The conversation with my daughter went like this; "Mom, does God yell at me?" I replied quizzically, "No, why?" She lamented, "Well, sometimes I hear yelling in my head to do something. I was wondering if that is how God talks to me." I strongly added, "Sweetheart, God absolutely does not yell. He will make things uncomfortable for us to draw us back to Him when we stray but He does not force or yell."
It would be good to remember this through our study of Isaiah. I often want to read this as God yelling, but He does not. In fact God's character is best seen through Christ. Hebrews 1:3a states this about God's character, " He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature." God the Father is the exact imprint of Christ's nature. When we look at Christ in the Scriptures it is the best picture we get of the Father. What love, grace, and truth we should see. The Father, Son, and Spirit are One. And in our day we are blessed to have the Spirit live in us if we are believing by Faith what Christ did for us. What a great view we have in studying Isaiah.
Isaiah is so timely for addressing the days we currently live in. The children of Israel were being disciplined for straying from God. He was supposed to be supreme in their lives. He loves them so much that He will discipline them as far as He must for them to return to Him.
During the time period of this book we observe that God not only sent Isaiah but He continued to speak through many other prophets, sending them to warn of impending judgement. As much as a loving Father desires for His children to listen and turn away from sin, He loves them more so to follow through with discipline if they chose to forsake Him and His teachings. His love is too great to let them continue waywardly.
We will learn much about God's character. He loves so deeply and richly that He cannot just turn His head from our sin. God is complete holiness and sinless, He cannot have sin in His presence. So in the days of the cross He sent Jesus to take our sin upon Himself making us clean in God's eyes once we accept Christ's sacrifice. Signs of Christ are all over the book of Isaiah. It is beautiful to discover. Though we deserve judgement and wrath God was pleased to send Jesus to restore our relationship by taking the wrath upon Himself.
We see the prophet Isaiah pointing us to Christ and though God seems harsh in judgement we must know He is only being a loving Father, and/or a Faithful Husband to His people.
In Isaiah 1-5 we see it as God bringing forth His judgement on His people. It is like a trial but the jury is the Heavens and the earth (v.2). God is declaring His people as sick with sin. They are worshiping God with the motions but do not mean it in their hearts. God can see directly in our hearts.
I wonder if we are ever guilty of this kind of worship?
God calls them to repentance. to go back to doing what is right. He then tells us about the coming Messiah. In Chapter 1, v. 18 we see this pointing, "though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool." They did not know this then but we know it now this is talking about Christ who takes the stain of our sins away when we trust in Him as our Savior.
God then tells His people that this judgement comes with a cleansing purpose. What grace it is when God loves us this much to not let us get away with sin. He draws us back through trials. He doesn't force our hand in choosing Him but woos us back through trial. That is what He was doing with His people.
In chapter two the word talks about in the last days how God will reign. There will be peace and no more war. Those who are prideful will be brought low. There is only room for ONE to be exalted.
Chapter three discusses how since God's people would not listen God is taking away all of their security and support. His men and women will lose protection. There will be no good leaders. These people are sinning and are proud of it (v.9). Yet v. 8 tells us they brought this sin on themselves "because their speech and deeds are against the Lord, defying His glorious presence."
Chapter four gives us some hope again, it talks about the day "the branch of the Lord" which refers to Jesus, will be beautiful and glorious. How God does leave a remnant of His people because He is faithful to His promises not to wipe them all out. It ends with God protecting them.
Chapter five is a sad chapter that starts with a parable to explain what they have done to God. Then ends with many woes lamenting their many sins. It ends with God summoning the nations that will take them captive because of their refusal to turn from their sins.
Yet the next section we study we will see that though His wrath is great, His grace is greater still.
Things to think about:
Can you see the amazing heart of God through this?
What do you learn about God's character?
Would you say that God is a patiently enduring God?
Has this opened your eyes to seeing God in a new way?
How have you been like a stubborn child? Know that you can always turn in repentance. He is waiting.
What can you learn from these passages that you can apply to your life today?
What similarities can we see that exist in our society today?