I Focus of the Book
Jesus Christ is the focus of the Book of Isaiah. John tells us, Isaiah “saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him” (John 12:41). That is perhaps the reason why this book is the most quoted Old Testament book in the New Testament.
Insight: “We see Christ in this book and hear the prophet crying, “He is coming!” and “He is coming again!” He is coming as a Saviour, pictured in chapter 53, in humiliation as our sin-bearer. He is coming again in power and great glory, pictured in chapter 34.
Johannes Kepler (1570-1631, German astronomer, discovered the three laws of planetary motion), in failing to bring the heavenly bodies into satisfactory adjustment with one centre, at last conceived of the ellipse with two foci and everything fell into harmony. So when in our reverent study of God’s Word we catch the dual centre of Christ on the cross and Christ on the throne, then the Word shines clear and we begin to see what the prophet saw, the world’s Redeemer, coming first in humiliation, then again in power and glory.” — What the Bible Is All About by Dr. Henrietta C. Mears.
The Assyrian Empire was a great world power even before Isaiah’s time and it was expanding. When Isaiah was a young man the Assyrians had captured all of north Israel and later Samaria. Then they came and destroyed 46 walled cities of Judah and carried away 2 lakh captives.
But when Isaiah was an old man, in 701 B.C. the Assyrian army was miraculously stopped by the walls of Jerusalem by an angel of God (see Isaiah 37:36). Though Sennacherib, the king of Assyria lived 20 years after this incident, he never again came against Jerusalem.
So we need to understand the first part of Isaiah (chapters 1 to 39) in the background of the everimpending threat of the Assyrian empire.
The message of God ever was and still is, if His people would not repent and change their ways, judgement is coming. At the same time, He will also repay the enemies of the Jewish people who treated them harshly.
The Samaritan Woman: “I know that Messiah (called Christ) is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” Then Jesus declared, “I who speak to you am he” John 4:25, 26.
● Isaiah 2:2—4 The Glory of the Messianic Age
This is a prophesy of Israel’s future at the Second Coming, when the Messiah will rule from Jerusalem. It speaks of the last days when the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains. It says that the law will go out from Zion. And that the Messiah will judge between the nations. It looks forward to the time of peace when the Messiah will rule; a time when people will beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks.
Can you see the storm clouds of war gather over the nations? Till He, your Messiah reigns it will continue. Peace within your heart and in the world is only possible when He reigns on the throne. Is He on the throne of your heart, dear child of God? Be at peace with Him!
● Isaiah 4:2—6 The Branch of the Lord
Here the Messiah is shown to grow up as a Branch out of the Family Tree of David. Awesome will be the Lord’s Presence with His people at that time; a cloud of smoke by day and a glow of flaming fire by night, and over all the glory will be a canopy. The presence and glory of the Messiah will be among his people as God was in the pillar of cloud and fire with the Israelites in the desert. The Messiah will thus be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day and a refuge and hiding place from the storm and rain.
Is God your hiding place? Is He your refuge? No other place can offer you hope, comfort and strength. The Messiah alone, let Him alone be your confidence. Hide in Him. (see Psalm 32:7, Colossians 3:3)
● Isaiah 7:13, 14 The Sign of Immanuel
The Messiah will be born of a virgin. He will be called Immanuel. Fulfilled in Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:22, 23). Immanuel means “God with us.” The truth that the child is God Himself is implied in the name Immanuel. John wrote, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14). The sign of Immanuel was given to King Ahaz and the house of David clearly indicating that the child would be born in the house of David itself. Luke records the angelic (Gabriel) announcement thus: “The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David” (Luke 1:32b).
Christmas! What lovely thoughts it brings! But nothing can be lovelier than the realization that God is with us! Is this is your daily experience? He became man to bring us near Him! Oh, when life’s pressures hem you in, forget not dear child of God, God is with you. He is Immanuel! He is so close; just a touch and whisper away!
