Tuesday, August 2, 2022

           Isaiah is the first of the Bible’s major prophets.  It is a long book that spans sixty-six chapters.  He was generally regarded as the greatest among the Old Testament prophets.  He gave a compelling call to repentance that still resonates today, “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool” (Isaiah 1:18).  God promises to transform us and to forgive our guilt when we return to Him.  A bit later, we learn that God will transform nations as well.  We read this good news, “He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore” (Isaiah 2:4). Isaiah takes us into the throne room of God where he saw that God was thrice holy.  “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of His glory” (Isaiah 6:3). 
            Also in Isaiah 6, we find a stirring call to service that has led many Christians into missions and ministry.  “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’” (Isaiah 6:8).  Today, may we aspire to be just as willing and eager to serve the Lord and to answer the different calls that He may make to us—whether full-time or part-time, whether local or far away.  The prophet is also a herald of Christmas—proclaiming and declaring the coming of Jesus about 760 years before that first Christmas night in Bethlehem.  Consider the magnitude of that prophecy.  It would be like a prophecy first spoken in 1262 that finds fulfillment today in 2022.  Isaiah 7:14 is the often-quoted Scripture at Christmas that tells us a virgin will conceive a child.  And Isaiah 9:1-7 tells us that a child is born to us.  We often sing and read these words during the Advent Season of waiting and anticipation: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
            Isaiah touched all the important bases.  Isaiah 53 is often called the “Calvary of the Old Testament” as it speaks to the suffering and death of Jesus for the sins of the world.  We find unmistakable evidence of the cross in these words, “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.  We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:5-6).  On the occasion of Maundy Thursday or Good Friday, we often turn to Isaiah 53 to see the depth of our Lord’s suffering and the severity of the price that was paid for our salvation.  Isaiah 43:2 is a great encouragement to us as we go through life’s battles and trials. “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”  We know the Lord walks with His people—just as He led Israel out of Egypt at the Exodus and just as He abided with His servants in the fiery furnace we read about in Daniel.
Isaiah gives us many foundational promises we can claim and hold on to during the challenges of life.  We are neither forgotten nor forsaken.  He even spoke briefly to the coming new heaven and earth in Isaiah 65.  We take comfort in knowing that God has the future well under control.  “Behold I will create new heavens and a new earth.  The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind” (Isaiah 65:17).  Taking two chapters a day, you could easily read Isaiah in just over a month and enjoy his many amazing promises for yourself and to use as you encourage others.  Have a wonderful Tuesday.  Remember you can revisit our worship and share it any time at youtube.com/FirstBaptistKannapolis.   

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