INTRO: When one thinks of the written prophets of the Bible, I would imagine he thinks first of the book of Isaiah. And there is probably very good reason for that. There is little doubt in my mind that Isaiah is among the most read of the books of prophecy in the Old Testament. It may also be true that the book of Isaiah is among the most controversial of the prophetic books. Liberal scholarship has insisted that there are two distinct sections of the book and that there must have been two Isaiahs. That is not the end of what liberal scholarship has hypothesized about this wonderful book of prophecy. Among the discoveries in the Dead Sea scrolls was an ancient copy of the book of Isaiah ... which I understand confirms the accuracy of the book we know by that name.
I. SOME OBSERVATIONS ABOUT THIS BOOK
A. Its author is Isaiah, the son of Amoz
1. his name means, significantly, salvation of the Lord
2. he was married and had at least two sons
3. he was a friend of kings, of common people - a statesman, a prophet
4. his life spanned the reigns of four kings of Judah (1:1)
B. Isaiah is quoted in the N.T. more often than any other O.T. prophet
1. most of us remember Mt 1:22,23 which quotes from Isa 7:14
2. quotations come from all sections of the book and are attributed to Isaiah (not to some second Isaiah)
3. at Lk 4:16-21 Jesus is reading from Isa 61:1,2 ... and applies that which He reads to Himself!
4. indeed, Isaiah is, in a profound sense, the Messianic prophet
1. the book is set against the background of great apostasy - Isa 1:2-4
2. early in the book we see the constant threat of Assyria - Isa 8:6-8 (ultimately, Manasseh was captured by them - 2 Chron 33:11)
3. there are also the prophecies of Babylonia captivity - Isa 39:5-7 (cf. 5:13)
4. but the great restoration under Cyrus would be glorious - Isa 44:24-28
II. SOME OF THE GREAT MESSAGES OF ISAIAH
A. Gods pleasure in willing obedience
1. Isa 1:18-20 - If ye be willing and obedient...
2. point: they had been bringing their sacrifices and keep the special days of the Mosaic covenant ... but it had been a rote exercise; it had not been of faith
B. Calling evil good does not make it so
1. Isa 5:20,21 - Woe unto them that call evil good...
2. at v. 21 is the problem so many people have ... they permit their human wisdom to supercede all else
C. Only in God is salvation to be found
1. Isa 12:2,3 - God is my salvation; I will trust...
2. in the book of Isaiah the prophet over and again warns against trusting in alliances other than in a trusting relationship with Jehovah
D. The great danger of pride
1. Isa 14:12-17 - ...I will be like the most High...
2. pride is a problem for people of all degrees - rich and poor, powerful and lowly, all can be affected by pride
E. The wisdom of waiting upon the Lord
1. Isa 40:31 - But they that wait upon the Lord...
2. this little expression occurs several times in Isaiah ... and refers to trusting God for His blessings (again, contrasted with placing trust elsewhere)
F. The folly of idolatry
1. Isa 44:8-10,19,20 - He feedeth on ashes: a deceived heart hath turned him...
2. I wonder, though, how many people of our own time are feeding on ashes because of their idolatry
G. The wicked can expect no peace
1. Isa 57:20,21 - There is no peace...unto the wicked
2. but there is a contrast we need to see: Isa 26:3,4 - in my humble judgment, this is one of the great, vivid messages of the book of Isaiah
CLOSE: So, I come to Isa 66:1,2 as a sort of summing up passage. Are we people still sensitive and sensible enough to tremble at the word of God?
Cecil A. Hutson
12 January 2003
You Must Hear the Gospel
You Must Believe
You Must Repent
You Must Confess
You Must Be Baptized
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death