● Isaiah 9:1, 2 The Great Light
The background of this is the prediction of the fall of Israel (Isaiah chapters 8 and 9). Zebulun and Naphthali, the Galilee region, was the first section to fall before the Assyrians (2 Kings 15:29). Yet one day, this same region would have the honour of hosting the Light of the World, Jesus Christ (see John 8:12).
Have you ever thought why the Bible speaks so much on light? The first thing God commanded was, “Let there be light”; isn’t it? God wants you to have the light of life, the Messiah, residing in your life. Then your light will shine forth like the dawn and the noonday sun! Dear child of God, do not have anything to do with darkness, rather step out into the light! (Read Ephesians 5:8—14).
● Isaiah 9:6, 7 A Child is Born
He will be a son. The government will be on His shoulders; therefore He is a King! He will reign on David’s throne; that is He will not only come from David’s royal line, but also will reign in Jerusalem. Ah, He is the Lion of the tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5)! “He will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6b). Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end. And the zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. Think about the titles of this child. Isn’t it amazing that a child should be called thus? That is the miracle of Christmas!
Think on Jesus Christ, your Messiah! Who is He to you? Is He not a Wonderful Counsellor? He is, because He is the wisdom of God (1 Cor. 1:24) and He is “wonderful in counsel and magnificent in wisdom” (Isaiah 28:29b). He is ever willing to guide you. Again He is Mighty God. For He is the power of God (1 Cor. 1:24). And He will show Himself strong on your behalf. He is your Everlasting Father. The freedom to call God Abba (which means Dearest Daddy) has been given to all those who trust in Him (Romans 8:15, 16).
This relationship is not based on fear, but on love and freedom. The blood of Jesus shed on the cross has brought us into such nearness of fellowship with God. Dear child of God, are you enjoying boldness in this relationship with God? Finally, He is the Prince of Peace. As long as the world and as long as you neglect Him, you can never know peace. But we have peace with God through Him (Romans 5:1).
● Isaiah 11:1—10 The Branch from Jesse
A shoot is predicted to come out from the stump of Jesse. At the time of Jesus’ birth, Joseph and Mary were poor and obscure. So the line of David was reduced to a stump when the Branch predicted here came up. This is the Messiah Himself. The Spirit of the Lord was predicted to rest on Him. Verse 2 here is one of the loveliest and aweinspiring descriptions of the Spirit of God in the entire Bible.
All gospel accounts (Matthew 1:16, Mark 1:10, Luke 3:22 and John 1:32—34) takes note of the fact that the Holy Spirit came upon Jesus Christ. Not only that, Jesus began His ministry by unrolling the scroll of the prophet Isaiah and reading the words, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor” (Luke 4:18, Isaiah 61:1).
The Spirit of the Lord came upon only select people in Old Testament times; on people like priests, prophets, judges and kings. But today Jesus is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. And this promise is available to all those who believe in Him. Is the Holy Spirit of God a real person to you? His indwelling Presence in us (see John 16:7) is what makes the real difference in our character. This is what is known as the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22, 23). And it is the Spirit of God who gives us power to witness to Jesus Christ (Acts 1;8).
Verse 3 of Isaiah 11 tells us that the Messiah would delight in the fear of the Lord. The second part of this prophecy will find fulfilment at the Second Coming. The Messiah as the Judge is next described; His awesome power to inflict punishment is also portrayed. Verses 6 to 8 talks of universal peace when the Messiah reigns. Even Creation will be in harmony with all kinds of animals co-existing peacefully. But the great yearning and anticipation is painted for us in verse 9: The earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as waters cover the sea!
We are also shown what happens “In that day” (a key phrase repeated throughout Isaiah). “The Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious” (v. 10).
Now here is something interesting. Have a look at the national flag of Israel. What do you find there? The Star of David; isn’t it? Read verse 10 again. It says, The Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples! Do you think that “that day” is near?
● Isaiah 16:5 (see also Isaiah 32:1—1, 2) The Messiah—A Man
This verse primarily applies to King Hezekiah, but it cannot apply to him alone. The verse reads, “In love a throne will be established; in faithfulness a man will sit on it—one from the house of David.” When Jesus stood before Pilate, he said “Here is the man!” (John 19:5). Again when Isaiah 32:2 pictures each man like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm and streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land, the Messiah’s humanity is what is most emphasized.
