Tag: confronting God’s people
Scripture reading for July 17th: Isaiah 1-4
Jesus Christ said of Isaiah that he “saw My glory and spoke about it.” (John 12:41) 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 people. The last 27 chapters contain a message of hope and consolation to those God has disciplined.
The first chapter contains a pattern of preaching used by many of the prophets. Isaiah had a four-point sermon outline that goes like this: (A) Charges of sins, (B) Threats of pending judgment, (C) Call to return to God, and (D), Promises of healing and restoration.
The charges against Judah could apply to the church today! The people of Judah were raised and delivered by God himself, but did not know God. They 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 heart-felt repentance and desire for God’s fellowship. 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. If they would seek justice and begin to encourage the oppressed and help the fatherless and widow, God would heal them. God was concerned with social justice and particularly with the needy and weak who were being exploited. (Isaiah 1:16-17) As red blood stains a white garment and was difficult to remove, God promised to blot out the stain of their sin and make them white as snow! (Isaiah 1:18-19)
The final section promised 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 they would be devoured by the sword. What a ‘difficult’ choice!