Bible Reading / Book By Book: Proverbs to Luke
Day 10 / Isaiah 1-2
Isaiah is the first of what are called the prophetic books of the Bible. Often when we think of prophecy, we think of predicting the future. Prophecy can involve that but not always. A prophet is a person who serves as God’s spokesperson, so a prophecy can be any message God wants to communicate. To understand the timing of the writing of Isaiah, we must reference 2 Kings. Isaiah lives during a time when Assyria is invading Israel and Judah. Israel will eventually be defeated, and Judah will almost be defeated. Isaiah is delivering messages to the people of Judah during a terrible time when it looks like they will be losing everything to a very strong enemy.
Our chapters today summarize a major theme throughout the Bible: humanity’s disobedience to God and God’s ultimate victory over evil. Isaiah points out that the people of Judah are not living as God wants them to live. He mentions Sodom and Gomorrah, which were evil cities God destroyed back in Genesis 19, which we didn’t read. God is letting them know they deserve to be destroyed. He also lets them know their empty worship is not acceptable. He calls them to truly recognize their wrong behavior and turn to God so he can forgive them. But in chapter 2, God tells the people what Jesus’ Kingdom will be like. It is referred to as “the mountain.” One day Jesus is going to return and make everything right. Everything that is bad will be destroyed.
It is the same for us today. We all make mistakes, and we can’t make up for it by pretending to be interested in God. Receiving God’s forgiveness requires that we recognize our wrongdoing and depend on God’s mercy. We can look forward to Christ’s Kingdom when the world will be made right and our own hearts will be as well.
Isaiah 1 (NASB)
Rebellion of God’s People
1 The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz concerning Judah and Jerusalem, which he saw during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.
2 Listen, O heavens, and hear, O earth;
For the Lord speaks,
“Sons I have reared and brought up,
But they have revolted against Me.
3 “An ox knows its owner,
And a donkey its master’s manger,
But Israel does not know,
My people do not understand.”
4 Alas, sinful nation,
People weighed down with iniquity,
Offspring of evildoers,
Sons who act corruptly!
They have abandoned the Lord,
They have despised the Holy One of Israel,
They have turned away from Him.
5 Where will you be stricken again,
As you continue in your rebellion?
The whole head is sick
And the whole heart is faint.
6 From the sole of the foot even to the head
There is nothing sound in it,
Only bruises, welts and raw wounds,
Not pressed out or bandaged,
Nor softened with oil.
7 Your land is desolate,
Your cities are burned with fire,
Your fields—strangers are devouring them in your presence;
It is desolation, as overthrown by strangers.
8 The daughter of Zion is left like a shelter in a vineyard,
Like a watchman’s hut in a cucumber field, like a besieged city.
9 Unless the Lord of hosts
Had left us a few survivors,
We would be like Sodom,
We would be like Gomorrah.
God Has Had Enough
10 Hear the word of the Lord,
You rulers of Sodom;
Give ear to the instruction of our God,
You people of Gomorrah.
11 “What are your multiplied sacrifices to Me?”
Says the Lord.
“I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams
And the fat of fed cattle;
And I take no pleasure in the blood of bulls, lambs or goats.
12 “When you come to appear before Me,
Who requires of you this trampling of My courts?
13 “Bring your worthless offerings no longer,
Incense is an abomination to Me.
New moon and sabbath, the calling of assemblies—
I cannot endure iniquity and the solemn assembly.
14 “I hate your new moon festivals and your appointed feasts,
They have become a burden to Me;
I am weary of bearing them.
15 “So when you spread out your hands in prayer,
I will hide My eyes from you;
Yes, even though you multiply prayers,
I will not listen.
Your hands are covered with blood.
16 “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean;
Remove the evil of your deeds from My sight.
Cease to do evil,
17 Learn to do good;
Reprove the ruthless,
Defend the orphan,
Plead for the widow.
