Read the Bible in a Year
This week, read: Isaiah 1-39
At Least Know This
Isaiah prophesied to a people who had essentially forgotten God (1:2-3). He spoke harsh words of judgment on a corrupt people, but also beautiful words of love and acceptance to all people—including non-Jews.
Author and Date
Isaiah 1-39 was written around 740 BC. Sometimes, chapters 1-39 are called First Isaiah, since chapters 40-66 were written about 200 years later, by someone else.
Isaiah 1-39 was written during a tumultuous time, called the Syro-Ephramitic War. Judah was being attacked on all sides from multiple nations. King Ahaz (not a good king) asked the Assyrians for help. The Assyrians said “yes” and then rolled over all Judah’s enemies. However, the Assyrians didn’t stop there, and they rolled over Judah, too.
Chapter 1:10-23. Isaiah tried to get the people to change their ways.
Chapter 2:1-5. Isaiah prophesies about the Messianic Age (compare the similar Micah 4:1-3).
Chapter 3:16-4:6. Harsh words of judgment, followed by the mercy and forgiveness present when the Messiah comes (4:2 uses the phrase “in that day,” a tell-tale sign that the prophet is talking about the coming Messiah).
Chapter 9:6-7 and 11:1-10. Isaiah’s beautiful words of the coming king and Messiah.
Chapter 14:1 talks about how God will rescue not just Jews, but the Gentiles as well (Isaiah uses the term “aliens.” For the rest of Isaiah, look for the constant concern about foreigners. The kingdom of God is available for everyone, not just the Jews. This was a hard pill to swallow for the people who thought that being “chosen” was for them and no one else. Check out 19:23-25. Blest be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my heritage. I’m sure the priests and religious leaders thought Isaiah had lost his mind.
One of Isaiah’s points in his judgements is written in 31:1. [Woe to] those who go down to Egypt for help and who rely on horses, who trust in chariots because they are many and in horsemen because they are very strong, but do no look to the Holy One of Israel or consult the Lord!The prophets constantly called the people to renew their faith in God—rather than all the other things they trusted in. We have to do that today too—to renew our trust in God every day, to see the loving, re-creating presence of God in all things.
Isaiah 35:5-10 talks about when the Messiah comes, the blind will see, the deaf will hear, and the lame will leap. Why did Jesus heal all those people in the Gospels? He was trying to remind people what Isaiah said—that when these things happen, it means that the Messiah has come. Jesus acts out Isaiah’s vision of the Messianic Age. And we live in the Messianic age right now! It’s a time when all people need to hear the love of God—and to use Isaiah’s words—it’s a time when gladness and joy can overtake all of us.
If you run across a passage that you have questions about, feel free to post questions (or insights that you have received from the Bible reading), then please click here, and then click on the most recent reading guide. You can also feel free to email the question to me.
Our next face-to-face meeting is on May 9, 2019 at 6:30-7:45.