Isaiah 1 A Judgement (Poetry) The background to Isaiah’s ministry
1: The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.
Israel is a sinful nation
2: Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. 3: The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider. 4: Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward. 5: Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. 6: From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment. 7: Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers. 8: And the daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city. 9: Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah. 10: Hear the word of the LORD, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah. 11: To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. 12: When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? 13: Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. 14: Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. 15: And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. 16: Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; 17: Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. 18: Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. 19: If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: 20: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.
Zion is a sinful city
21: How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers. 22: Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water: 23: Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them.24: Therefore saith the Lord, the LORD of hosts, the mighty One of Israel, Ah, I will ease me of mine adversaries, and avenge me of mine enemies: 25: And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin: 26: And I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellers as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called, The city of righteousness, the faithful city. 27: Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness. 28: And the destruction of the transgressors and of the sinners shall be together, and they that forsake the LORD shall be consumed. 29: For they shall be ashamed of the oaks which ye have desired, and ye shall be confounded for the gardens that ye have chosen. 30: For ye shall be as an oak whose leaf fadeth, and as a garden that hath no water. 31: And the strong shall be as tow, and the maker of it as a spark, and they shall both burn together, and none shall quench them.
Isaiah 2 Restoration and peace
1: the word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. 2: And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. 3: And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4: And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
The Lord will Judge his people
5: O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the LORD. 6: Therefore thou hast forsaken thy people the house of Jacob, because they be replenished from the east, and are soothsayers like the Philistines, and they please themselves in the children of strangers. 7: Their land also is full of silver and gold, neither is there any end of their treasures; their land is also full of horses, neither is there any end of their chariots: 8: Their land also is full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made: 9: And the mean man boweth down, and the great man humbleth himself: therefore forgive them not. 10: Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty. 11: The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day. 12: For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low: 13: And upon all the cedars of Lebanon, that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan, 14: And upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up, 15: And upon every high tower, and upon every fenced wall, 16: And upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures. 17: And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day. 18: And the idols he shall utterly abolish. 19: And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth. 20: In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats; 21: To go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth. 22: Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?
Isaiah 3 Judgement - Judah & Jerusalem
1: For, behold, the Lord, the LORD of hosts, doth take away from Jerusalem and from Judah the stay and the staff, the whole stay of bread, and the whole stay of water, 2: The mighty man, and the man of war, the judge, and the prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient, 3: The captain of fifty, and the honourable man, and the counseller, and the cunning artificer, and the eloquent orator. 4: And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them. 5: And the people shall be oppressed, every one by another, and every one by his neighbour: the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient, and the base against the honourable. 6: When a man shall take hold of his brother of the house of his father, saying, Thou hast clothing, be thou our ruler, and let this ruin be under thy hand: 7: In that day shall he swear, saying, I will not be an healer; for in my house is neither bread nor clothing: make me not a ruler of the people. 8: For Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen: because their tongue and their doings are against the LORD, to provoke the eyes of his glory. 9: The shew of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves. 10: Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings. 11: Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him. 12: As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths. 13: The LORD standeth up to plead, and standeth to judge the people. 14: The LORD will enter into judgment with the ancients of his people, and the princes thereof: for ye have eaten up the vineyard; the spoil of the poor is in your houses. 15: What mean ye that ye beat my people to pieces, and grind the faces of the poor? saith the LORD GOD of hosts.
Judgement on women
16: Moreover the LORD saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet: 17: Therefore the LORD will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the LORD will discover their secret parts. 18: In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their cauls, and their round tires like the moon, 19: The chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers, 20: The bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the earrings, 21: The rings, and nose jewels, 22: The changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins, 23: The glasses, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the vails. 24: And it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of well set hair baldness; and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth; and burning instead of beauty. 25: Thy men shall fall by the sword, and thy mighty in the war. 26: And her gates shall lament and mourn; and she being desolate shall sit upon the ground.