The humanity of the Messiah is what brings us into a close relationship with Him. Read Hebrews 2:11 and 14. It says that He shared in our humanity and is not ashamed to call us brothers. Have you ever thought of the fact that Jesus lived like you and me (the only difference and the most important difference being the fact that He was sinless) for thirtythree years in this earth)? What nearness does it bring into your relationship with Him? He is able to help us because He understands us perfectly (Hebrews 2:18, 4:15, 16).
● Isaiah 25:6—9, 26:19 The Resurrection of the Messiah
Death’s power was annulled by the resurrection of Jesus Christ the Messiah. Peter powerfully drove home that truth on the Day of Pentecost, “But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him” (Acts 2:24) [Emphasis added]. Paul thundered about Jesus Christ, “Who [Jesus] through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:4).
This resurrection was anticipated 700 years ago by Isaiah (note the phrase, ‘on this mountain’ in verse 7 zooming in on the geographical location of the resurrection of Jesus). He foretold of the day that God would destroy death and wipe away the tears from all faces. [Read 1 Corinthians 15:20, 21 and Revelation 21:3, 4). The blessing is for all peoples to enjoy (v.6). This resurrection is not a figment of imagination, but a bodily resurrection: “But your dead will live; their bodies will rise. You who dwell in the dust, wake up and shout for joy. Your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead” (Isaiah 26:19 NIV) [emphasis added].
For a true believer in Jesus Christ, the Life and the Resurrection (see John 11:25, 26), death is not the end. It is a beginning, a bridge, a birth, a door to life eternal. Have you got this certain hope in your life?
● Isaiah 35:5, 6 The Messiah’s Miracles
When the Messiah comes, he will work miracles in men (v.5, 6) and in nature (v.6, 7). Let us look at verse 4, which reads, Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come.” When John the Baptist while he was in prison sent two of his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?’ (Luke 7:19), Jesus did many miracles at that time and asked the messengers to go back and report to John what they saw and heard.
To many of us, the method adopted by Jesus Christ to clear John’s doubt appears strange. But Bible Scholars point out that Jesus adopted this method because John the Baptist was familiar with the Book of Isaiah where these miracles have been recorded as done by the coming Messiah. Thus Jesus answered John’s doubt through the testimony of the Scriptures itself.
Miracles that Jesus did are evidence that He is the Messiah. No other man who walked this earth has ever performed the kind of miracles Jesus did. Sadly many modern evangelists (not all) through tricks fool audiences that many miracles have taken place in their meetings. One simple but fundamental difference between the miracles of Jesus and today’s miracle workers is this:
Jesus’ miracles were done to meet genuine and pressing human needs as he went about on his way and it was never done for showmanship. He does miracles even today. Each day, if you can count it, try. There would be many miracles in your life as well; you need eyes to see it, of course!
● Isaiah 35:8—10 The Messiah’s Highway
It will be called The Way of Holiness. Only the redeemed will walk there (see 1 Peter 1:18, 19). The ransomed of the Lord will return. This talks about the return of the redeemed remnant of Jews. They will enter Zion with singing. Gladness and joy will overtake them. Sorrow and sighing will flee away.
There is joy in God’s Presence. He has kept joy for you. There is a day coming when your sorrow and sighing will flee away. All you need to do is keep walking the Way of Holiness. It is the Messiah’s highway!
Insight: People often speak of “Jesus Christ,” rather as though “Jesus” was his given name (which it was) and “Christ” his surname (which it wasn’t). To his family he was “Jesus,” one of the most common Jewish male names at the time. It’s a variant of “Joshua,” and means “saviour,” “deliverer.” To his disciples and the crowds in Galilee and Jerusalem he was “Rabbi,” “Teacher.” As his authority grew, many began to call him Kyrios, “Lord”–one who should be respected and honoured.
