Introduction to Isaiah (1)
Pray Psalm 85.8, 9
I will hear what God the Lord will speak,
For He will speak peace
To His people and to His saints;
But let them not turn back to folly.
Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him,
That glory may dwell in our land.
Read Isaiah 6.1-13.
1. What did God want Isaiah to do? Why did he not feel worthy to be in the Lord’s presence?
2. What promise did God attach to Isaiah’s calling?
Traditionally, the Old Testament is divided into three sections: The Law, The Prophets, and The Writings.
The Law includes the first five books of the Bible, the books written by Moses. This section is called The Law because the giving of The Law takes up a major portion of the section.
The Writings take the form of poetry. The content of this section is liturgical, contemplative, philosophical, and practical. The books in this section include Job through Song of Solomon, and sometimes the Lamentations of Jeremiah.
The Prophets are considered from various perspectives. Some speak of the Former Prophets (those who wrote before the Babylonian captivity) and the Latter Prophets (those who wrote after the Babylonian captivity). We can also think of them as Historical Prophets (who wrote mainly histories) and Preaching Prophets (whose books contain messages given to them from God, which they proclaimed to the people). The 16 books typically thought of as The Prophets (the histories not included) are sometimes divided into the Major Prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel) and the Minor Prophets (the remaining 12 books of the Old Testament, beginning with Hosea). The distinction refers to the amount of written material in these books and not the relative importance of their messages.
The prophet’s calling was to proclaim the will of God to a designated people, whether the people of Israel and Judah or the Gentile nations (cf. Jonah, Nahum, Obadiah, and parts of all the prophets). Their methods vary, but they mainly center on visions, messages, historical accounts, and prophesies concerning the future of God’s people and Kingdom. The writings of all the prophets are charged with Messianic insights and promises. Their focus is threefold: God’s faithfulness in the past, the rebellion of the people in the present, and the promise of judgment and restoration in the future.
Prophets came from various walks of life, but all brought a consistent message than can be summarized as, “This is what the LORD says…” While the messages of the prophets were given in and for a particular historical setting, the Word of God which they encode is timeless. Therefore, we should expect in every prophet to find some word of warning, promise, encouragement, or edification to guide us in our walk with and work for the Lord.
We will certainly see that this is the case with the book of Isaiah.
1. How does God present Himself to Isaiah in Isaiah 6? How does Isaiah respond?
2. Summarize God’s calling for Isaiah. What did God intend? What did He promise?
3. Is there any sense in which your calling from the Lord shares aspects of Isaiah’s?
“Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?” O divine secrets of Scripture! As long as Isaiah’s tongue was treacherous and his lips unclean, the Lord does not say to him, Whom shall I send, and who shall go? His lips are cleansed, and immediately he is appointed the Lord’s spokesman; hence it is true that the person with unclean lips cannot prophesy, nor can he be sent in obedient service to God. Jerome (347-420 AD), Homilies on the Psalms 41 (Psalm 119)
Here am I, Lord, send me today to…
Pray Psalm 85.
Use today’s psalm to seek the Lord for revival, and to begin putting in place in your mind a vision of what revival will look like as it begins.
Sing to the Lord.
Psalm 85 (Lyons: O Worship the King)
O Lord, You Your favor showed to Your land;
Your people You saved by Your mighty hand.
Their sins You forgave, all Your wrath You withdrew;
You turned back the anger which to them was due.
Restore us, O God, renew us in peace,
And cause all Your wrath against us to cease.
Will You evermore all Your wrath to us show?
Revive us that we may Your joy again know.
Lord, show us Your love; restore us, we pray!
And help us to hear the words that You say.
Speak peace to Your people; in truth let us stand.
We fear You; let glory and grace fill our land.
In Jesus God’s grace and truth are combined;
Both goodness and peace in Him do we find.
Truth springs from the earth as He walks in our midst,
And righteousness flows from the heav’ns as a gift.
The Lord by His grace will give what is good;
Our land will produce abundance of food.
And righteousness will go before the Lord’s face,
And make of His footsteps a way in this place.
T. M. Moore
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006).All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).