I believe the primary focus of these chapters is focused on the time of the Lord’s return and His Kingdom reigning on earth. The first part of the mission of Jesus was spoken in Isaiah 61:1-2a: "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, Because the LORD has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD…” Jesus Christ bought and paid for our salvation on the cross, but since He was not received by Israel and its leaders, the remainder of His mission was put on hold. (I don’t know if I’m using the best terminology to describe this, but I wanted to be clear as I can.) The second part of verse 2 of Isaiah 61 says, “And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn.” Jesus Christ did not bring the “day of vengeance” at His first coming; instead, Rome continued to rule ad oppress them. Jesus will finish the mission on His second coming and we will see Him perform Isaiah 61:3-4 to its fullest meaning: “To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified. And they shall rebuild the old ruins, They shall raise up the former desolations, And they shall repair the ruined cities, The desolations of many generations.” So, Isaiah 61:1-2a has happened and is ongoing, and the rest of the chapter is yet to happen at His return.
After Isaiah wisely prays in Isaiah 51:9, “Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the LORD,” it is very interesting that part of the LORD’s response is for His people to “awake.” He says in Isaiah 52:1, “Awake, awake! Put on your strength, O Zion.” Many times our prayers for God to do something have a response for us to do something also.
Many Jewish people have come to accept Jesus as Messiah, but it is sad that a veil still lies over the eyes of so many when “the LORD has laid on Him (Jesus) the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:6).
Isaiah 54:7-8 express the nature of the LORD’s judgment. He hides His face and lets humanity reap the fruit of their own ways. He says, ‘"For a mere moment I have forsaken you, But with great mercies I will gather you. With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment; But with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you," Says the LORD, your Redeemer.” His judgment is for a moment, but His kindness and faithfulness is everlasting! In Christ, His kindness shall not depart from us (See Isa. 54:10).
Isaiah prophesies from the LORD what makes a fast “successful” or not. When we fast for our gain holding on to our agenda’s, it does no good. When we fast to humble our self, then He will come, and the promise’s He gives us is great. He says in Isaiah 58:10-11, “If you extend your soul to the hungry And satisfy the afflicted soul, Then your light shall dawn in the darkness, And your darkness shall be as the noonday. The LORD will guide you continually, And satisfy your soul in drought, And strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.”
The LORD said to Hezekiah in 2 Kings 19:20, “Because you have prayed to Me against Sennacherib king of Assyria, I have heard.” The LORD can’t hear a prayer we don’t pray, but He promises to hear us when we pray.
Psalms 80:3 says, “Restore us, O God; Cause Your face to shine, And we shall be saved!” The difference between them being saved or being destroyed by their enemies was God stepping in (causing His face to shine). No matter your problem or situation, God will make the difference, causing restoration and salvation.
Isaiah prophesies with a focus on the idolatry of the people. I like how he points out how one can cut down a tree and use half for fire wood and the other half for a god. Isaiah 44:15 in the Amplified version says, “A part of it he takes and warms himself, yes, he kindles a fire and bakes bread. [Then out of the remainder, the leavings] he also makes a god and worships it! He [with his own hands] makes it into a graven image and falls down and worships it!”
The prophecy of Cyrus (who would be king of Persia) was made about 200 years before he was born. Isaiah first spoke of him in Isaiah 44:28, “…Cyrus, 'He is My shepherd, And he shall perform all My pleasure, Saying to Jerusalem, "You shall be built," And to the temple, "Your foundation shall be laid." '
2 Chronicles 36:22-23 records the fulfillment of this powerful prophecy after 70 years of captivity. It says, “Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying, Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the LORD God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah. Who is among you of all His people? May the LORD his God be with him, and let him go up!” This Scripture says the spirit of King Cyrus was "stirred up" by the LORD; it's possible that he read this prophecy that was made of him 200 years previous to do so.
Just as a little side note before I begin; its been said the book of Isaiah is like a “mini Bible;” 66 chapters corresponding to 66 books of the Bible. The first 39 chapters focus on judgment like the 39 books of the Old Testament, and the last 27 chapters focus on restoration like the 27 books of the New Testament. Isaiah 40 begins by speaking of John the Baptist, and Matthew (the 40th book) begins by quoting Isaiah about John the Baptist (See Matt 3:3) I don’t want to make too much of this since the chapters are not necessarily inspired, but it is interesting.
The LORD is still exhorting them to wait on Him in chapter 40. After He tells of His greatness, He proclaims in Isaiah 40:30-31, “Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” This is almost the same thing He said in 30:18: “the LORD will wait, that He may be gracious to you; …Blessed are all those who wait for Him.” What does it mean to wait on the LORD? It’s when we look to Him and trust in Him alone. We don’t try to do things our way, but only His. It is important that we continually seek Him and His ways, trusting Him.
He will never let us down; He said, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you” (Isaiah 43:2).
I’m so glad for the grace we can have in Jesus Christ. Isaiah 43:25 says, "I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins."