But it was only with painful slowness, if we are to believe the gospel records, that even his closest followers came to recognize that he was “the Christ”–”the Messiah.” Both titles mean “Anointed One,” the first in Greek, the second in Hebrew. For the Twelve, it would seem that the moment of recognition was somewhere on the road to Caesarea Philippi, when Jesus asked them who they would say that he was. Peter spoke for them all: “The Christ [Messiah] of God,” he replied (Luke 9:20). It was a defining moment, both for them and for Jesus. From then on his ministry shifted its emphasis. Now there were fewer miracles, less time spent teaching the crowds. Instead, he concentrated on the little group of disciples, setting out for them the path that lay ahead of him: rejection, death, resurrection.
They found it hard to comprehend. Although such a messiah was described in the writings of Isaiah, it was not an image that they found either familiar or appealing. They were looking for a king in the Davidic mould, a conqueror and liberator, not a Suffering Servant who would die for the people. They failed fully to comprehend the very scriptures which they knew so well.
— Taken from the Introduction to Forty Days with the Messiah by David Winter. (It is a book of day-by- day reflections on the words of Handel’s Oratorio).
Handel’s Messiah is considered to be the greatest Christian musical composition ever. It uses words (with almost no change) from the KJV Bible relying heavily on prophecies in the Book of Isaiah. His purpose was to get across to the common man the life of Jesus the Messiah on a grand musical scale. Hallelujah Chorus that is so often performed during Christmas and Easter, and is instantly recognized by audiences both Christian and secular, is part of this magnificent work.
It is said that after the Chorus was performed for the first time in London, King George II stood up in respect. And whenever it is performed audiences stand up. It may also be noted that Handel composed Messiah, his greatest work, when he was passing through great misfortune and bitter disappointment. Surely God works the best in us and through us when we pass through the valleys!
Easy to Understand Structure of Isaiah 1—39
>1—6 Judgement and Salvation for Israel
> 7—12 Book of Immanuel
> 13—23 Judgement and Salvation for the Nations
> 24—35 Vision of Judgement and Restoration
> 36—39 Historical Interlude
II The Bible in Miniature
The Book of Isaiah in many ways mirrors the Bible itself in structure:
–Source—Character by Character by Selwyn Hughes and Trevor J. Partridge
III Isaiah’s Commission (Chapter 6)
This chapter begins with the words, “In the year that King Uzziah died . . .” King Uzziah was a successful king who reigned in Judah for fiftytwo years. But after he became powerful, his pride led to his downfall (2 Chronicles 26:16). He was afflicted with leprosy by God’s judgement on him the last years of his reign. It was in the year that this king died that Isaiah has this great vision of Almighty God.
Pride always leads to downfall. It leads to death. Our pride has to die before we can see God. When pride dies and we humble ourselves, then the stage is set for us to meet our God and King.
Isaiah “saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted.” Have you noted the fact that throughout the Bible whenever the throne of the Lord is portrayed, God is shown seated on His throne. The earthly throne of Israel was empty now because their king had died. But the throne of heaven is never left unoccupied. God is always seated on His throne.
Can you imagine what thoughts would have raced through the minds of the people of Judah when the long and peaceful reign of fifty-two years of one of the most successful kings in their history came to an end? Know that changes in our earthly life that brings in emptiness need not unsettle you. For the King is seated on His throne, always! Whenever your mind troubles you with thoughts of insecurity focus your mind on God seated on His throne. Then peace from God will come.
Holiness and our God are inseparable. He is described as “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” Psalm 93:5 says, “Holiness adorns your house for endless days, O Lord.” It is not possible for us to describe holiness. Paul says, God lives in unapproachable light (1 Timothy 6:16). The writer to the Hebrews says, “Without holiness no one will see the Lord” (12:14). Isaiah is shown awesome sights of God’s holiness! Even the seraphs (a high order of angelic beings) covered their faces in God’s presence with two wings. And at the sound of their voices crying, “Holy, Holy, Holy,” the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was covered with smoke.
