Isaiah Chapter 6: Isaiah’s Vision

This week we get a look into Isaiah’s commission as a prophet. He sees a vision and God is in it. Isaiah is forgiven of his sins, then is given instruction on what to prophecy and for how long. Isaiah may have experienced this vision while in the temple (v. 1), but this is not confirmed. We will look at this chapter in two sections: the first section (vs. 1-8) describes Isaiah’s vision and the second section (vs. 8-13) describes Isaiah’s comission as a prophet.

In verses 1-8, Isaiah sees God in his vision, surrounded by angels that are praising Him. God’s voice and presence are heavy and dominant. As the result of being in God’s presence, Isaiah is immediately aware of his state as a man that has sinned. Isaiah feels his own sin acutely in the presence of God, who can do no wrong and from whom all righteousness flows. So Isaiah says: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The LORD of hosts.” Isaiah 6:5

The burning coal that one of the angels uses to touch Isaiah’s lips is to purge Isaiah of His sins and make him worthy to be a prophet of God.

In verses 8-13, God asks who will speak for Him and Isaiah responds with willingness to go: “Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” Isaiah 6:8

God then tells Isaiah that the people will not heed the warnings. They will hear the admonitions to return to God, but they will not obey. Because of this, God will allow other armies to come and level their cities. However, there will be a portion of the people, a remnant, that will still be faithful to God throughout all of these tribulations.

A powerful image is given of the desolated Israel: a stump. Israel as a great tree had flourished yet is finally cut down due to their disobedience. Yet the stump remains, and this stump has been obedient and righteous.

An important lesson we can take away from Isaiah 6 is that God’s existence is a thing to be feared. We see how He makes the Israelites suffer and this results from His power. We see how He makes Isaiah tremble and this results from His power. The question we all have to answer in our lives is: Will we be like the Israelites and ignore God or will we come to know, love and obey Him through the Bible?

It is impossible to avoid this choice.

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Isaiah Chapter 5: Everything You Know

Last week we discussed how Jesus would redeem mankind as the Branch of the Lord. This chapter tells the story of Israel’s need for a savior. It can be divided into three separate sections:

– Section 1 – vs 1-7: The disappointing state of the Jewish nation

– Section 2 – vs 8-23: Judgments on specific sins of the Jewish nation

– Section 3 – vs 24-30: Description of consequences

Section 1 describes God’s disappointment in His people. The metaphor used is that God made a vineyard and expected it to yield good grapes. Instead, it yields wild grapes. Because of this, God will stop protecting and caring for the vineyard. It will be overcome with thorns and will have no rain. It is somewhat simple to see the meaning here: God will stop blessing the nation of Israel and will allow other people to conquer and rule them. Because of their disobedience, God gives them up to their fate.

Their fate is not unlike that of the people referenced in the first chapter of Romans: “because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.” Romans 1:21-25

Section 2 instructs us on the futility of valuing the wrong things in life. The people are proud and far from humble, far from following God and recognizing His precedence. Because of their idle and empty interests, which are taking God’s place of reverence in their lives, the people will be brought low. And through this judgment, God will be exalted: “But the LORD of hosts shall be exalted in judgment, And God who is holy shall be hallowed in righteousness.” Isaiah 5:16

Section 3 leaves us with a description of the Israelites’ consequences. It describes the people that God will allow to take over and kill the Israelites. They are described as lions, invincible and deadly. These enemies would come and defeat the nation of Israel, leaving them crying for help. But as we see in the final verse: God will not heed their call: “In that day they will roar against them like the roaring of the sea. And if one looks to the land, Behold, darkness and sorrow; And the light is darkened by the clouds.” Isaiah 5:30

The application for this chapter is to not forget or ignore God. By forgetting God, we take His blessings for granted and we forget the origin of all the good things in life. The Israelites forgot God and not long after had put all sorts of absurd things in His place.

Tonight, I encourage you to remember your Creator. Not only did He create you, but He created everything and everyone you know in this life.

Isaiah Chapter 4: The Branch of the Lord

Isaiah chapter 4 is beautiful and peaceful in that it gives us respite from the judgment and condemnation we read in chapter 3. 

If you remember last week we were exposed to the women of Israel who were beautiful on the outside yet corrupted on the inside. Chapter 4 starts with the women again, mentioning how seven will have to beg one man to father children. The lack of men in Israel is attributed to how many died defending the city (Isaiah 3:25).

But the real peace in this chapter comes in verses 2-6 where Jesus is referred to in prophecy. The Branch of the Lord is Jesus Christ. 

These verses depict a shimmering display of God’s power. Through Jesus, the righteous that remain in Jerusalem will be made holy. When God has purged Israel of its sinful element, He will love and care for the faithful, providing direction, guidance and blessings. The cloud of smoke by day and pillar of fire by night are a reference back to when God guided His people through the wilderness, etc., namely Exodus 13:20-22:

“…edge of the wilderness. And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night. He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people.”

