Thursday, January 3, 2013

Who was Isaiah? Part II

”See how Jerusalem, once so faithful,
has become a prostitute.
Once the home of justice and righteousness,
she is now filled with murderers.

 Once like pure silver, you have become like worthless slag.
Once so pure, you are now like watered-down wine.
 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.

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!
 I will raise my fist against you.
I will melt you down and skim off your slag.
I will remove all your impurities.

 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.”

Zion will be restored by justice; those who repent will be revived by righteousness.
 But rebels and sinners will be completely destroyed, and those who desert the Lord will be consumed.

 You will be ashamed of your idol worship
in groves of sacred oaks.
You will blush because you worshiped
in gardens dedicated to idols.

 You will be like a great tree with withered leaves,
like a garden without water.
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.”  Isa. 1: 21-31 NLT

Isaiah’s life and ministry were lived in the midst of the Divided Kingdom.

The Kingdom was divided into north and south. The ten tribes of the North wanted Jeroboam to be king but the two southern tribes wanted Rehoboam as their king.

 Israel was consistently ruled by wicked kings right up until their destruction. Judah was more fortunate that they had some good kings and often had times where the nation of Judah pleased the Lord.

So from the time of Uzziah to the reign of Hezekiah, kings of Judah, Isaiah preached his message. This message dates from 740 BC to 687 BC, about 700 years before Jesus would be born.

Off to the near North lay a growing empire, an empire chomping at the bit to expand its territory. Throughout the book you will read references to many nations and their impending doom. God uses Assyria to bring about this doom. Even Israel, because of its wickedness and disobedience and rejection of Yahweh, falls in 722 BC.  This would be in the middle of Isaiah’s ministry.



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