Over and over again, the northern kingdom of Israel was warned to stop their evil, idolatrous ways or God would send one of their enemies to conquer them. They didn’t, and He did. Now it’s Judah’s turn. Again, God sends one prophet after another to warn them. Today we start the Book of the Prophet Isaiah. This is a powerful book. It is full not just with prophecies against Judah and Jerusalem of 739 BC, but amazing prophecies of the coming Messiah — Jesus!
Isaiah’s name means “Yahweh is salvation” and that’s the TRUTH! Here he starts by telling Judah to look at what happened to Israel. The same is going to happen to you. Watch out! Let’s dig in….
These are the visions that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. He saw these visions during the years when Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah were kings of Judah.
A Message for Rebellious Judah
2 Listen, O heavens! Pay attention, earth!
This is what the Lord says:
“The children I raised and cared for
have rebelled against me.
3 Even an ox knows its owner,
and a donkey recognizes its master’s care—
but Israel doesn’t know its master.
My people don’t recognize my care for them.”
4 Oh, what a sinful nation they are—
loaded down with a burden of guilt.
They are evil people,
corrupt children who have rejected the Lord.
They have despised the Holy One of Israel
and turned their backs on him.
5 Why do you continue to invite punishment?
Must you rebel forever?
Your head is injured,
and your heart is sick.
6 You are battered from head to foot—
covered with bruises, welts, and infected wounds—
without any soothing ointments or bandages.
7 Your country lies in ruins,
and your towns are burned.
Foreigners plunder your fields before your eyes
and destroy everything they see.
8 Beautiful Jerusalem stands abandoned
like a watchman’s shelter in a vineyard,
like a lean-to in a cucumber field after the harvest,
like a helpless city under siege.
9 If the Lord of Heaven’s Armies
had not spared a few of us,
we would have been wiped out like Sodom,
destroyed like Gomorrah.
10 Listen to the Lord, you leaders of “Sodom.”
Listen to the law of our God, people of “Gomorrah.”
11 “What makes you think I want all your sacrifices?”
says the Lord.
“I am sick of your burnt offerings of rams
and the fat of fattened cattle.
I get no pleasure from the blood
of bulls and lambs and goats.
12 When you come to worship me,
who asked you to parade through my courts with all your ceremony?
13 Stop bringing me your meaningless gifts;
the incense of your offerings disgusts me!
As for your celebrations of the new moon and the Sabbath
and your special days for fasting—
they are all sinful and false.
I want no more of your pious meetings.
14 I hate your new moon celebrations and your annual festivals.
They are a burden to me. I cannot stand them!
15 When you lift up your hands in prayer, I will not look.
Though you offer many prayers, I will not listen,
for your hands are covered with the blood of innocent victims.
16 Wash yourselves and be clean!
Get your sins out of my sight.
Give up your evil ways.
17 Learn to do good.
Help the oppressed.
Defend the cause of orphans.
Fight for the rights of widows.
18 “Come now, let’s settle this,”
says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
I will make them as white as snow.
Though they are red like crimson,
I will make them as white as wool.
19 If you will only obey me,
you will have plenty to eat.
20 But if you turn away and refuse to listen,
you will be devoured by the sword of your enemies.
I, the Lord, have spoken!”
21 See how Jerusalem, once so faithful,
has become a prostitute.
Once the home of justice and righteousness,
she is now filled with murderers.
22 Once like pure silver,
you have become like worthless slag.
Once so pure,
you are now like watered-down wine.
23 Your leaders are rebels,
the companions of thieves.
All of them love bribes
and demand payoffs,
but they refuse to defend the cause of orphans
or fight for the rights of widows.
24 Therefore, the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies,
the Mighty One of Israel, says,
“I will take revenge on my enemies
and pay back my foes!
25 I will raise my fist against you.
I will melt you down and skim off your slag.
I will remove all your impurities.
26 Then I will give you good judges again
and wise counselors like you used to have.
Then Jerusalem will again be called the Home of Justice
and the Faithful City.”
27 Zion will be restored by justice;
those who repent will be revived by righteousness.
28 But rebels and sinners will be completely destroyed,
and those who desert the Lord will be consumed.
29 You will be ashamed of your idol worshipIsaiah 1 NLT
in groves of sacred oaks.
You will blush because you worshiped
in gardens dedicated to idols.
30 You will be like a great tree with withered leaves,
like a garden without water.
31 The strongest among you will disappear like straw;
their evil deeds will be the spark that sets it on fire.
They and their evil works will burn up together,
and no one will be able to put out the fire.
- Verse 3: Oxen and donkeys know who their masters are and they listen to them. God is our master and we MUST listen to His voice.
