Isaiah may be one of the most cherry-picked books of the Old Testament, maybe even in the whole Bible! It’s almost irresistible! We snatch favorite verses out of context, appropriating promises without a thought in our heads about the original audience or the author’s intent. On our journey through Isaiah together, I am resisting the temptation to write about all my favorites, but, posting only twice weekly here means that we are leaving vast landscapes of the prophetic record unacknowledged:
- In Isaiah 7, King Ahaz’s quivering over Syria’s occupation reminds us that when the worst has happened and there is every reason to fear, the Word of the Lord is our sure defense, the only impregnable stronghold.
- Messianic hope springs up even in Israel’s desperate times with Isaiah’s prophecy of a Child in chapter 9 and a Rod from the stem of Jesse in chapter 11. Jesse had been dead for five hundred years, and Israel had already been laid waste by Assyria, but NOTHING is impossible for God.
- Isaiah 12 is the perfect length for a memorization project and offers hope that sounds like Advent to me:
Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation”Isaiah 12:3
The great leap from last Sunday’s post to today encompassed some somber words of proclamation, and did you notice how often the word against shows up in the first verse of chapters 13-23? Isaiah is making it clear that nations who have set their faces against the one true God have earned his holy wrath against them. Even in this, “the LORD of hosts shall be exalted in judgment” (5:16).
Turning the Corner from Judgment to Praise
After venting his wrath in nation-specific proclamations, God pronounces judgment against the whole earth in Isaiah 24, but his judgment is always in the service of redemption, and chapters 25-27 end this reading segment with songs of salvation and restoration.
I have history with one verse in particular–my introduction to the book of Isaiah as a high school student, dreading a big audition, and terrified of failure. One godly friend shared Isaiah 26:3 as a path toward a peaceful heart:
You will keep him in perfect peace,Isaiah 26:3
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.”
Hers was a blessed cherry picking of Isaiah, and one that I believe Isaiah himself would have sanctioned, for his song of salvation reverberates through the centuries for all who waited for his coming and for those who now find comfort in the nearness of Emmanuel.
Stayed on Him,
Isaiah’s song of salvation reverberates through the centuries for all who waited for his coming and for those who now find comfort in the nearness of Emmanuel.Tweet
It’s not too late to join us in our journey through Isaiah. Download the reading schedule here, and be saturated in truth from Isaiah’s pen during this Advent season!
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