A few years ago I accompanied friends of mine on a trip to Europe. One of our travel group had daily business meetings. The other two of us set off everyday to see what adventure we could find along the route of the nearby rail road line.
One morning we got up and decided we were off to Antrewp. We had heard Antrewp was diamond capital of the world and the city sported a diamond museum. Well woo hoo! Off to Antrewp we went.
When we got off the train we headed out across then city center square toward the massive museum. Huge signs advertised the glorious gems within.
We walked up the building full of excitement. The gate was shut. Hmmm.
We looked at the sign by the gate. Museum closed on Tuesday.
We had completely neglected to check any details. We had not consulted with anyone. No research online. We had barreled forward with our plan but we were stopped at the gate.
The Book of Isaiah tells the story of a prophet shouting out warning signs and warnings. The people don't listen. And so they are shut off and great heartache ensues. The good news is the story didn't end there. The prophet had a message of hope if only the people would listen.
The Book of Isaiah is a massive 66 chapter book split into two sections. The first half is the warnings and promises to the people prior to their caputure. The second half is the message to the people in captivity. I'll cover that second half next week.
Ever notice how the instagram Bible and wall hangings only show the verses of hope? Do you know that they are only hopeful in context of the words of judgment? You don't need a savior if you aren't utterly forsaken.
The people of Israel broke covenant.
Ah, sinful nation, a people loaded with guilt, a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption! They have forsaken the Lord; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on him. Isaiah 1:4
There was then Judgment and call to action
When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hid my eyes from you; even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood! wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong, learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow. Isaiah 1: 15-17
The prophet Isaiah witnessed God.
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. 6:1
Isaiah encourages me to ground my faith by embracing God as He is. Holy. Mighty. Massive.
The earth is defiled by its people; they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore a curse consumes the earth; its people must bear their guilt. Is. 24:19
Ain't that the truth?! If you watch the news for too long you'll be convinced. The world then is the same as now. In need of a Savior. And Isaiah is one of the best places to hear God's plan for redemption.
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. Is. 9:2
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, MIghty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Is 9:6
For this salvation of Jesus and for the grace bestowed then and now I join in the praise.
Surly God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. Is. 12:2
O Lord, you are my God: I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you hae done marvelous things, things planned long ago. Is. 25:1
You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, The Lord is the Rock eternal. Isaiah 26:3-4
The first half of Isaiah leaves the people locked out of their homes, cut off from glory but watching expecting salvation. In minor fashion exactly how we sat outside the diamond museum. Locked out but with a train ticket home. We just had to follow the map.
I've learned my lesson. When traveling I do more research. I try to read the signs. If only we would all try to apply the same words of warning from Isaiah and follow the savior.
Check out The Bible Project's Read Scripture for the first half of Isaiah. This really helped me see the layout of the book. Watch and learn.
I love Jesus. I think my two daughters can change the world. I think you can too.
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