Isaiah might have been about twenty years old when he began to ask these questions about greed in the face of starving children, the destruction of the environment, the emptiness of religion, and the absence of good and godly leaders.
Born to a father named Amoz (not the famous prophet) his parents named him “God is salvation,” very similar to the name of Joshua, or Jesus.
Tradition says his father Amoz was brother to king Amaziah of Judah. That would have made Isaiah King Uzziah’s cousin, which would explain Isaiah’s easy access to the royal court, and his insider’s knowledge of the politics of his day, and the international situation. He may have even grown up in the palace and overheard conversations about world affairs.
Think of all the eavesdropping he may have done! God had perfectly placed him.
His ministry began in 740 BC, while he was worshiping in the temple, grieving the death of his cousin, King Amaziah, and worrying about what was going on in his own country, as well as the world. As he was praying, God called Isaiah to cleansing and to preaching.
It is the lonely office of every anointed-by-God’s-Holy-Spirit prophet to speak the words God has given that prophet to say. As so often happened in the scriptures, the message from God’s lips was not received with much joy or enthusiasm by the ears of God’s people.
Ahaz did not have faith in God, and so he was not going to be able to stand firm at all. He refused God’s promise, protection, and perspective. He turned in fear to what he really had faith in―an alliance with Assyria.
Just as the cost of Isaiah’s call would be high, so the Lord Jesus did not make His call to discipleship any easier. On the contrary, Jesus stressed the cost of following Him. Following Jesus means full obedience and the giving up of all other plans that a person might prefer to make for themself.
Once Isaiah answered God’s call, the Lord revealed to him how hard it would be–it was a prophetic utterance that would be repeated many times by other Hebrew prophets as well as all four Gospel writers, and the Apostle Paul.
Devoting all our time to looking good and feeling good, to pursuing our own ambitions, and working situations out for our own good at the expense of others, will end up in compromising God’s righteousness.
to be filled anew with God’s glorious grace, to count on God’s lavish love, to operate in the power of the Holy Spirit, and to trust God’s guidance is to live in real reality, not the artificial reality idols occupy.
Anticipation of the future, whether you and I are looking forward to something wonderful, or something dreadful, really does have a significant impact on our lives, and that is what we are going to see in this passage.
You and I are not the sum total of our words and deeds. There is so much more to us than that. We do not have to claim as our identity the wrong things we have done, or that have been done to us. Our identity is instead as the beloved child of God.
what we do (or do not do) about righteously tending and caring for the physical earth itself matters to God; what we do (or do not do) about hungry people and homeless people, marginalized people and people in need matters to God.
How can we tell what is universally right and wrong? Is morality relative? Is it a matter of cultures? If so, then would the morality proscribed for a culture of thousands of years ago carry any relevance for us today?
This first chapter provides the foundation for the rest of the book: God’s love for God’s people, holding them to account for their sin, warning them about judgment and promising them forgiveness, redemption and restoration.
As I read through Isaiah, I will be looking for evidence of God’s grace in each chapter. This is how we can keep a right view of God. We do not want to become overwhelmed by God’s discipline of God’s rebellious people and the punishment of God’s enemies.
Underneath the grim inventory of the sins of the people, and the sins of the nation, and the catalog of judgments that will roll down from heaven in response, is the undercurrent of God’s consistent care for God’s people, and for the whole earth.
You and I are not responsible for the decisions of our leaders apart from whatever our civic duty requires of us (to vote, to speak up through letters and protests). But, we must live by whatever those decisions bring about. We will be swept along in the destiny of our nation, whatever that will be.
People are trying to figure out how to live in this messy world of increasing famine and water shortages, of diminishing resources, of rapidly changing political and diplomatic landscapes, and families, careers, politics, social injustice, the environment, the economy, it is all on the line.
My passion for the Bible began when I was eight or nine years old, somewhere in there, when on occasion my dad would take me to synagogue, where he sang. I remember watching the men in synagogue pray the words of scripture, murmuring and weeping, lovingly touching and kissing the Torah, and I wished I could read what they were reading.
Imagine, then, my wonder when I was given a Bible of my own! Read more