Behold – God is My Salvation

 

Thoughts About What We’re Reading…

 

Today we turn to the Book of Isaiah, one of the most loved books of the Bible; it is perhaps the best known of the prophetic books. It has great literary merit and contains beautiful descriptive terminology.

Isaiah spoke more than any other prophet of the great kingdom into which Israel would enter at the Second Advent of the Messiah. He also discussed the depths of Israel’s sin and the heights of God’s glory and His coming kingdom.

Jewish tradition tells us that Isaiah’s father was King Uzziah’s brother. We know that Isaiah frequented the court and was close to a number of kings.  So it is very possible that he was of royal seed.

Jewish tradition also tells us that Isaiah was sawn in half by the wicked King Manasseh. Hebrews 11 talks about those who were sawn asunder for their faith, a reference many believe is directed to Isaiah.

The first 39 chapters of Isaiah focus on the sin, the call to repentance and judgment of the people of Judah and Israel.

At chapter 40, the book of Isaiah takes a turn toward love, grace and the hope of salvation and restoration.

Isaiah’s overall theme receives its clearest statement in chapter 12: “Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid”. (Isaiah 12:2).

The book of Isaiah provides us with the most comprehensive prophetic picture of Jesus Christ in the entire Old Testament.

It includes the full scope of His life: the announcement of His coming (Isaiah 40:3–5), His virgin birth (7:14), His proclamation of the good news (61:1), His sacrificial death (52:13–53:12), and His return to claim His own (60:2–3).

The authors of the New Testament read the book of Isaiah in light of the coming of Christ and realized that this prophet anticipated the Messiah’s coming with remarkable clarity. For this reason they quoted Isaiah more than any other Old Testament book.

In Isaiah we find a lofty view of God. The Lord is seen as the Initiator of events in history. He is called Lord Almighty, Holy One, Redeemer.

He is apart from and greater than His Creation; yet He is involved in the affairs of that Creation.

Indeed, Isaiah centered his theology and his book on God and the work that He was doing and would continue to do in the world.

Luke tells us in Luke 4:10-21 that Jesus opened the scroll containing the book of Isaiah and read one of the Messianic passages in Isaiah and told those in attendance that He was the fulfillment of that prophecy.

His life, death and subsequent resurrection proved indeed He was the Redeemer, the Messiah promised in the writings of Isaiah.

Amen!

Until next time…keep reading!

Jim

Excerpts for this blog were taken from the HCSB, Bible Knowledge Commentary and Courson’s Application Commentary, Old Testament Volume 2.

The Ways of the Lord are Right!

 

Thoughts About What We’re Reading…

 

Today in our reading, we are looking at the book of Hosea – one of the minor prophets.

Hosea’s name means salvation. He has been called by some as the “tender” prophet or prophet of grace.

The major themes of Hosea are the same as many of the prophets – sin, judgment, and salvation with promises of restoration to those who are faithful – the remnant.

In this book we find five cycles of judgment and restoration.  God loves Israel but they have betrayed Him – judgment on sin is coming, but God will eventually bring His people back to Himself.

The uniqueness of this book is how the prophetic message is linked so closely to Hosea’s personal life.

Hosea marries a woman who will betray his trust, and take other lovers.

In addition, Hosea gives his children names that sent messages of judgment to the people of Israel. The return of Hosea’s wife Gomer after seeking other lovers is symbolic of restoration.

We can find the background for the book, the big idea so to speak, in the covenantal agreement and relationship between the Lord and Israel established in Deuteronomy 28.

Israel was to maintain loyalty and relationship with the Lord by worshiping Him alone and obeying His Commandments.

Obedience would bring blessing – disobedience would bring judgment and eventual exile.

Hosea’s role as a prophet was to expose Israel’s breach of the covenant and warn them of the Lord’s impending judgment.

Israel believed that by prostituting herself in worship to Baal she would receive blessing for her crops and other necessities in life – she was guilty of spiritual adultery.

Although other sins are mentioned in the book – social injustice, religious hypocrisy, etc., the nation was primarily summarized as an adulteress.

Judgment would come and exile would be a result.

Israel was so steeped in their sin of prostitution to the other idols and “gods” that any possibility of repentance was precluded for the time being.

Though Hosea’s prophecy contains some calls to repentance, he did not expect a positive response. The Lord’s coming judgment was inescapable.

In implementing the curses, the Lord would cause the nation to experience infertility, military invasion, and exile.

Several times Hosea emphasized the justice of God by indicating that His divine punishment fit the crimes perfectly.

However, the Lord would not abandon Israel totally.

Despite its severity, each judgment was disciplinary and was intended to turn Israel back to God.

Hosea’s own reconciliation with his wayward wife illustrated Israel’s ultimate restoration.

The ultimate purpose of the Lord’s judgment on His people was to restore them (Hosea 2:5–7).

For the time being, though, God would not hear their prayers.

He would go back to His place like a lion returning to its lair (Hosea 5:14) till the nation underwent its punishment.

As we read though this book we are again reminded of the consequence and effects of our sin.

We can be so much like ancient Israel pursuing idols in a vain attempt to build our own kingdoms, chasing greener pastures, yet end up wallowing in the shame and guilt of our actions.

Yet, our loving God, extends His mercy to a sinful people, despite our rebellion and sin, that we might repent and be restored into a rightful relationship with Him – our God, Lord, and Savior.

Until next time…  keep reading!

Jim

Sources and excerpts used for this blog were taken from: The Bible Knowledge Commentary