These Scriptures contain more judgments and God’s promise of restoration. Much of the promised restoration will be accomplished in Christ at His return. Isaiah 35 has types and examples of what we have in Christ right now, but the full manifestation will be at the return of Christ.
The LORD gave Judah one the most astounding victories ever seen, even as judgment loomed over them as a nation. No other nation was able to stand against the Assyrians, but when Hezekiah prays, God’s “Angel” kills 185,000 of the Assyrian soldiers alone. (See Isaiah 37:36)
As the LORD continued to decree the judgments and some shakings had begun, God’s desire was that Judah would repent and turn back to Him; this is always His desire.
Today’s post is about taking things in our own hands. We’ve all tried to “make things happen” or “fix thing” our way and failed at some time in our life.
In Isaiah 28:15, the LORD alludes to the covenant Israel will make with Antichrist in the end days when He says, “Because you have said, "We have made a covenant with death, And with Sheol we are in agreement. When the overflowing scourge passes through, It will not come to us, For we have made lies our refuge, And under falsehood we have hidden ourselves." In contrast, the LORD says in verses 16, “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, A tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; Whoever believes will not act hastily.” Israel will believe they will finally have peace because of the covenant they have made with the one “ruling the world,” but he will turn on them. The only sure foundation is Christ Jesus; those “built” on Him will not act out of their own haste, wisdom, or strength.
He further expresses this in Isaiah 30:15: “For thus says the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel: "In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.’ But you would not.” God wanted and wants to give Israel peace, but they must learn to trust and “rest” in Him. In Isaiah 30:18, the LORD says He will “wait” for Israel to “wait for Him.” The verse says, “Therefore the LORD will wait, that He may be gracious to you; And therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; Blessed are all those who wait for Him.” We must learn to trust God in our life and look to Him for everything. Whenever we take things in our own hands, we will fail miserably.
Hosea is a prophet to the tribes of Israel just before, during, and after the Assyrians capturing of Israel.
Here is a link to a PDF chart of the kings and prophets of Israel and Judah:
Hosea reveals a God who brings real judgment to His people, who had turned their back on Him, but in the end, He is married to Israel and He will woo them back to Himself. When they return to Him with all their heart, He will be found by them and He will restore them.
He says in Hosea 2:7, “She will chase her lovers, But not overtake them; Yes, she will seek them, but not find them. Then she will say, 'I will go and return to my first husband, For then it was better for me than now.”
After He judges them, He promises in Hosea 14:4, "I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely, For My anger has turned away from him.”
God has brought a measure of restoration to Israel in our day, but the fullness will come at the return of Jesus Christ.
Although under the Law, we see the grace of God in the “revival” lead by King Hezekiah. The people were a month late to celebrate the Passover due to not having enough priests consecrated in time. Still, many of the people were not sanctified when the Passover came, so Hezekiah prayed, "May the good LORD provide atonement for everyone who prepares his heart to seek God,” and the LORD listened to him. The Passover is a picture of the death of Jesus Christ; the One who came to save sinners. It’s fitting that God accepted them, not on having done everything right up until then, but because their hearts were turning to the LORD.
Sorry I got a couple days behind (weekends get a little tougher) but here is for the last 3 days.
Let me say again, many of Isaiah’s prophecies are for the end time, but many are not. Here is a clear prophecy about the judgments of the end time in Isaiah 13:9-12:
"9) “Behold, the day of the LORD comes, Cruel, with both wrath and fierce anger, To lay the land desolate; And He will destroy its sinners from it. 10) For the stars of heaven and their constellations Will not give their light; The sun will be darkened in its going forth, And the moon will not cause its light to shine. 11) "I will punish the world for its evil, And the wicked for their iniquity; I will halt the arrogance of the proud, And will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. 12) I will make a mortal more rare than fine gold, A man more than the golden wedge of Ophir."
Let me make a couple points:
Here is another prophecy in Isaiah 24:18 showing nothing can protect but the LORD alone in that day. It says:
“And it shall be that he who flees from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit, and he who comes up from the midst of the pit shall be caught in the snare; for the windows from on high are open, and the foundations of the earth are shaken.”
Isaiah 26:9 says, “When Your judgments are in the earth, The inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.”
When God waits on bringing judgment, people ask why God tarries. When God does bring judgment, people ask why He brought the devastation. We know God finds no pleasure in judgment, but He will vindicate and save His people from oppressors. And, we see here in Isaiah 26:9 that it’s only by His judgments that people will learn of His righteousness.
The judgments of the LORD are not for His righteous ones; those He has redeemed by His own blood. He says in Isaiah 26:20-21 “Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; Hide yourself, as it were, for a little moment, until the indignation is past. For behold, the LORD comes out of His place To punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; The earth will also disclose her blood, And will no more cover her slain.” The LORD will be a shelter for His people during times of judgment even as Joel 3:16 says, “… heavens and earth will shake; but the LORD will be a shelter for His people.”
Read through the Bible with us in 2012! The reading plan can be downloaded below; we are reading in chronological order. Check back often to read the blog posts on the Bible readings and discuss things in the "comments" section.
2012 Bible Plan