Studying the Book of Isaiah - Some of the Precious Lessons that I have Learned
Isaiah is one of the the books in the Bible that I have never been really drawn to read. It contains a lot of facts, stories, prophecies and promises that I could never really understand; books like James, Proverbs are easier to read, understand and apply to my life.
One of the best things about 2011 was getting the chance to study the book of Isaiah in greater depth, and it was a true privilege and blessing to learn more about the character and heart of God while reading the book of Isaiah.
If you are studying the book of Isaiah, there are many historical portions, and prophecies that are not always easy to decipher. However, it is always helpful to know that while reading the book of Isaiah, we should focus on the principles behind these prophecies - which is where we learn more about who God is.
Sin and God’s Holiness
One of the themes that run through the book of Isaiah is God’s holiness and His righteousness. The first half of Isaiah is full of God’s condemnation of sin. We see how the people’s sin and rebellion and disobedience angered God, and God had to punish their sin. In fact while studying this part of Isaiah, I was struck by how much God hated sin, and it really motivated me to desire to to lead a life that would be pleasing to God, lest I face His wrath.
God’s Grace and Love
Another big theme is God’s grace. Whenever we read about God’s wrath and punishment of sin, we always read about God’s grace. Indeed, grace is unmerited favor, which is showing someone favor although he does not deserve it. When I read Isaiah, it was so evident that God had to punish sin, but he was also full of grace for His people, and would tell them to turn back to worship Him and be His people once again.
In fact, in the latter part of Isaiah, God’ grace and love is most evident when He sent His beloved Son, Jesus Christ to redeem His people from their sin. A large portion of Isaiah (the later chapters) actually contains prophecies about Jesus coming to earth to save mankind from the penalty of death. This is a demonstration of God’s love for His people who do not deserve such love.
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One of the comforting themes of this book of Isaiah was God’ sovereignty. I really loved how each action, big and small was within God’s control. Today when I look at the events of the world and wonder why such terrible things are happening, I am reminded in Isaiah that all these things that are happening are within the knowledge of God. Also, all these things must happen, such that God’s word will be fulfilled. Furthermore, these things will all happen, and God’s glory will still be shown to all in the end.
Isaiah is full of how God raised the nations to discipline Israel, and full of tiny details about the warfare that takes place. I find it so comforting that such a great God would care about the tiny details in our lives - not just in the past, but in the present and in the future to come.
One of the really cool parts of Isaiah was reading about God’s promise to us. This is the promise that God gave to the Israelites than - about a promised Messiah. Also, Isaiah paints a glories picture about the end times. It really makes me look forward to what will happen in the future when Jesus comes again to rule the earth. Also, it gives me comfort that God is in control and has a special plan for all those that He loves.
Isaiah is really one special book that I have had the privilege to study. It has given me a better understanding of history, the present and even the future. If you have never read Isaiah before, I encourage you too - the first half might feel a little depressing with all the death and conflict, but if you read carefully, the message of God’s grace and love shines through even brighter. The second half of Isaiah is just absolutely glorious, and there is just so much to look forward to in the future.
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