Monday, September 9, 2013

24 Days in Isaiah

One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Sunday, September 8, 2013:  Isaiah 1:1-2:22

The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.  Isaiah 1:1 (NKJV)

During the next 24 days, I invite you to walk with me through the Book of Isaiah.  The name Isaiah means "Yahweh Is Salvation" or "Salvation Is Of The Lord."  As is the name, so is the book.  Isaiah describes the saving power of God like no other book in the Old Testament.  No other Old Testament writer is as eloquent in describing the coming Messiah and the redemption He will bring.

A Mirror

It has been said that Isaiah is a mirror of the entire Bible.  Just as the Bible contains 66 books, so Isaiah has 66 chapters.  The first part of Isaiah is 39 chapters that deal primarily with judgment, purity, and repentance.  The second part of Isaiah is 27 chapters that focus on hope, comfort, and the coming salvation.  It is in this second half of Isaiah that we find some of the most inspiring pictures of Jesus short of the Gospels.  Similarly, the first 39 books of the Bible are the Old Testament.  There are then 27 books that make up the New Testament. 

The Man

The prophet Isaiah was obviously an educated man displaying an impressive command of language.  He lived in Jerusalem and prophesied to what we call the Southern Kingdom.  Israel had tragically fractured between North and South producing two separate nations.  Isaiah ministered through the reigns of 4 kings of Judah: Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah.  Jewish tradition however tells us that he lived and worked into a fifth king: Manasseh.  In fact, the apocryphal Martyrdom of Isaiah tells us that Manasseh had Isaiah executed by inserting him into a hollow log and then the log was sawn in two.  Hebrews 11:37 is probably referring to Isaiah when it speaks of the heroes of the faith:  "They were stoned, they were sawn in two...."

The Ministry

Isaiah's ministry spanned over 60 years!  60 years!!

When we consider a man like Isaiah, we ought to think of COURAGE -- ENDURANCE -- FAITHFULNESS to fulfill his calling with excellence. 

Are you doing what God has called you to do?  Are you meeting resistance or discouragement? Will you remain passionately faithful NO MATTER WHAT? 

As we read Isaiah, my prayer is that we not only be instructed by his words, but INSPIRED by his example.  May the Spirit that anointed him be like a fire in us, too.

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