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