- If you are not pursuing God, you are going backwards — into darkness — seek the Light!
- God doesn’t want meaningless gifts and offerings brought without sincere, repentant hearts. He says, keep them! You can go through robotic, mindless rituals — they mean NOTHING to God — because they are invented by men.
- Verse 16: Get you sins out of my sight! God sees everything. All your dirty little secrets. God knows them and hates them.
- Verse 18: That’s Jesus’ cleansing of our sins — our purification — our sanctification! Only THROUGH JESUS!
- Does the last part of this chapter sound like your life? Are you sold out to sin? Do you condone abortion — the killing of innocent babies? Do you condone sexual immorality? How about pride, greed, lust, fraud, vanity?
Isaiah 2 – The Lord’s Future Reign
This is a vision that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem:
2 In the last days, the mountain of the Lord’s house
will be the highest of all—
the most important place on earth.
It will be raised above the other hills,
and people from all over the world will stream there to worship.
3 People from many nations will come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the house of Jacob’s God.
There he will teach us his ways,
and we will walk in his paths.”
For the Lord’s teaching will go out from Zion;
his word will go out from Jerusalem.
4 The Lord will mediate between nations
and will settle international disputes.
They will hammer their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will no longer fight against nation,
nor train for war anymore.
A Warning of Judgment
5 Come, descendants of Jacob,
let us walk in the light of the Lord!
6 For the Lord has rejected his people,
the descendants of Jacob,
because they have filled their land with practices from the East
and with sorcerers, as the Philistines do.
They have made alliances with pagans.
7 Israel is full of silver and gold;
there is no end to its treasures.
Their land is full of warhorses;
there is no end to its chariots.
8 Their land is full of idols;
the people worship things they have made
with their own hands.
9 So now they will be humbled,
and all will be brought low—
do not forgive them.
10 Crawl into caves in the rocks.
Hide in the dust
from the terror of the Lord
and the glory of his majesty.
11 Human pride will be brought down,
and human arrogance will be humbled.
Only the Lord will be exalted
on that day of judgment.
12 For the Lord of Heaven’s Armies
has a day of reckoning.
He will punish the proud and mighty
and bring down everything that is exalted.
13 He will cut down the tall cedars of Lebanon
and all the mighty oaks of Bashan.
14 He will level all the high mountains
and all the lofty hills.
15 He will break down every high tower
and every fortified wall.
16 He will destroy all the great trading ships (of Tarshish)
and every magnificent vessel.
17 Human pride will be humbled,
and human arrogance will be brought down.
Only the Lord will be exalted
on that day of judgment.
18 Idols will completely disappear.Isaiah 2 NLT
19 When the Lord rises to shake the earth,
his enemies will crawl into holes in the ground.
They will hide in caves in the rocks
from the terror of the Lord
and the glory of his majesty.
20 On that day of judgment they will abandon the gold and silver idols
they made for themselves to worship.
They will leave their gods to the rodents and bats,
21 while they crawl away into caverns
and hide among the jagged rocks in the cliffs.
They will try to escape the terror of the Lord
and the glory of his majesty
as he rises to shake the earth.
22 Don’t put your trust in mere humans.
They are as frail as breath.
What good are they?
Here we have several terms that apply to the future — Bible Prophecy.
- The Latter Days
- The Last Days
- The Day of the Lord
I love verse 20 that says on that day of Final Judgment, all idols will be abandoned. The guilty, unbelievers will try to escape, but no one can run or hide from God.
The last verse there is excellent advice: Don’t put your trust in mere humans. What good are they? Trust God.
Isaiah 3 – Judgment Against Judah
The Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies,
will take away from Jerusalem and Judah
everything they depend on:
every bit of bread
and every drop of water,
2 all their heroes and soldiers,
judges and prophets,
fortune-tellers and elders,
3 army officers and high officials,
advisers, skilled sorcerers, and astrologers.
4 I will make boys their leaders,
and toddlers their rulers.
5 People will oppress each other—
man against man,
neighbor against neighbor.
Young people will insult their elders,
and vulgar people will sneer at the honorable.
6 In those days a man will say to his brother,
“Since you have a coat, you be our leader!
Take charge of this heap of ruins!”
7 But he will reply,
“No! I can’t help.
I don’t have any extra food or clothes.
Don’t put me in charge!”
8 For Jerusalem will stumble,
and Judah will fall,
because they speak out against the Lord and refuse to obey him.
They provoke him to his face.
9 The very look on their faces gives them away.
They display their sin like the people of Sodom
and don’t even try to hide it.
They are doomed!
