“Numerous important theological themes in Isaiah’s preaching set his messages apart from those of other prophets. One of the key themes in Isaiah is the call for people to trust God. At first, there was temptation to trust in the nation’s military power and economic strength and then later on to trust in political alliances. From the first chapter, God’s people are pictured as rebellious sons who sinned against God. Isaiah taught that everything proud and exalted will be humbled and brought low and that God alone will be exalted. Pride will lead to divine judgment, so Isaiah exhorted his readers to humble themselves. What God wants are servants who exalt God and follow his instructions. The rationale for serving God involves His sovereignty over the affairs of the world. The people of Israel were blind servants who did not follow God, but God would raise up a true Servant who would establish justice in the earth just like the Messiah and serve as a light and covenant to the nations. This servant would be abused and suffer for the sins of others, bearing their sins in order to bring forgiveness for many others. Later, through God’s transforming grace, Israel and the other nations will join to worship God and function as His faithful servants in God’s glorious kingdom. These themes inform the reader about God’s ways, motivate the trusting soul to exalt God, and warn the sinner to turn from pride. God’s kingdom plans are established, so everyone must choose whom they will serve.” (HCSB)

In regards to chapter 1, “The institutions of Israelite worship were designed so that the people could sense God’s presence in their midst, confess their sins, and renew their covenant relationship. They were to participate in these feasts in a heart-felt celebration of His past acts of grace. But the nation had grown careless; its worship had become shallow, carried out as popular custom—a casual “trampling” on the courts of the Lord. There was a profound disparity between the people’s professed loyalty to the covenant and the “iniquity” and injustice they tolerated in violation of that very covenant’s precepts. Under such conditions, it is hardly surprising that the Lord found their offerings “useless” and was disgusted by their prayer, incense, festivals, and other religious practices. God does not condemn the practices of worship, He, Himself, has instituted, only the false motivation that distorts them. He welcomes worship from those who repent of their sins and come to His house to glorify His name. Isaiah provided God’s list of correctives for the social evil and inequality that rendered Israel’s worship repugnant to him. These admonitions about just relationships do not imply that following them, alone, would bring God’s blessing. The scarlet stain of sin can only be made “white as snow” through divine forgiveness. This happens when people have “willing and obedient” hearts and do not “refuse and rebel” against God.”

In regards to 2:22, “God created humanity in His image, and the psalmist affirmed that God crowned man with glory. Isaiah was not speaking about a person’s intrinsic worth or importance in God’s eyes. The issue here was reliance on other people who might not be realizing the dignity God had conferred on the human race. Isaiah was only reminding people that they should not trust in gold, armies, idols, other proud people, or the structures people erect to give them security. God alone is worthy of trust; relying on human devices is a waste of time.”

In regards to 5:12, 19, “Isaiah identified a person who is blind to spiritual realities as one who cannot “perceive the LORD’s actions” or has refused to “see the work of His hands.” While claiming to welcome the Lord’s redemptive action, they are unable to understand what He is already doing to enact His judgments. They insist on seeing the Lord at work, according to their own idea of what He is supposed to do, before they will believe in Him. Jesus rejected the idea of doing another miracle, or sign, to prove who He was. The people already had the Law and the Prophets. Isaiah understood that, eventually, God would blind the eyes of persistent unbelievers so that they would not be able to see the truth.”

7:9b, “If you do not stand firm in your faith, then you will not stand at all.” This particular verse reinstates another quote that states if you do not stand up for something, you will fall for anything. It is important that Christians start and continue to stand up for the truth that has been revealed through Jesus Christ as the only Truth. If Christians do not stand firm in their faith in Christ, then they will fall to the world’s views that support secular and false principles.

10:15a, “Does an ax exalt itself above the one who chops with it? Does a saw magnify itself above the one who saws with it?” This verse is an example of Isaiah telling the people not to take up selfish pride but to give thanks to God for everything. For it is God that works through us and it is He who provides everything we need on a daily basis. We are His tools whether we like it or not, so we might as well start giving thanks and appreciation for the works He is doing in us and through us.

11:2-3, “The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him—a Spirit of wisdom and understanding, a Spirit counsel and strength, a Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD. His delight will be in the fear of the LORD. He will not judge by what He sees with His eyes, He will not execute justice by what He hears with His ears.” In these verses, Isaiah is describing the Holy Spirit as it will and has ascended on Jesus Christ. It is important to keep in mind that we are in Christ, so what the Spirit gives, we are able to take, especially the gifts described in mentioned verses.

25:9-10, “On that day it will be said, “Look, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He has saved us. This is the LORD; we have waited for Him. Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.” For the LORD’s power will rest on this mountain.” There are quite a few verses such as these throughout the Bible that emphasize the fact that we are to WAIT for God. Making decisions on our own without any guidance from God will cause stress and possibly even tension among other people. If we allow ourselves to wait and follow God’s guidance given to us through His Word and Spirit, then He will provide rest for us.

