Day 23: Isaiah 1-39

For Judah, the year King Uzziah died was one of ripeness. Judah’s strategic position in the world had enabled it to become rich through political and military success. However, hypocrisy and social injustice within and military pressure without threatened to burst this security. ‘Cometh the hour: cometh the man.’ The man who rose to the meet impending crises by speaking God’s judgment on them was Isaiah from Jerusalem. Isaiah had a vision of a wider outlook on the machinations of humanity than the shortsighted rulers of Judah.

Isaiah writes from the perspective of his call (6:1-13). He says he saw the Lord before whom all earthly rulers are nothing – even ‘the Egyptians are human and not God’ (31:3). Isaiah’s message is that God is King, God the creator is sovereign – even powerful Assyria that threatens invasion is at the mercy of the Holy One of Israel. The Lord of Hosts, Yahweh is in control. No matter how bad the outlook, even when the Assyrian Sennacherib threatened Hezakiah’s Jerusalem, Isaiah’s message is have faith in God, not in human alliances – ‘If you do not stand firm in faith, you do not stand at all’ (7:9). Isaiah’s name – ‘The Lord Saves’ – sends his message.

The people too are brought before God who will judge all rebelliousness (1:18-20; 2:17; 3:13-15; 5:1-7). God will purify his people so that hope can be found in the New Jerusalem: the city of righteousness (1:24-26). But more, Isaiah sees a future when all nations will know God and trust his purposes, when everyone will bow to his judgment and trust in his salvation (2:4; 24:14-16; 25:6-8) – then ‘the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea’ (11:6-9).

Joyce Shotton

Read the Bible on line at Bible Study Tools. Today’s passage (NRSV) is here: http://www.biblestudytools.com/nrs/isaiah/1.html

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