They have brought destruction upon themselves.
10 Tell the godly that all will be well for them.
They will enjoy the rich reward they have earned!
11 But the wicked are doomed,
for they will get exactly what they deserve.
12 Childish leaders oppress my people,
and women rule over them.
O my people, your leaders mislead you;
they send you down the wrong road.
13 The Lord takes his place in court
and presents his case against his people.
14 The Lord comes forward to pronounce judgment
on the elders and rulers of his people:
“You have ruined Israel, my vineyard.
Your houses are filled with things stolen from the poor.
15 How dare you crush my people,
grinding the faces of the poor into the dust?”
demands the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
A Warning to Jerusalem
16 The Lord says, “Beautiful Zion (Jerusalem) is haughty:
craning her elegant neck,
flirting with her eyes,
walking with dainty steps,
tinkling her ankle bracelets.
17 So the Lord will send scabs on her head;
the Lord will make beautiful Zion bald.”
18 On that day of judgment
the Lord will strip away everything that makes her beautiful:
ornaments, headbands, crescent necklaces,
19 earrings, bracelets, and veils;
20 scarves, ankle bracelets, sashes,
perfumes, and charms;
21 rings, jewels,
22 party clothes, gowns, capes, and purses;
23 mirrors, fine linen garments,
head ornaments, and shawls.
24 Instead of smelling of sweet perfume, she will stink.Isaiah 3 NLT
She will wear a rope for a sash,
and her elegant hair will fall out.
She will wear rough burlap instead of rich robes.
Shame will replace her beauty.
25 The men of the city will be killed with the sword,
and her warriors will die in battle.
26 The gates of Zion will weep and mourn.
The city will be like a ravaged woman,
huddled on the ground.
Verse 9 – Sodom never tried to hide their sin. No, it was always on full display. Like flying the “pride flag” at every U.S. Embassy in the world. Our culture embraces it also. Billy Graham once said…
“If God doesn’t judge America, He’ll have to apologize to Sodom.”Billy Graham
Verse 12 – “Childish leaders” –wow! That describes what we’ve got in Washington right now. Incompetent people in charge of the military, national policy, Congress and the Senate. Hello?! Wake up America! Come Back to God!
In that day so few men will be left that seven women will fight for each man, saying, “Let us all marry you! We will provide our own food and clothing. Only let us take your name so we won’t be mocked as old maids.”
A Promise of Restoration
2 But in that day, the branch of the LordIsaiah 4 NLT
will be beautiful and glorious;
the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory
of all who survive in Israel.
3 All who remain in Zion
will be a holy people—
those who survive the destruction of Jerusalem
and are recorded among the living.
4 The Lord will wash the filth from beautiful Zion
and cleanse Jerusalem of its bloodstains
with the hot breath of fiery judgment.
5 Then the Lord will provide shade for Mount Zion
and all who assemble there.
He will provide a canopy of cloud during the day
and smoke and flaming fire at night,
covering the glorious land.
6 It will be a shelter from daytime heat
and a hiding place from storms and rain.
The Promise of Restoration is Jesus and the New Heaven and the New Earth and the New Jerusalem described in Revelation 21 and 22. That is our Confident HOPE!
That “shelter” is what the Jews portray in the Feast of Tabernacles. When Jesus will come and dwell with us.
“The Branch” refers to the Messiah who is a direct descendant of King David. Matthew proves this is Jesus in the opening chapter of his Gospel.
That last section was a message of HOPE. It’s hope that can only be found THROUGH JESUS CHRIST and no one else! That HOPE is not in any church. It’s definitely not in the Pope. It’s absolutely NOT in a government! That confident Hope of Salvation and Restoration of a sinful, broken world transformed into a beautiful, glorious ETERNAL LIFE!
It’s only available to anyone who wholeheartedly repents and turns to JESUS.
It’s YOUR Choice!
You can continue in your sinful ways, bowing to and venerating worthless statues of Mary and saints, as well as going to through mindless rituals. Or you can approach the One True God with a repentant heart and turn from your sinful ways.
Jesus didn’t suffer torture and die so we could have religion!
No! He died so He could have a Relationship with YOU!
What are you waiting for?!
Note: The Book of Isaiah is long — 66 chapters. It’s called the little Bible because it has 66 chapters and the Bible has 66 books. It also tells God’s story, past, present and future. The complete message of the Gospel. Its prophecies cover several years and historical events. In attempt to continue going through the Old Testament in historical sequence, I’ll be breaking up Isaiah with studies of Micah, another prophet, and the historical accounts from other chapters. The video below is an overview from BibleProject on the first part of Isaiah.