Our lives may perhaps never attain sinless perfection on earth. But a true believer is characterized by a desire and thirst after holiness. He never tries to attain it by personal effort, for that is not possible. Instead, he repents of his sin, humbles himself before his God and cries out to God to create in him a pure heart (Psalm 51:10). He places himself beneath the cleansing fountain of the blood of Jesus shed on the cross on a continual basis (Zechariah 13:1, 1 John 1:7). And avoids entertaining sinful thoughts, attitudes, looks, words and actions.
Isaiah cries out, “Woe to me! I am ruined! I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” First he sees God’s holiness, then becomes aware of his own sinfulness. A vision of God is overwhelming and most terrifying, for our “God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29). When Simon Peter saw the miraculous catch of fish, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” (Luke 5:8).
A true vision of God strikes terror and immediately makes you and me conscious of our terrible sinfulness and separation from God as a result. Have you at any time come to such a point in your life? If not, you’ve not even caught a glimpse of God. The god you worship as a Blessing Machine is an idol, a creation of man’s fancy and imagination. Your God, the Holy One of Israel, is Holy!
God Himself makes provision for Isaiah’s cleansing and commissioning. With a live coal taken from the altar his mouth was touched by a seraph. The announcement that his guilt was now taken away and sin atoned for was made.
Know that God has a solution for your sin. The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross was our sacrifice of atonement (that means God is satisfied, he is no longer filled with wrath or fury against us because of our sin). This cleansing and purification of your sins is freely available to you in Jesus Christ. Have you made use of it?
Then came God’s call. “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us? The missionary heart of God is revealed here. Our God always wanted to bridge the gap and separation between Himself and mankind that sin brought. So He was constantly sending messengers, but finally He sent His own Son to us. Here, Isaiah immediately responds saying, “Here am I. Send me!”
God needs people to tell others of His love. He is asking even now, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” We need to remember that unless someone had come to tell us of God’s love, we still would have been living in darkness. Dear young friend, the greatest privilege you can enjoy on earth is to be God’s Ambassador (ref. 2 Cor. 5:20). Are you willing? Will you go? [Read also Romans 10:14, 15].
Isaiah had first of all an upward vision,
then an inward vision
and finally an outward vision.
He first saw God in His holiness,
then saw himself in his sinfulness
and then saw the world in its lost condition.
God sent Isaiah but warned that his ministry would not be popular nor was it going to bring in sudden transformation. But still He was sent with the commission, “Go and tell.” That is all we are asked to do faithfully, “Go and tell” (ref. Matthew 28:18—20).
IV Songs of Praise (Isaiah Chapters 12, 25, 26)
The Song in Chapter 12 begins with “In that day.” Isaiah here looks forward to the kingdom of God on earth as described in Chapter 11. This song was later sung by those who returned from exile and long captivity into their homeland once again. It is a song of praise and thanksgiving. The song describes the restoring and comforting love of God. It talks of a time when God’s anger has turned away. The Branch of Jesse, Yeshua Messiah, has made it possible. Therefore God is your salvation and with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
Did it seem that God’s anger against you will never subside? If so, know that His anger against you has been turned away by Jesus Christ. He will come back to you with comfort, salvation and strength. And will restore joy in your life. Read this song of Chapter 12 again and again, with prayer, praise and thanksgiving. And may the joy of God cause you to shout aloud and sing with joy!
The Song of Chapter 25 celebrates God as One who in perfect faithfulness has done marvellous things which He had planned long ago. He is shown to be the protector of the weak and as the one who subdues the strong. The defeat of death is portrayed, Christ’s resurrection celebrated. The gladness of trusting in God and the resulting saving act of God is celebrated. It closes with the “destruction of Moab which is typical of Christ’s victory on the cross and the pulling down of Satan’s strongholds.”
