Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Isaiah, Chapter 1

It is a new year, and that means it is time for a new beginning here. It is my prayer that everyone had a great Christmas and that God will truly speak to your heart in this coming year. With that, I have decided to take this blog in a bit of a new direction by opening a study of the prophetic writings of Isaiah. It is the first time I have ever gone in depth for a book of the Old Testament, but Isaiah lends many references to future events that we have found throughout the New Testament. It is a lesson in learning to trust God, because the prophet Isaiah knew he would never see his visions fulfilled in his lifetime. Still, he lived in faith that God would prevail in the end, beginning here in Isaiah 1.

11 "The multitude of your sacrifices—
       what are they to me?" says the LORD.
       "I have more than enough of burnt offerings,
       of rams and the fat of fattened animals;
       I have no pleasure
       in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.

 12 When you come to appear before me,
       who has asked this of you,
       this trampling of my courts?

 13 Stop bringing meaningless offerings!
       Your incense is detestable to me.
       New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations—
       I cannot bear your evil assemblies. – Isaiah 1:11-13

At the time this was written, much of Judah had fallen away from its former glory. It had become a country that was more caught up in serving itself than in serving the Lord. Here, Isaiah admonishes the people by telling them that their sacrifices and offerings meant nothing unless their heart was in the right place. God wants our hearts and wants us to love Him with all of ourselves. He wants sacrifices and offerings to be given freely out of devotion and love, not as some obligation that must be met. This lesson carries over to today, as many people struggle with finding that type of devotion in their hearts. I struggle with this myself, when my faith feels more like an obligation rather than love. That is why I love the power of prayer. Sometimes prayer, treated simply like a conversation between you and God, can break through that monotony and reconnect us with God.

18 "Come now, let us reason together,"
       says the LORD.
       "Though your sins are like scarlet,
       they shall be as white as snow;
       though they are red as crimson,
       they shall be like wool.

 19 If you are willing and obedient,
       you will eat the best from the land;

 20 but if you resist and rebel,
       you will be devoured by the sword."
       For the mouth of the LORD has spoken. – Isaiah 1:18-20

Keep in mind that this book was written hundreds of years before the birth of Christ. Knowing that, the book of Isaiah deals with several prophesies concerning the life of Christ. Here, Isaiah alludes to the fact that one day Christ will come to cleanse the sins of the world. This is a cleansing that is more thorough than the system of sacrifices could accomplish. Isaiah also states in no uncertain terms what the consequences are for those who do fall away. This type of writing is common throughout the book of Isaiah, as his poetic style causes him to jump between the present and future constantly.


  1. How does a book of Old Testament prophesy effect our lives today?
  2. What are some other ways we can regain that fire for God in our hearts that we need?
  3. How would the people of the day react to the prophesy of Christ?


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