Today’s bible reading is the first three chapters of the book of Isaiah. This book is one of the largest books of the Bible with 66 chapters. Isaiah was a prophet during the life of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah. His ministry seems to have ended with the Babylonian servitude. There were other prophets at the same time as Isaiah – Hosea, Micah and Nahum. The book could be described as follows…
A. Exhortations – Prophetic 1v2-5v30
B. The Voice from the temple – The Scatterings 6v1-13
C. Historic – Events and Prophesies (Ahaz) 7v1-12v6
D. Burdens – Israel’s blessings 13v1-27v13
D. Woes – The LORD’s glories 28v1-35v10
C. Historic – Events and Prophesies (Hezekiah) 36v1-39v8
B. The Voice from the wilderness – The Gathering 40v1-11
A. Exhortations – Prophetic 40v12-66v24
So the first section after the title of verse 1, Isaiah begins a series of exhortations in the context of the deplorable spiritual state of the nation. Then he calls on heaven and earth to hear ‘The Word of the LORD’ because The LORD has spoken. Isaiah does not enter into debate or discussion he declares what God has to say. The whole book is summarised by the first few lines. ‘I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me’. Then he goes on to describe a terrible state of affairs. He says the ox knows his master but Israel has forgotten the LORD. They are a sinful nation loaded down with iniquity. They have provoked the LORD to anger. He describes a nation as a patient that is sick from head to toe. The country has come under the judgments of the LORD already making everywhere a wasteland. Just a small remnant is left that the LORD has preserved otherwise they would have been no more like Sodom. The message comes to the rulers saying listen to me what good are all your sacrifices? I have had my full of them – so don’t bring any more to me. They disgust me, I don’t even want your assemblies. Your religious celebrations are a burden to me. When you pray, I shut my eyes and ears. Your hands are covered in blood. Wash yourself and make yourself clean and put away the evil things that you do. Cease to do evil. Learn to do well. Seek righteous judgments, relive the oppressed, judge the fatherless. (Provide the inheritance for sons without fathers) Plead the case of widows. The LORD speaks in the most friendly terms, he says come on lets sit down and talk about it. Even though your sins are like a red stain I can make them white as snow. But there is one obstacle – IF you are willing to be obedient – to the Mosaic Law. Because if you are will then you will be blessed by fruitful crops. BUT if you rebel against me then you will be killed in war. I the Lord has spoken this. We see what it was like to live in Israel under the law. If the people rebelled the Lord took their lives but if they obeyed they lived and were blessed in fruit for food. Then the LORD says how has the ‘faithful city’ become a prostitute? Once id was a place of righteousness and fair judgment but now it is full of murderers. He says I will turn my hand against you but (In a future day) I will restore the judges and advisors that you had in your early years and the city will be called the city of righteousness – the faithful city. The Lord just before the Millennium and at the end of the Tribulation will judge Israel. Only the righteous will enter the Kingdom. They will be ashamed of their idolatry and at their Oaks and Groves. Because you will be like an oak without leaves and a garden without water. The wicked will be burnt with unquenchable fire. In chapter 2 v1-5 Isaiah has a vision of Israel’s future glory. He says that one day the mountain of the LORD’s house will be established in the top of the mountains. There will be a major geographic transformation of topography. In that day All nations will flow into it. It seems that Israel will be the major thoughfare for the worlds commerce. All the peoples of the world will go up to Zion to request the knowledge of the LORD so that they will be enabled to live under law before God. The law of the Lord will go out of Zion. The LORD will settle national disputes and he will rebuke nations and all nations will turn all of their arms into instruments of agriculture. There will be no more war nor will anyone learn the arts of war anymore. And Israel will live righteously before the LORD in the light of his knowledge. Then from v6-22, the rest of the chapter, Isaiah describes the sin of the men of Judah and pronounces judgment on them. He says they have forsaken the LORD and filled the city with mediums and soothsayers – the demon possessed. When the religious leaders are addicted to demonic influence then look out. The land is full of idolatry and images are everywhere. The high and low bow down to the work of their own hands. Then Isaiah speaks of a day of judgment, called ‘The Day of the LORD. In which he will raise up the humble and put down the proud. All men on the day will be brought to kneel before the LORD. And all images will be destroyed forever. Men will try to escape the wrath of God. Even the earth will tremble before him. All the images of brass and gold will be thrown down mole hills and caves, before the fear of the LORD and the glory of his majesty. In chapter 3v1-15 he describes the political ruin of Judah. The LORD himself will smash the food economy, by drought, of Judah. Every level of Judah’s society will be destroyed. Children and babies will be the leaders. Jerusalem will be destroyed and the nation ruined. They have brought the judgment of God on themselves. From v16-4v1 Isaiah pronounces the judgment. Because the daughters of Jerusalem are sexually provocative the Lord will bring sore skin diseases to them from head to toe. Instead of sweet perfume their bodies will stink. They will walk bald and in rags. The men of war will be killed in battle.