Have you ever thought of God as the victorious one? If not, focus on the words in Hallelujah chorus in Handel’s Messiah (the words are from Revelation 19:6; 11:15 and 19:16, KJV): “Hallelujah: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. The kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”
The Song of Chapter 26 is a song that celebrates the city of God where salvation is to be found. It is shown that God will keep in perfect peace the one whose mind is steadfast, who trusts in Him. God is shown as the Rock eternal, therefore trust in Him. Whatever the people had accomplished, it was understood as God had done for them. The resurrection of God’s people is celebrated here. And the judgement of God that is coming upon this world because of the shedding of blood shed upon it is also mentioned.
Trust and peace. These two words describe the life of a man or woman of God. He who trusts in God will enjoy the peace of God under all circumstances.
V The Songs of the Vineyard (Isaiah 5 and 27:2—6)
This Song of Chapter 5 has almost the sad note of a funeral song. God had taken care of His vineyard, the nation of Israel, with utmost care. It was planted on a fertile hillside. And God like a good gardener took utmost care of it. Yet when He came to look for a crop of good grapes, it yielded only bad fruit. Therefore God laments, “What more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it?” So God decides to bring judgement upon His vineyard. Jesus’ parable in Matthew 21:33—45 seems to be an echo of this parable.
What more do you want God to do for you? He has taken care of you so far in life; hasn’t He? God is cultivating you like His choice vineyard. He expects good fruit from it. Will you yield bad fruit or good? The choice is yours. But one of the surest things mentioned in this song is that judgement will follow if the vineyard yields only bad fruit. Think about it.
The Song of Isaiah 27:2—6 talks about the Revival of God’s Vineyard. This is a joyous song in contrast to the sad song of Isaiah 5. It talks of God’s careful watch over His vineyard. And the sure promise that, “In days to come Jacob will take root, Israel will bud and blossom and fill all the world with fruit” follows.
There is a historical context in this song. It talks about a time when the nation of Israel with their Messiah as King will bless the world. If Christ is indeed your king, you will be a blessing even today. You’ll bear fruit to bring Him glory.
Insight: “In That Day.” 1, 2, 12, 13 [of Chapter 27]. Notice how often the phrase is used in Isaiah: 4:2; 7:20, 23; 11:10, 11; 12:1; 14:3; 17:4, 7, 9; 19:16, 18, 19, 23, 24; 22:12; 26:1; 28:5; 29:18; 30:23 etc. We might almost call “That Day” the subject of the book; all mixed up with references to Isaiah’s own day. Source—Halley’s Bible Handbook.
VI Words of Promise and Comfort
● Isaiah 1:18 talks of the promise that sins that are like scarlet shall be as white as snow and those that are red as crimson shall be like wool. Man’s greatest longing has always been to find peace with God and have all his sins washed away. God Himself has made that provision in the blood of Jesus Christ.
● Isaiah 14:1 says that the Lord will have compassion on Jacob. It says that once again He will choose Israel and will settle them in their own land. We are living at a time when it is being fulfilled today.
● Isaiah 28:16 tells us that God lays a stone in Zion. This is a tested stone, a precious cornerstone (see 1 Pet. 2:8) for a sure foundation. Those who trust will never be dismayed. Dear friends, if you trust in Jesus, you’ll never be dismayed.
● Isaiah 28:23—29 tells us how God knows to deal uniquely with His children. He knows what method to use to correct and discipline. He also knows for how long corrective measures should go on. You can submit to His disciplining process because He is “wonderful in counsel and magnificent in wisdom” (v. 29)
● Isaiah 30:15—18 is a study in contrasts—blessing and joy to those who trust in God, woe to those who rebel. God tells His people that “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.” But then the people were not willing to listen or wait for their God. They wanted to do things their way in a swift fashion.
Especially they tried to rely on their own plans rejecting the Spirit of God and relying on Egypt whose help is worthless (see 30:1—7, 31:1—3) . In spite of this failure the promise of God is: “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!” (v. 18). Verses 19 to 26 speak words of great comfort and encouragement.
● Isaiah 31:5 This is a specific promise made to King Hezekiah and the people who were trusting in God to deliver them from the Assyrians. Isaiah is expressing his confidence in the Lord’s intervention on behalf of Judah. It happened exactly like that (37:36). Even then this promise is of great comfort to a believer; to know that God fights for us like birds hovering overhead, shielding us and delivering us and “pass over” us and rescue us! What comfort!
