Sunday, January 22, 2012
Well... I've debated over doing Isaiah for so long. I've never felt ready to tackle it... but I REALLY want to study through it. I still don't know that I can get through the whole thing or if I can really get at ALL there is in Isaiah... but I'm going to try it.
66 chapters of prophecy.
Isaiah is considered one of the greatest prophets. He is known as one of the major prophets. He was a prophet to Judah. When Israel's kingdom was split, the tribes of Judah and Benjamin remained under one king, and the rest of Israel elected another king. This split remained for the rest of Israel's history.
So Isaiah was a prophet (mostly) to those Southern two tribes. There are times when Isaiah prophesied to Israel, or even to the nations surrounding Israel and Judah, but for the most part, he was centered in Judah.
So what is a prophet? A prophet was someone whom God sent to speak to a people with a specific word straight from the lips of God. When we think about prophecy, a lot of time we think of something along the lines of a fortune teller... but not always did a prophet come to tell someone their futures. Sometimes it was a rebuke, as in the case of David and Nathan after David sinned with Bathsheba.
As we saw in the book of Jonah, sometimes a prophet was sent as a warning to a city, a nation, or a specific person. Isaiah prophesied during the time of the following kings: Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, and Manasseh. His ministry spanned about 70 years. According to tradition, Manasseh had Isaiah executed by having him sawed in half. This was a terrible execution. The person was placed inside a hallow log... and then the log was sawed in half while they were in it and couldn't move.
The thing I find most interesting in reading and studying Isaiah is that, much of his prophecy had three implications.
1. for the people and time in which he was living.
2. For the time of Christ and the people of that time.
And 3. For us today.
When God spoke through Isaiah it was in such a way that it has forever remained relevant. There is something in the way that it is written that makes it applicable. Which could not have happened by chance.
As Isaiah speaks God's warnings to the nations of Judah and Israel... I want to take a look at our own nations... and I want to begin to pray that God would raise up a people who are willing to stand as Isaiah stood against the sin in his nation... no matter what... so that the Word of God would go forth in truth and might. In many ways, I feel that we as a world are standing on the precipice of judgment. We cannot go on as we are much longer without God taking action against the rising amount of sin... which just seems to spread like a highly contagious disease... amongst the young and the old...
I hope that the words of Isaiah awaken our hearts to desire repentance as an immediate necessity within our world. I hope that God will once again speak to our nations... that we will be given one more chance to come to a place of repentance... that the people of our world... will be given one more chance to be saved from the wrath of God...