This chapter includes the impression that God’s great love for His people will go to great lengths to reconcile them to Him. When God was speaking to Israel in this chapter, He meant that Jesus would save all the righteous among His people, for Jesus’s death on the cross also saves the righteous that died before. Through the Branch, that is Christ, God has created a way for us, His creation, to be able to come to Him. The stink of our disobedience and sin repels Him from us; but the sacrifice of Jesus makes it possible for God to accept us, when we believe and obey.

Through Christ, God saves us and through His holy Bible He guides us day and night, through the often confusing and frustrating wilderness of life and the world we live in. Let us look at verses 5 and 6 of Isaiah chapter 4 in closing: 

“then the LORD will create above every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and above her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night. For over all the glory there will be a covering. And there will be a tabernacle for shade in the daytime from the heat, for a place of refuge, and for a shelter from storm and rain.”‭‭ 

Let God’s tabernacle protect you from the evil deception of sin. Remain in righteousness and help spread the Word of God’s amazing grace.

Isaiah Chapter 3: The Fruits of Sin

The first part of this chapter in verses 1-12 shows us how God intends to punish the Israelites for their lack of obedience. The list in these verses is sorrowful and would be devastating to any population.

The list contains the following, in one form or another:

– The removal of food and water

– The removal of strength and leadership

– The removal of wisdom and skill

– A child leading an oppressed people

– No social peace and family infighting

When we see these penalties listed out as they are, it reminds us that these are things that are typically blessings. God supplies man the platforms of wisdom and strength that propel us to greatness. God gives us what we need to survive and thrive. To take these things away is at His discretion. When we think of the things we enjoy in life, it helps us to be more righteous and right-sized when we regularly consider the source of our blessings:

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”‭‭ James‬ ‭1:17‬

Verses 8-12 conclude the first part of the chapter with the idea that all of these consequences are the result of the sinful and rebellious actions of the Israelites. The fact that we reap what we sow is clearly stated:

“Say to the righteous that it shall be well with them, For they shall eat the fruit of their doings. Woe to the wicked! It shall be ill with him, For the reward of his hands shall be given him.”‭‭ Isaiah‬ ‭3:10-11

Day to day it is so very useful to remember that what we give, we will receive. Walking in Christ and doing God’s will leads to a blessed life. Selfishness and sin leads to sorrow and pain.

The last part of the chapter begins with a condemnation of those who would take advantage of the poor and continues with an absolute incrimination of the females of Israel that were sinning before God. 

The description of beauty walking about, concentrating on meaningless things seems familiar to us. Because we have seen females like this, have we not? Outstretched necks and wanton eyes describe a woman that is full of herself and looking for trouble. Hey beauty is great and the influence of her presence is strong. But her spirit is corrupted. The power of these verses is clear as we read the macabre description of a decrepit derelict, robbed of all her glory and refinement.

This punishment of the Israelite women was a reality and was the result of their disobedience. Let this description of their eventual state serve as a warning to us all: the wages of sin is death – physical and spiritual death.

It needs also be mentioned that the “woman” here described is actually the main of Israel itself.

“The labor of the righteous leads to life, The wages of the wicked to sin.”‭‭ Proverbs‬ ‭10:16

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”‭‭ Romans‬ ‭6:23‬

Isaiah Chapter 2: Whose Breath is in his Nostrils

This inspiring chapter consists of two distinct sections: verses 1-4 and verses 5-22. Herein we have a description of the peace that Jesus brings and also an indictment of the sinful ways of mankind. Left to our own devices, without the purifying influence of God’s Word and our reciprocating obedience, we settle into vain pursuits and ultimately become failures.

Verses 1-4 are a description of the peace that Jesus brings. Jesus has come and gone, and He is with us although the world still wages war. The peace brought by Jesus to mankind will one day rule forever, after judgment day. The description of weapons being transformed into farming tools paints the picture of a people moving away from conflict and towards peace. This is what Jesus offers us in our lives today: peace in the midst of a turbulent world. Obey Him and be baptized to receive salvation.

Verses 5-22 paint a different sort of picture. In this passage we have a description of the corruption of God’s people and the consideration that despite their great possessions, they are in an utterly hopeless state: “Enter into the rock, and hide in the dust, From the terror of the LORD And the glory of His majesty.”‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭2:10‬ 

Man’s pride and the wondrous sights of the Earth cannot even begin to stand up to the glory of Almighty God! We see this all too easily in verses 12-18 while verses 19-21 describe the lengths to which sinful and corrupted man will be forced to flee in the presence of God’s power. God’s power and might are absolute: noting on Earth can challenge Him. What will happen happen on judgment day, “The Day of the Lord?”

“The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, The haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, And the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.”‭‭ Isaiah 2:11

Finally this impressive chapter ends with another indictment of the ways of man that would endeavor to live without God: “Sever yourselves from such a man, Whose breath is in his nostrils; For of what account is he?” Isaiah ‭2:22‬ ‭

The phrase, “whose breath is in his nostrils,” is a descriptive reference to the man that lives his life based on the physical and the temporary. A man or woman, any one of us, that seeks a life without Him in it, is living a futile life. Our minds and hearts need to be on God. Our actions need to emulate those of our Savior Jesus to the very best of our ability!

