religious meetings and meaningless offerings. He hated their festivals and was burdened by their show with no substance. He promised to hide his face from them and would not respond to their prayers. (Isaiah 1:10-15)
God asked them to turn from their sins while there was still time. Their hands were full of blood and needed washing. They needed to turn from evil and learn to do right. They should seek justice and righteousness and begin to encourage the oppressed and help the fatherless and widow. God was concerned with social justice and particularly with the needy and weak who were being exploited. (Isaiah 1:16-17) He tried to reason with them about the stain of their sins. As red blood stains a white garment and is difficult to remove, God promised to blot out the stain of their sin and make them white as snow or white like a clean wool garment! (Isaiah 1:18-19)
The final section promises more blessings and healing. He promised that if they were willing and obedient, they would eat the best of the land, but if they refused and rebelled against His advice they would be devoured by the sword. What a deal! God will get revenge on the wicked rebels and afterward He will restore the godly judges and counselors. He will have mercy on those who are penitent but will punish those who are evil!