WE’RE NOT PROPHETS
Isaiah preached in Jerusalem and had access to government leaders of Judah in the 50-60 years of Assyrian invasions leading up to the destruction of Israel. His ministry was to warn people in both countries of the consequences if they did not turn back to God. But, he was specifically warning Judah and its leaders of the consequences of continuing to forget about God. He had access to the highest levels of government and religion. (Billy Graham’s ministry comes to mind as a parallel.) Neither country listened. Israel,N. Kingdom,in 722 BC , was hauled off to N. Turkey by the Assyrians and from there ended up scattered all over E. Europe, Russia etc. Judah held out until 586BC but ended up being destroyed and some sent into capitivity in Iraq. 2nd Chronicles 26-32 gives the history of people and events during Isaiah’s ministry.
Isaiah was a prophet. He had visions which included predictions of people and events 80-150-750 years ahead. And some that aren’t completely clear to us yet. He had direct revelation from God. This is different from our walking in the light of the scriptures today. His messages were spoken in the Temple, then posted on the door for clarification of any questions. It is believed that they were recopied and compiled during the Babylonian Exile.
We’re going to apply his message by picturing snapshots (or streaming video) of ourselves seen within his sermons.
Isaiah 1:15-20; 27
(The Lord speaking to those claiming to be His people–in relationship with Him…)
When you spread out your hands,
I will hide My eyes from you;
Even though you make many prayers,
I will not hear.
Your hands are full of blood.
Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean;
Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes.
Cease to do evil,
Learn to do good;
Rebuke the oppressor;
Defend the fatherless,
Plead for the widow.
Come now, and let us reason together,
says the Lord.
Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Through they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool.
If your are willing and obedient,
You shall eat the good of the land;
But if you refuse and rebel,
You shall be devoured by the sword…
…Zion shall be redeemed with justice,
And her penitents with righteousness..
Does the snapshot show your hands covered with the blood of people you have “killed” by saying, thinking, or doing bad things to and about them. “O you fool!” or body language implying it. Or obstinate anger refusing to compromise or reconcile (See Matthew 5:21-26). Or refusal to admit your sin while, at the same time, going thru the rituals of worship? Does it show you washing yourself and seeking to do what is right or obstinately refusing to bathe, and so being cut to pieces by God’s sword of judgment?
Of course, the snapshot can be cleaned up with a little turning around. The hope is in that last verse where Isaiah hints at a redeemer. Zion (God’s people or Jerusalem) will have a Savior who has done no wrong (Titus 3: 1-7). So work on your snapshot if you see yourself in need of a bath, and trust that in that terrifying day of judgment, you will be covered by the righteousness of Christ Jesus.