VII The Coming Judgement
~~Isaiah 2:12—22 speaks about the day that the Lord Almighty has in store for the proud and lofty. It tells us that God will rise to shake the earth and in that day the Lord alone will be exalted. The day of the Lord is the day of judgement. Finally a call is given to stop trusting in man.
~~Isaiah 3:16—26, 32:9—14 talks about the women of Jerusalem who were proud and complacent. God would judge them.
~~Isaiah 14:12—15 speaks about the judgement to fall on Babylon. Some Bible Scholars believe that these verses might also refer to the fall of Satan (they also quote Ezekiel 28:12—19 which is a judgement on Tyre as another reference in the Bible to the fall of Satan). The occasion of the king of Babylon’s fall furnishes the picture of Satan’s original fall (New Unger’s Bible Handbook).
~~Isaiah 24:19, 20 speaks about the judgement that will fall on earth. This entire chapter corresponds very well to what Jesus said about the signs of the end times in Matthew 24. The words of Isaiah assume special significance because scientists reported that the Tsunami of December 26, 2004 made the earth wobble on its axis.
Now read Isaiah’s words (written 2700 years ago): “The earth is broken up, the earth is split asunder, the earth is thoroughly shaken. The earth reels like a drunkard, it sways like a hut in the wind; so heavy upon it is the guilt of its rebellion that it falls—never to rise again.”
~~Isaiah 34 speaks of the battle of Armageddon (see Rev. 16:16) and Judgement against the nations. The words of verse 4 are very much the language that Jesus used in Matthew 24 regarding signs in the sky.
VIII King Hezekiah and Prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 36 to 39)
When you trust in God like King Hezekiah, your enemies will pose a question at you: “On what are you basing this confidence of yours?” (36:4). They will say that the Lord will not be able to deliver you (36:18). King Hezekiah tore his clothes when he heard the enemies’ words and put on sackcloth and went into the temple of the Lord. A message was sent to Prophet Isaiah to pray for the few people left in the city (37:3, 4). Isaiah sends a message that Hezekiah need not be afraid of the words with which the enemies had insulted the God of Israel (37:6).
The commander withdraws as Isaiah had predicted (see 37:7, 8). But then Sennacherib again sent a message insulting the living God. This time he took the letter and went to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. And he prayed to his God saying, “You alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth.” He asked God to give ear to the threats of Sennacherib who had insulted the living God. King Hezekiah agreed that the gods of other nations could not help them because they were idols. But he wanted God to deliver them “so that all kingdoms on earth may know that you alone, O Lord, are God.”
Then Isaiah sent a message predicting Sennacherib’s fall. “Because you have prayed to me concerning Sennacherib king of Assyria, this is what the Lord has spoken against him.” Dear friends, Sennacherib was the most powerful king of his times. See how Hezekiah found courage to pray against him.
Therefore however big or threatening the enemy appears to be, take it to the Lord in prayer. His answer would surely come. It was predicted that the king of Assyria will not enter the city or shoot an arrow there! It happened exactly as predicted when an angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp (37:36). [Lord Byron wrote a poem titled “The Destruction of Sennacherib”].
Now Hezekiah became ill and was about to die. Isaiah told him to put his house in order because he was going to die and not recover. Hezekiah wept bitterly and prayed to the Lord. The Lord then sent Isaiah back to Hezekiah with the promise that fifteen more years will be added to his life. This was confirmed by the sign of the shadow cast by the sun going back ten steps it had gone down.
In his prayer after recovery he promised that he will walk humbly all his years because of the anguish he had suffered (38:15). Yet he became proud (Very important: read 2 Chronicles 32:24—26) and showed all that was in his storehouses to the envoys who came from Babylon (see Isaiah ch. 39). Then Isaiah came to him to pronounce God’s judgement of the nation at the hand of Babylon. It came to pass as predicted in another hundred years time.
