Friday, July 5. Isaiah 1 – 3

Isaiah is a great book to use to learn about God and His dealings with His people. As you read, you might keep a pen and paper handy. Write down the sins of God’s people. Write down the punishments. Write down the social condition of those addressed.

This latter point, the social condition of the people, can be a bit confusing. In chapter one, for example, the country is said to be “desolate,” the fields “stripped by foreigners.” And yet, in chapter two the land is full of silver and gold and “there is no end to their treasurers.”

Which view is correct?

On the one hand, it would seem that God is, at times, telling us His view of His people. He sees them desolate. On the other hand, they see themselves as rich. This is a bit like the church in Laodicea we read about in Revelation 3. They saw themselves as rich and not needing a thing. God saw them as “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked” (vs. 17).

Still, why couldn’t both views be true? After all, Isaiah also pictures the oppression of the poor by the rich. The latter live in their fine enclaves. The poor in desolation.

Chapter 2 begins with a promise of a day to come when God would re-establish his temple on the holy mount in Jerusalem. This text is often cited to refer to the kingdom Jesus would set up, but though it is quoted verbatim in Micah 4, it is never cited at all in the New Testament. It does, however, have certain similarities to other Old Testament passages that are quoted to refer to the church age. I would like for you to consider, however, verse four. “Nation will not take up sword against nation.” The text is often cited to refer to a wonderful time of peace in the world. I am, however, more convinced that this has nothing to do with the world. It has to do with the kingdom of God that will be made up of people from all nations (verse 2). Those people will not take up war with one another. They will live in peace. God isn’t going to make this happen. He will not force it. It will happen when His people learn and practice the ways of the Lord and walk in His light. Not before. And not until. Jesus didn’t make this happen, and it did not occur when the Church came on the scene. It has yet to occur, because God’s people have yet to yield to His way.