JUNE 26 - Nº 177 Isaiah 1 – 12
During the last year of King Uzziah’s reign in Judah (see #168 - June 17), a prophet named Isaiah had a vision. He saw God sitting on a throne in the heavenly Temple surrounded by His angels. The train of His robe filled the Temple. As Isaiah gazed at the majestic scene, he suddenly realized how unclean he was in God’s holy presence. He was sure he would die! But an angel brought a burning coal from the altar and touched it to Isaiah’s lips. He declared that Isaiah was now clean—his sins had been forgiven. Then God spoke. He asked if there was someone there who would deliver a message for Him. Isaiah was a busy man with a wife and two sons, but he immediately exclaimed, “Here I am—send me!” And God did. The message was difficult for Isaiah to share because it was filled with prophecies of judgment and pain. But it was also interlaced with hope and joy. The first 39 chapters of Isaiah’s prophecy describe how sinful the world had become and how desperately the people needed to be rescued from their sins. Isaiah warned Israel and Judah (and the nations surrounding them) of the judgment that was coming because of their disobedience and idolatry. Sure enough, it wasn’t long before Assyria, under the rule of King Tiglath-Pileser, completely destroyed the northern kingdom of Israel (see #172 - June 21). Isaiah then warned the people of Judah that they would face a similar ending if they didn’t get rid of their idols and turn back to God. He warned the kings of Judah (Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah) to stop making alliances with the powerful, sinful nations that surrounded them. Instead, they needed to trust God and ally themselves with Him. He wanted to protect them. Still, King Hezekiah of Judah chose to pompously display all his wealth in an effort to impress and gain favor with the Babylonians (see #176 - June 25). Isaiah scolded him. He prophesied that because of this, God would soon send the Babylonians to destroy the nation and enslave the people. Unfortunately, the king did not take Isaiah’s prophecy seriously since Babylon had not yet become a world power. After condemning Judah for its sinful disregard of the God Who loved them, Isaiah began to comfort them. In chapters 40-48, he shared promises of blessings and hope based on God’s power and majesty. Once more he explained how foolish the Jewish people were to put their faith in wooden idols instead of in the One true God Who had created everything—including the wood they used to carve their idols! They needed to return to Him. In chapters 49-57, Isaiah shared God’s ultimate plan for bringing salvation to the world through a Messiah (a Savior). His prophecy indicated that the Messiah would come twice—the first time as a suffering servant. He would be rejected by his own people and put to death as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. But one day He would return as an exalted king! When he did, he would bring peace and righteousness to the whole earth! Finally, in chapters 58-66, Isaiah explained that everyone who acknowledges their sins and trusts in the Messiah will be saved. Those who choose not to, will receive the judgment they deserve. He prophesied that a time is coming when God will create a new heaven and a new earth that will be filled with peace, prosperity, and justice. Much of what Isaiah described in his prophecy is retold by the apostle John in the book of Revelation.
We should never make “alliances” (choose friends or business partners) with the sole purpose of protecting or benefiting ourselves. Our relationships must always honor God. He wants to be the One to protect and bless us. Do you have some “alliances” you need to rethink? God has a great future for each of us if we choose to honor Him.