Summary: This message is good news for every sinner and every backslider who finds themselves bound in sin and crippled by habits. The text shows the undying love of God and his willingness to help us in whatever position we find ourselves.
A Prescription For Recovery (A Call To Recovery)
Introduction: The book of Isaiah is one of the most fascinating of all the Old Testament Books of Prophecy. It has 66 chapters that actually reflect the 66 books of the Bible. Thirty-nine chapters have to do with the history and judgment to Judah, Jerusalem and the surrounding nations. Twenty-seven chapters deal with the promised Messiah and His coming kingdom. The Prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz, whose name meant strong; robust. Some say Isaiah’s father was also a prophet. Isaiah was a contemporary to the Prophet Amoz. The Prophet Amoz was a vine dresser and Isaiah was a well-trained and well-to-do statesman. Isaiah means which "Salvation of the Lord." He was a prophet of royal heritage according to Jewish tradition. Not only was Isaiah related to King Uzziah, according to Jewish tradition, he had easy access to the kings of Judah and Jerusalem. Isaiah was designated a seer of Judah and Jerusalem. Isaiah’s prophecies are filled with instructions, reproofs, and threatening for God's disobedient people. The last twenty-seven chapters deal with the promises of comfort and restoration.
Isaiah prophesied during the reign of four kings of Israel: Uzziah, Jothan, Ahaz and Hezekiah. From the death of Uzziah to the reign of Hezekiah was 47 years. Isaiah's ministry lasted more than 60 years. Though Isaiah was of royal heritage, with a good reputation, few people were willing to hear his message. He was forced to call heaven and earth to witness God's complaint against his covenant people. The nation of Judah is described as being in poor spiritual health with only one hope of recovery.
The literary style used by Isaiah is like the legal proceedings of a courtroom in which Isaiah assumes the role of God's prosecuting attorney. The heavens and the earth are called to hear the case of God verses Judah and Jerusalem. Isaiah begins by stating clearly that God was completely innocent of any provocation. Rebellion is understandable when people have endued great suffering and abuse. Isaiah addresses Israel because she has received the best care and treat, without provocation, she rebelled against God. The Indictment against Israel included several charges: (A) Rebellion Isa. 1:2 (B) Ingratitude, Selfishness or Thoughtlessness Isa 1:3 (C) Universal Corruption and Open Wickedness Isa 1:4 (D) National Backsliding, Isa 1:4. The Prognosis of recovery was not good. “The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.” Every previous remedy had failed to produce any positive result. A sad situation came about because of the judgments of God. Israel’s sin and disobedience had almost brought the nation to utter ruin. This is not a picture of a people affected by some devastating disease. It is a portrait of a rebellious people being flogged into bad health. Isaiah 1:5-9
There is always good news in the midst trouble and trials. The prophet reminds the nation that things could have been worse, but God chose to preserve a faithful remnant. Isa 1:9 “Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.”
If there is any hope of recovery, the patient must come in for a thorough examination. The word of God will examine us. Heb 4:12 “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.”
The examination revealed that both the rulers and the people had lost their way. They had forgotten the purpose of worship, ritual and sacrifices. The Sin offering was a blood sacrifice offered to atone for committed sins against God. The Guilt offering was to atone for sins committed against other, making restitution wherever possible; The burnt offering represented complete dedication and surrender to God, the blood was sprinkled on the altar and the remainder consumed by fire on the altar; The grain offering was offered in thanksgiving to God by burning only a portion on the altar, while the rest was eaten by the priest; The peace offering was a celebration of fellowship, only portion were burned on the altar, while the rest was consumed by the people in fellowship with God and each other. True worship had been replaced by empty religious rituals. They had a form of religion but no power or presence of God. The shows and shadows of religion that they practiced among themselves were filled with defects because they lacked a heart commitment. God calls their oblations vain; their incense an abomination; their Sabbaths and solemn assemblies were filled with iniquity and their prayers were unanswered. The God who said “that men should always pray” and ”that praise is comely” Now says, Isa 1:13 “Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting.” What is the prescription for recovery?