January 11

Isaiah 4-7

We are actually starting in Isaiah 3:18 so that we can start today’s reading in context. We are continuing down the Prophetic Stream in the Modern English Version.

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“Lord God of Heaven, you come to us and bless us in so many ways.  You feed, and guide, and inspire.  The troubles of this life are able to take us into dismay.  We are to look to you.  Even in the middle of our worst trials, you speak, you visit, you assure, and tell us of what Your great plan for us is.  You always are our Savior.  Amen.”

-Today’s visions and symbolism are the stuff of legends and sermons and lessons for century upon century.  There are: branches, vines, visions, a virgin with her child…” [whaaa?!] – – – 

-The judgment pronounced in ch. 3 is continuing into the next chapter – for one verse anyway

Chapter 4

Isa – 04 – and then comes the first prophetic Messianic word Isaiah gives about The Branch; a messiah, a word of One coming who will bring in days of glory, cleansing, a shelter and refuge.  Think of fruit on a tree.  It doesn’t cluster on the trunk.  It grows out on the branches, and shades and feeds while remaining attached over here, at the trunk, yet serving those over … there, where people are in need.   

Chapter 5

Isa – 05 – This kind of reminds us of Jesus’ words, “I am the vine and you are the branches.”  Well, in a way it does.  The main subsistence of this land are from three products: olives, grains, grapes.  Israel has been planted here to be God’s vineyard and yet the irresponsiveness of the people called to tend the vine is no longer tolerable.  God has done utterly everything for them to thrive and they have gone bad; they have turned out to be sour grapes.  So God is going to lay them to waste.  “The hearse approaches…   They were being people were being ruthless to each other.  We can logic this away all we wish but when people act like this, it is practical atheism. They devoured their neighbors because they could. So the coming harvest would be a pittance of a fraction of a sliver of what it needed to be.  Their love was alcohol and revelry, God was ignored, and guess what – death was on its way; coming YOUR way.  The courts were about business – not justice. The poor were getting stripped even further.  Right and wrong were utterly subjective games.  So justice was coming in a frightful manner – like a police dog whistled to duty.  It would be another century plus before the seige would start, but this was no time to declare, “oh, we have time!”

Chapter 6

Isa – 06 – The Call of Isaiah is a stellar read that has blessed worship services for over 2700 years.  As we read, it happened the year King Uzziah died; 740 B.C.  The flames, the Lord appearing, the throne, the robe, the glory, the flight, the “holy, holy” reprise… .  Isaiah was stunned and  cleansed and consecrated for ministry in a wondrous manner.  Some argue that this is actually the beginning of Isaiah’s ministry and it is simply put here as ch. 6 as a literative tactic.  It isn’t meant to puzzle anyone.  Many stories start as flashbacks and then somewhere in the middle we learn about the actual beginning.  Countless movies are presented in this manner.  But in Isa. 6, the end of Judah is told from this here beginning.  The people are not going to listen, the place will be ruined, the ‘tenth’ that is left will also be ruined.  Only a stump will remain of what the “forest” once was.  Then out of that, a Redeemer will sprout.  Remember the ‘branch’ in ch. 5?!  God always leaves us with enough hope to carry on – somehow.  And when did Isaiah get this epochal vision? ‘in that year King Uzziah died’.  When Isaiah was not looking to the earthly King anymore, some critical introspection and soul-searching began and God alone could get to Isaiah.  When we take our eyes off this world we can start seeing things eternal.  Remember the song, “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus”  It’s as true as it ever was.

Chapter 7

Isa – 07 – Ahaz was King of Judah in the south when the Assyrians were ransacking the north.  His reign was 732-716 B.C.  So the north fell to Assyria during his reign.  AND the south was greatly threatened during this same period.  Though Jerusalem would not fall (not for another 140 years).  The king of Israel; the north joined with King of Aram and attacked Jerusalem.  These were stressful days in Jerusalem but they are assured that they would not go down in defeat here though they MUST stand firm in faith.  And behold, “a virgin shall be with child…”  Isaiah in his writing brilliance inserts this prophecy of what would happen ca. 720 years later.  It’s like pausing to read Robert Frost or Helen Steiner Rice poetry while freezing in the Battle of the Bulge or under seige in a life and death battle at sea.  Nonetheless the last eight verses of this chapter tell of the coming Assyrian army.  They would not overtake the south completely, but they will scare the holy daylights out of everyone.  They were the most savage army the world had ever known.  Their treachery has hardly been surpassed even today.  For what it’s worth, check II Kings 17-19 for it’s what is concurrently happening and will soon come to pass for those who threaten God’s people.

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