“Let Us Reason”
18 “Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the Lord,
“Though your sins are as scarlet,
They will be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They will be like wool.
19 “If you consent and obey,
You will eat the best of the land;
20 “But if you refuse and rebel,
You will be devoured by the sword.”
Truly, the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
Zion Corrupted, to Be Redeemed
21 How the faithful city has become a harlot,
She who was full of justice!
Righteousness once lodged in her,
But now murderers.
22 Your silver has become dross,
Your drink diluted with water.
23 Your rulers are rebels
And companions of thieves;
Everyone loves a bribe
And chases after rewards.
They do not defend the orphan,
Nor does the widow’s plea come before them.
24 Therefore the Lord God of hosts,
The Mighty One of Israel, declares,
“Ah, I will be relieved of My adversaries
And avenge Myself on My foes.
25 “I will also turn My hand against you,
And will smelt away your dross as with lye
And will remove all your alloy.
26 “Then I will restore your judges as at the first,
And your counselors as at the beginning;
After that you will be called the city of righteousness,
A faithful city.”
27 Zion will be redeemed with justice
And her repentant ones with righteousness.
28 But transgressors and sinners will be crushed together,
And those who forsake the Lord will come to an end.
29 Surely you will be ashamed of the oaks which you have desired,
And you will be embarrassed at the gardens which you have chosen.
30 For you will be like an oak whose leaf fades away
Or as a garden that has no water.
31 The strong man will become tinder,
His work also a spark.
Thus they shall both burn together
And there will be none to quench them.
Isaiah 2 (NASB)
God’s Universal Reign
2 The word which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
2 Now it will come about that
In the last days
The mountain of the house of the Lord
Will be established as the chief of the mountains,
And will be raised above the hills;
And all the nations will stream to it.
3 And many peoples will come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
That He may teach us concerning His ways
And that we may walk in His paths.”
For the law will go forth from Zion
And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
4 And He will judge between the nations,
And will render decisions for many peoples;
And they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not lift up sword against nation,
And never again will they learn war.
5 Come, house of Jacob, and let us walk in the light of the Lord.
6 For You have abandoned Your people, the house of Jacob,
Because they are filled with influences from the east,
And they are soothsayers like the Philistines,
And they strike bargains with the children of foreigners.
7 Their land has also been filled with silver and gold
And there is no end to their treasures;
Their land has also been filled with horses
And there is no end to their chariots.
8 Their land has also been filled with idols;
They worship the work of their hands,
That which their fingers have made.
9 So the common man has been humbled
And the man of importance has been abased,
But do not forgive them.
10 Enter the rock and hide in the dust
From the terror of the Lord and from the splendor of His majesty.
11 The proud look of man will be abased
And the loftiness of man will be humbled,
And the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.
A Day of Reckoning Coming
12 For the Lord of hosts will have a day of reckoning
Against everyone who is proud and lofty
And against everyone who is lifted up,
That he may be abased.
13 And it will be against all the cedars of Lebanon that are lofty and lifted up,
Against all the oaks of Bashan,
14 Against all the lofty mountains,
Against all the hills that are lifted up,
15 Against every high tower,
Against every fortified wall,
16 Against all the ships of Tarshish
And against all the beautiful craft.
17 The pride of man will be humbled
And the loftiness of men will be abased;
And the Lord alone will be exalted in that day,
18 But the idols will completely vanish.
19 Men will go into caves of the rocks
And into holes of the ground
Before the terror of the Lord
And the splendor of His majesty,
When He arises to make the earth tremble.
20 In that day men will cast away to the moles and the bats
Their idols of silver and their idols of gold,
Which they made for themselves to worship,
21 In order to go into the caverns of the rocks and the clefts of the cliffs
Before the terror of the Lord and the splendor of His majesty,
When He arises to make the earth tremble.
22 Stop regarding man, whose breath of life is in his nostrils;
For why should he be esteemed?