Sermons

Summary: IN OUR TEXT TODAY WE WILL HEAR 4 VOICES CALLING NOT ONLY TO ISAIAH BUT TO ALL OF GOD’S PROPHETS THROUGHOUT THE AGES...

"DO YOU HEAR THE VOICES?"

READ TEXT: ISAIAH 40:1-11

INTRODUCTION

TODAY WE BEGIN A STUDY ON ISAIAH CHAPTER’S 40-66; BUT BEFORE WE BEGIN IT’S NECESSARY FOR US TO DO SOME INTRODUCTORY WORK.

ISAIAH; THE MAN

IT WAS DURING THE TIME OF THE DIVIDED PERIOD OF ISRAEL’S HISTORY (WHEN GOD’S PEOPLE WERE DIVIDED INTO 2 KINGDOMS; ISRAEL IN THE NORTH AND JUDAH IN THE SOUTH) THAT ISAIAH (WHOSE NAME MEANS "YAHWEH IS SALVATION") THUNDERED ON THE SCENE PROCLAIMING GOD’S TRUTH AND JUDGMENT TO JUDAH, THE PEOPLE OF THE SOUTH.. A PEOPLE WHO HAD FORGOTTEN AND TURNED THEIR BACKS ON GOD.

ISAIAH’S MINISTRY STANDS IN TIME 1/2 WAY BETWEEN GOD’S 2 GREAT DELIVERERS, MOSES (1400 BC) AND CHRIST (3 BC). ISAIAH BEGAN HIS PROPHETIC CAREER IN 740 BC AND ENDED AT HIS DEATH IN THE YEAR 680 BC. HIS MINISTRY SPANNED THE REIGN OF 4 KINGS IN JUDAH: JOTHAM, AHAZ, HEZEKIAH AND MANASSEH; AND IT SPANNED THE RISE AND FALL OF 3 GREAT EMPIRES EGYPT, ASSYRIA AND BABYLON...

PRIOR TO HIS DIVINE CALL TO THE PROPHETIC OFFICE, ISAIAH WAS A COURT HISTORIOGRAPHER FOR KING UZZIAH AND KING HEZEKIAH OF JUDAH. HE WAS MARRIED AND HAD 2 SONS. ISAIAH WAS A FERVENT PATRIOT. HE WAS A WELL EDUCATED MAN WITH A MASSIVE VOCABULARY... HE WAS A MASTERFUL WRITER AND ORATOR WHO USED SARCASM AND IRONY WITH THE SKILL OF A SURGEON. HIS WORDS REVEAL GREAT EARNESTNESS, BOLDNESS AND SPIRITUALITY. ISAIAH WAS A MAN OF DEEP REVERENCE FOR GOD.

ONE SCHOLAR SAYS THE FOLLOWING OF ISAIAH;

"NEVER PERHAPS HAS THERE BEEN ANOTHER PROPHET LIKE ISAIAH, WHO STOOD WITH HIS HEAD IN THE CLOUDS AND HIS FEET ON SOLID EARTH, WITH HIS HEART IN THINGS OF ETERNITY AND WITH HIS MOUTH AND HAND IN THE THINGS OF TIME, WITH HIS SPIRIT IN THE ETERNAL COUNSEL OF GOD AND HIS BODY IN A VERY DEFINITE MOMENT OF HISTORY."

ISAIAH SERVED GOD FAITHFULLY; AND ACCORDING TO TRADITION -- ISAIAH WAS ONE OF THE FAITHFUL WHO HEBREWS 11:37 TELLS US WAS SAWED IN TWO. (WICKED KING MANASSEH -- HOLLOW LOG).

THEREFORE WHEN YOU READ THE WORDS OF ISAIAH (AND I HOPE YOU WILL DURING OUR STUDY) DON’T SIMPLY TAKE THEM FOR GRANTED; FOR YOU ARE READING THE WORDS OF A DEVOTED MAN OF GOD, A MAN WHO LOVED GOD DEEPLY, SERVED HIM FAITHFULLY, TRUSTED HIM FULLY AND WHO GAVE HIMSELF COMPLETELY TO HIS SERVICE...

