Thursday, October 14, 2010

Instruction and Encouragement from Isaiah

"For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope." Rom. 15:4


Isaiah, a prophet of royal blood, served the southern kingdom of Judah for 60 years at the time that the northern kingdom, Israel, was destroyed by Assyria. The secret of his empowerment is found in Isa. 6:1 where the prophet proclaimed, "I saw the Lord!"

The Old Testament book of Isaiah has been called the "miniature" Bible due to several similarities. The Holy Bible has 66 books whereas Isaiah has 66 chapters. The Old Testament and Isaiah open with God's case against humans because of sin. The New Testament and Isaiah end with the new heaven and the new earth.

Isaiah chapter 53 is considered the "jewel case" of the book where Christ is portrayed as our suffering Redeemer. The book's primary theme is: "He is coming!" The prophet foretold the first and second advent of Christ and later died a martyr at the age of 120 years!


"Thus says the Lord to Cyrus His anointed, whom I have taken by my right hand to subdue the nations…to open doors before him…I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden wealth of secret places…drip down, O heavens, from above, and let the clouds pour down righteousness; let the earth open up and salvation bear fruit and righteousness spring up with it!"  Isaiah 45:1-3,8

Omniscient God, knowing all, predicted the coming, conquering reign of King Cyrus of Persia, 150 years before the event!   By God's empowerment, this king indeed shattered gates of fortified cities, conquered nations, and gathered the spoils of hidden treasures such as gold, silver and precious jewels. The Lord called Cyrus His anointed because the king was appointed by God to carry out His divine mission of deliverence for His people (see 2 Chron. 36:22-23). How interesting that the Hebrew word for "the anointed one" is "mashiach", the same term from which the term "Messiah" was derived. 

In previous chapters, Isaiah prophesied the coming of another king after King Cyrus; one who would also be given treasures of darkness, would victoriously shatter doors of an opposing kingdom, receive the highest title of honor and bear the fruit of salvation.

"The people who walk in darkness will see a great light…for You break the yoke of their burden and…the rod of their oppression...for a child will be born to us, a Son will be given to us; the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace!"  Isaiah 9:2,4,6

In a single verse, Isaiah prophesied the coming of THE Anointed One, Jesus Messiah, and later His return as King of kings and Lord of lords!

Through Christ Jesus, God rescued believers (His treasured possession Deut. 26:18) from the domain of darkness and transferred us to His Kingdom of Light (Col. 1:13). We are called to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked generation, among whom we must appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life (Phil. 2:15-16); to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Jesus (Acts 26:18)!

In the 1700's, a young missionary moved to a remote village in Africa and faithfully served until his death in old age. The villagers etched these piercing words on his tombstone:

"When he came there was no light. When he left there was no darkness."

Our instruction: Children, take My light to those in darkness!


"…thus says the Lord your Creator…who formed you…'Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched…for I am the Lord Your God, the Holy One…your Savior." Isaiah 43:1-3a

In this fallen world in which we live, even children of God walk through dark times of difficulty. Fear not, beloved, there is a King…The Anointed One…the Light of the World…Our Savior who knows our names. He is with us. We are His. He will see us through the darkness and carry us to His marvelous light.


"Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come…Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near…for you will go out with joy and be led forth with peace; the mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, and the trees of the field will clap their hands" Isaiah 55:1,6,12

Be hopeful beloved of God; be joy-filled! The best is yet to come!

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