The book of Isaiah starts out with a simple explanation of its contents.
Isaiah 1:1 (NKJV) — 1 The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.
The book is a vision. Isaiah received the vision (or multiple visions) from God. He is speaking to the people of the Kingdom of Judah the words God has given him. The main point: God isn’t happy. Israel and Judah have rebelled against Him. He has called them back again and again, but they refuse. Isaiah pleads with the people. God pleads with the people, but to no avail.
Isaiah is God’s mouthpiece. At this point God begins to declare “woes” on the people. Isaiah understands the people’s wickedness. He declares the woes on the people for God. I can see him now in his righteous anger, pointing his finger at the wicked people of the nation.
- Woe to those who sin and don’t hide it (Isa 3:9)
- Woe to the wicked! (Isa 3:11)
- Woe to those who mess up the divisions of the land that God gave as an inheritance (Isa 5:8)
- Woe to those who drink all day (Isa 5:11)
- Woe to those who haul sin around with them everywhere (Isa 5:18)
- Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil (Isa 5:20)
- Woe to those who think they are wise, even more than God (Isa 5:21)
- Woe to those who are only valiant because they drink (Isa 5:22)
What a list of sins! Isaiah had every right to point his finger. The people were truly wicked and rebellious and deserving of judgment. He was just speaking the words God gave him anyway. We can look around us today and see the same thing. We live in a time where more and more every day, the world calls what is evil good and what is good evil. So what are we to do? Do we do as Isaiah and walk around pointing our fingers and declare the righteous judgment of God? We could. The Bible does clearly talk about God’s righteous judgment. However, let’s look at what happened to Isaiah.
In chapter 6, Isaiah was given a another vision of the Lord.
Isaiah 6:1–4 (NKJV) — 1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. 2 Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!” 4 And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.
Isaiah had been pointing his finger in righteous indignation at all those sinners. But now, in the presence of the Living God, Isaiah changes his tune.
Isaiah 6:5 (NKJV) — 5 So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The LORD of hosts.”
Instead of “Woe is you,” Isaiah is crying out “Woe is me!” Woe is me. Isaiah now understands something. Compared to the righteousness of God, we are all unclean and deserving of destruction. We should all be crying out “woe is me!”
I have to imagine that Isaiah’s heart changed. He still had to declare the judgment of God, but now it is probably done in tears and not anger. Even Jesus says we are to have a heart of humility in dealing with others. Jesus dealt with compassion and so must we. In fact, it is only by Jesus that anyone can stand in the presence of God. Isaiah was able to experience this forgiveness.
Isaiah 6:6–7 (NKJV) — 6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. 7 And he touched my mouth with it, and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away, And your sin purged.”
Isaiah’s sin was purged from him and we also experience the Lord’s forgiveness when we believe and put our faith in Him.
Colossians 2:13 (NKJV) — 13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,
Remember this: we are not called to declare woes on people, we are called to declare the mercy of Jesus Christ.
In His Service, Scott
This Week’s Reading Plan:
- Day 1 – Isaiah 9-12
- Day 2 – Isaiah 13-17
- Day 3 – Isaiah 18-22
- Day 4 – Isaiah 23-27
- Day 5 – Isaiah 28-30
- Day 6 – Isaiah 31-35
- Day 7 – Isaiah 36-41