NOW LET’S TALK ABOUT ISAIAH THE BOOK.

ISAIAH; THE BOOK

THE BOOK OF ISAIAH CONTAINS 66 CHAPTERS; SOME HAVE REFERRED TO IT AS A MIN BIBLE: THE FIRST 39 CHAPTERS (WHICH WE HAVE ALREADY STUDIED) LIKE THE OT SPEAK MAINLY OF CONDEMNATION -- THE LAST 27 (WHICH WE ARE ABOUT TO STUDY) SPEAK MAINLY OF REDEMPTION..

THE PURPOSE OF THE BOOK OF ISAIAH IS TWOFOLD; FIRST TO TEACH THE TRUTH THAT SALVATION IS BY GRACE AND SECOND TO SHOW THE WORLD THAT THRU JUDAH THE ROYAL LINE OF DAVID, THE MESSIAH WOULD BE REVEALED...

ISAIAH RANKS SECOND ONLY TO THE BOOK OF PSALMS IN THE NUMBER OF VERSES THAT SPEAK DIRECTLY ABOUT THE COMING OF CHRIST (59)

47 CHAPTERS OF ISAIAH ARE QUOTED OR ALLUDED TO BY CHRIST OR THE APOSTLES. AND WITH MORE THAN 400 REFERENCES ISAIAH STANDS SECOND ONLY TO PSALMS AS THE MOST QUOTED BOOK IN THE NT.

JAMES SMITH IN HIS INTRODUCTORY NOTES ON ISAIAH WRITES;

"THE BOOK OF ISAIAH HAS BEEN CALLED THE MOUNT EVEREST OF PROPHETIC LITERATURE. THE INTRINSIC GRANDEUR OF THIS BOOK ATTRACTS THOSE WHO ARE CONNOISSEURS OF GREAT LITERATURE. STUDENTS OF THEOLOGY FIND HERE SUBLIME REVELATIONS OF GOD’S CHARACTER. THE EVANGELICAL EMPHASIS OF THE BOOK HAS MADE IT A FAVORITE OF CHRISTIAN PREACHERS THROUGH THE AGES. THOSE WHO DEFEND BIBLICAL REVELATION FIND IN THESE PROPHECIES ABUNDANT EVIDENCE OF SUPERNATURAL REVELATION. AND SIMPLE BELIEVERS REJOICE IN A TREASURE TROVE OF PASSAGES WHICH ENCOURAGE THEM IN THEIR CHRISTIAN PILGRIMAGE."

ISAIAH; THE SETTING

THE FINAL PIECE OF OUR INTRODUCTORY WORK IS TO SET THE STAGE FOR OUR STUDY. IF YOU REMEMBER FROM OUR STUDY OF CHAPTERS 1-39; AS THAT SECTION CLOSED, WE SAW GOD DELIVERING HEZEKIAH AND JERUSALEM FROM AN ATTACK BY THE ASSYRIAN ARMY - THE CITY WAS SURROUNDED BY HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF ENEMY SOLDIERS, THE PEOPLE AND KING WERE TERRIFIED, AND THEN GOD RESCUED THEM AT THE FINAL HOUR (AS AN ANGEL OF THE LORD SLEW THEIR ENEMY DURING THE NIGHT).

AND THE FINAL WORDS OF THAT SECTION END WITH ISAIAH GIVING A WARNING TO GOD’S PEOPLE IN CHAPTER 39; ANNOUNCING THAT IT WOULD BE THE KING OF BABYLON WHO WOULD COME IN AND DESTROY THE CITY, KILL HER PEOPLE AND TAKE THOUSANDS CAPTIVE....

THAT’S HOW CHAPTER 39 ENDED. BUT WHEN ONE TURNS FROM THE 39TH TO THE 40TH CHAPTER OF ISAIAH IT IS AS THOUGH HE HAS STEPPED OUT OF THE DARKNESS OF CAPTIVITY, GLOOM AND JUDGEMENT AND INTO THE BRIGHT LIGHT OF SALVATION. THE CONTRAST IS REMARKABLE, AND YET IT IS EVIDENT THAT CHAPTERS 1-39 ARE A PREPARATION FOR 40-66.

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