Isaiah Chapter 1: Sincerity of Heart

Tonight we begin a chapter-by-chapter study of the book of Isaiah. I invite you to read chapter one, then the study below. There are two main themes to this book:

1. The disobedience, shame and punishment of God’s people the Israelites for not obeying Him

2. The coming Messiah

As mentioned in last week’s introduction, Isaiah is a book that takes place in three different time periods. Chapters 1-39 take place during a time when the divided kingdom of Israel and Judah was still extant. As we read chapter one, we will be familiarized with the condemnation that God is bringing to His people through Isaiah.We see in the opening verses that God knows His people, but they do not know Him. Even lowly beasts of burden recognize where their blessings come from, but the children of Israel do not: “The ox knows its owner And the donkey its master’s crib; But Israel does not know, My people do not consider.” Isaiah‬ ‭1:3‬ ‭

Verse 5 indicates that the spiritual depravity is such that punishment will not bring them to a place of repentance but will only have them disobey and rebel further. The people of God are compared to the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, which were places of such wickedness that they were burned with fire that rained down from the heavens. Interesting to note here that within this book of prophecy, and despite their great disobedience, God still tells His people of the coming Savior. The same is true for us even now: God wishes for us to return to Him even when we are at our worst and could not care less about Him. Think about this love. It is awe-inspiring and never-ending.

Verses 11-15 show how the people may try to honor God with worship and sacrifice, but their offerings are unacceptable due to their sinful state. There is an important and powerful lesson to be learned here for us: God accepts us when we obey Him and keep ourselves free from sin. Our prayers and worship are meaningless unless we are truly serving Him with the pattern of our life. Remember Mark 7:6, which was spoken by Jesus in reference to the Pharisees and scribes: “He answered and said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me.” This statement was true for the people in Israel and Judah at that time as well as for the Pharisees and scribes. God knows when we are insincere and He knows our heart; we can fool people with words, but we cannot fool God.

By the end of the chapter, we are convinced of God’s great power and the coming wrath for those that do not heed His commandments. The real bright place in this chapter is in verses 16-19 where God provides instructions and guidance for the people to return. These are all good and righteous things and the coming forgiveness, as we now know, is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Tonight I urge you to serve God with sincerity of heart. Know what His Word is and do not turn your back on Him. See what great blessings He has in store for us who do love and serve Him!

““Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.”‭‭ Isaiah‬ ‭1:18‬

Introduction to the book of Isaiah

Isaiah was one of the great prophets of the Old Testament. He prophesied to Israel about the consequences of their behavior and also delivered, at wondrous length, information about the coming Messiah (Jesus Christ). In fact, Isaiah provides us with the most comprehensive listing of prophecies about Jesus. From the virgin birth, Jesus’s coming into the world, the spreading of the good news, the sacrifice of His death, and how He will one day return and draw the faithful unto Himself, it’s all here in Isaiah.

Isaiah’s prophecies span three different time periods in Jewish history. Because of the time between these three periods and some variation in style, some have wrongly assumed that Isaiah was written by three different men. However, the evidence within the book itself supports and affirms the fact that a single man, Isaiah, wrote this grand book of prophecy. There are numerous linguistic similarities in the book and there are no notices within of a change in authorship, as there is in other books with more than one author (Psalms, Proverbs). There is also the persistent use of unique phrases to identify God: The Lord of Hosts, The Holy One of Israel.

The first time period this book addresses takes place in chapters 1-39. In these chapters are words of condemnation towards the Jews for their lack of respect and obedience towards God. The divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah were still in effect at this time. Assyria conquered Israel and Judah fell later. The fall of Judah is prophesied by Isaiah. This is the time period that Judah lived in while he spoke for God.

The second time period takes place in chapters 40-55 and is addressed to the future generation of Jewish exiles. After having been conquered, the exiled Jews believe that their defeat was due to the idols of their enemies being stronger than God, but Isaiah tells them that their plight of captivity is due to their disobedience. He encourages them to renew their faith in God and follow Him, trusting God to prepare their future.

The third time period takes place in chapters 56-66 and is addressed to the remaining faithful Jews. Isaiah encourages them to be diligent and to monitor their behavior against selfishness, greed and indulgence. 

All of the words from Isaiah serve to bring the lost people of Israel back into God’s embrace, and ultimately to accept the coming Messiah.

As we begin this rich and lengthy book, I encourage you to join me each Monday night to study the book of Isaiah chapter by chapter. We will examine the prophecies, the lessons for the Jewish people, and the references to Jesus. Each chapter will have an application for us. Next week we will start with chapter one.

For tonight, I ask you to consider the pattern of this book as laid out above: God’s work through one prophet spanned hundreds of years and provides us today with invaluably precious verses about our Lord and Savior. What a God we are blessed to worship, what a glorious and awesome creation.

Let us know our God. Let us recognize and serve Him always, keeping Him at the front of our minds. He is great, wise and most powerful above all.