What Tradition Says About Isaiah
A tradition, in the Talmud, which was accepted as authentic by many early Church Fathers, states that Isaiah resisted Manasseh’s [the wicked son of King Hezekiah, born during the additional 15 years granted to him] idolatrous decrees, and was fastened between two planks o, and “sawn asunder,” thus suffering a most horrible death. This is thought to be referred to in Heb. 11:37. Halley’s Bible Handbook.
IX King Ahaz and Prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 7)
This chapter introduces us to the Sign of Immanuel. It was Matthew (1:22, 23) who made the connection between Jesus and Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14). To us, Immanuel (God with us) brings comfort and strength. But in the original context, to Ahaz, it became a sign of missed opportunity. Two kings had plotted against Ahaz and Judah. Through Prophet Isaiah, God encouraged Ahaz. He said that their plans would not come to pass. So Ahaz was asked to keep calm and not be afraid.
Once again the Lord spoke to Ahaz asking him to ask the Lord for a sign (v. 10, 11). Yet he was unwilling to ask, saying “I will not put the Lord to the test” (v. 12). Even though the language of Ahaz seems to be very pious, it was the reflection of his unbelieving heart. Therefore Isaiah speaks in an angry tone in verse 13. The attitude of Ahaz invited the judgement of God because he was unwilling to believe in the sign of Immanuel, God with us.
This is the same with us today. If we reject Immanuel, God with us, then only judgement awaits us. But if we trust Immanuel, God with us, then the threats of powerful enemies will fall into perspective. We will remain calm and unafraid. In spite of having this prophecy of Immanuel, 700 years later the Jewish people failed to welcome Him. That is what John commented on saying, “He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him” (John 1:11 NIV). Perhaps it is appropriate to end with the Lord’s message to Ahaz: “If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all” (Isaiah 7:9b NIV). May God be with us, O Immanuel!
Note: It is remarkable that both Pekah and Rezin were killed within three years of the prophecy —New Unger’s Bible Handbook. [These were the two kings that came against Ahaz, Pekah king of Israel and Rezin king of Aram.
Comment: When everything looks hopeless—then faith in the promise of Immanuel can make the important difference. The fact that God is with us doesn’t necessarily change the situation, but it does change the meaning of the situation. No situation is ever the same if you believe that God is with you in it.
–From A Sermon by Alice Matthews on Isaiah 7:1—14, taken from The Art of Preaching Old Testament Narrative by Steven D. Mathewson.
Isaiah 1:18 Though Yours Sins Are like Scarlet
Isaiah 5:4 What More Could Have Been Done for My Vineyard?
Isaiah 6:5 Woe to Me! I Am a Man of Unclean Lips
Isaiah 7:14 Immanuel
Isaiah 9:2 People Walking in Darkness Have Seen a Great Light
Isaiah 9:4 You Have Shattered the Yoke, Midian’s Defeat
Isaiah 9:3 You Have Enlarged the Nation and Increased Their Joy
Isaiah 9:6b And He Will Be Called
Isaiah 9:6b Wonderful Counselor
Isaiah 9:6b Mighty God
Isaiah 9:6b Everlasting Father
Isaiah 9:6b Prince of Peace
Isaiah 9:7a Of the Increase of His Government and Peace
Isaiah 10:27 Burden Will Be Lifted
Isaiah 12:1 Although You Were Angry with Me, Comforted Me
Isaiah 16:5 A Throne Will Be Established
Isaiah 18:7 Gifts Will Be Brought to the Lord Almighty
Isaiah 28:6 Turn Back the Battle at the Gate
Isaiah 28:28 Does Not Thresh Forever
Isaiah 30:1 Forming an Alliance, but Not by My Spirit
Isaiah 30:15 Repentance, Rest, Quietness, Strength
Isaiah 30:23a He Will Also Send You Rain for the Seed You Sow
Isaiah 33:17 See the King in His Beauty
Isaiah 35:3,4 Be Strong, Do Not Fear; Your God Will Come
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