Evaluation (no. 5) of HANDBOOK on the PROPHETS by Robert B. Chisholm Jr.
Isaiah (part I)
Captivating and reassuring all in one is the book and the story of the prophet Isaiah. As noted on page 14 Isaiah’s rhetorical approach can be compared to an aging grandfather who writes a letter to his granddaughter and seals it. Instructions encircle and fill the contents with powerful words to live by; just as Isaiah’s message was in his day and in times after he spoke his last words. Isaiah does his best to relay God’s word to all of humanity; delivering a message of hope and encouragement to those He loves. The author moves through examples of God’s devastating judgment of ancient cities to His purifying judgment that changes the hearts of leaders. Just as Isaiah beseeches his countrymen to walk in the light of the Lord in 5:2 this request is a basic time-traveler for all of mankind. Then on page 19 the author expressively writes “it is inevitable that all nations would someday recognize the sovereign authority of Israel’s God, it made sense that his people submit to that authority in the here and now”.
Isaiah speaks persuasively through each chapter and this author embodies the power of those words in his writing. “If even the most powerful men were doomed, it made no sense to trust in them. Judah should not place its faith in its leadership or in foreign rulers, for all people are mortal, as the coming judgment would make crystal clear.” These instructions alone would benefit the followers of today’s leadership. Isaiah was a leader in a time of many followers. Moreover, when the author speaks of the coming chaos it is as if a time capsule has been found; if opened his words could truly be imagined in the present tense. Chisholm himself would probably write “in a leadership void incompetent youths will seek to fill the vacancy. Conflict will sweep through the land, neighbors will fight with each other, youths will rebel against their elders and society’s riffraff will challenge respected citizens. People will desperately beg men to lead them, but potential leaders will refuse to take up such a fool’s errand.” Silently the truth settles in -the sin of the nation’s leadership is the root problem that prompts divine judgment.