29:13-14,18: “The Lord said: “Because these people approach Me with their mouths to honor Me with lip-service—yet their hearts are far from Me, and their worship consists of man-made rules learned by rote—therefore I will again confound these people with wonder after wonder.” On that day the deaf will hear the words of a document, and out of a deep darkness the eyes of the blind will see.” Time after time, we tend to lose sight of what is important and go through the motions of the daily rules we have created for ourselves because we believe that is the easy way in life. God never gives up on us, He provides us with wonders and miracles almost everyday so that we may be reminded of what truly matters in life. I find the choice of words Isaiah uses intriguing, “out of a deep darkness the eyes of the blind will see.” One wonder God gives us every morning is the fact that it is always the darkest before the dawn. When we have been in the darkness of life for some time, one emotion we get when we see the light of truth and comfort is that of fear. Isaiah provides an example in 30:10, “They say to the seers, “Do not see,” and to the prophets, “Do not prophesy the truth to us. Tell us flattering things. Prophesy illusions.” We have been in darkness for so long, that we have grown comfortable in it and do not want others to show us the way out, even though life is a lot better in the light.
A good example is found in the commentary for chapter 45, “The claim that God hides Himself is the opinion of the nations before their conversion. The Lord corrected their false understanding: “I have not spoken in secret.” Warped worldviews and false beliefs cause people to misunderstand what is really happening in the events of history; God’s activity is hidden from them and misunderstood until they are exposed to His word of truth.”

35:3-4, 10b: “Strengthen the weak hands, steady the shaking knees! Say to the faint-hearted: “Be strong; do not fear! Here is your God; vengeance is coming. God’s retribution is coming; He will save you.” Joy and gladness will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee.” 40:28-31: “Do you not know? Have you not heard? Yahweh is the everlasting God, the Creator of the whole earth. He never grows faint or weary; there is no limit to His understanding. He gives strength to the weary and strengthens the powerless. Youths may faint and grow weary, and young men stumble and fall, but those who trust in the LORD will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint. 41:1-2, 9-10: “Be silent before Me, islands! And let peoples renew their strength. Let them approach, then let them testify; let us come together for the trial. I brought you from the ends of the earth and called you from its farthest corners. I said to you; You are My servant; I have chosen you and not rejected you. Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God, I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand.”

In regards to chapter 41, “Although God’s choice of one nation to be His special people may seem unfair to other nations, that choice came with the heavy responsibility for the people in that chosen nation to live holy lives and function as God’s servants in this sinful world. It was through the seed of Abram that God would bless the rest of mankind. The people of Israel frequently failed to be God’s servants, for they were not always faithful to His calling to be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation—one that would obey Him and keep His covenant. Israel’s past failures did not nullify God’s love, nor did His judgments for their disobedience nullify God’s plan for His people.” 54:17, “No weapon formed against you will succeed, and you will refute any accusation raised against you in court. This is the heritage of the LORD’s servants, and their righteousness is from Me.” This is the LORD’s declaration.”

In regards to chapter 43, “These promises were metaphors of God’s protection and help as His people passed through times of difficulty. In the same way, God had helped their ancestors pass through the waters of the Red Sea when they were suffering oppression in Egypt. This passage can be taken as a symbolic affirmation that, because of God’s great love for His people, He will do anything to redeem them. While wild animals would not be aware of honoring God, Scripture in several places mentions them in connection with the created order’s testimony to His greatness.”

In chapter 47, Isaiah makes clear that “God has spoken in no uncertain terms against astrology. Astrology, in the form of either worshiping the stars or seeking guidance from them, is condemned as idolatry. Those who trust in the heavenly bodies are misguided. Isaiah declared that astrologers cannot save themselves or their clients. God’s Word also warns that those who engage in such activities will not inherit the kingdom of God. The tendency to look to astrology—interpreting the movements of heavenly bodies—for advice is a rejection of God’s revelation in His Word. Astrology had a long history in Babylon; the Tower of Babel, “with its top in the sky,” may have been planned as an elevated map of the heavens for the purpose of seeking advice from the stars. Isaiah reaffirmed the biblical view, that prophecies and predictions based on astrology are useless.”

In regards to 55:8-9, “The statement that God’s ways and thoughts are different from those of human beings does not mean that people can never expect to understand anything about Him or follow His ways. He reveals what His people need to know to return to Him and to obey Him, and what He has in store for those who love Him. The statement needs to be understood in the light of where Isaiah was carrying this thought: Unlike human ways and thoughts, God’s will produce the results He desires in the restoration of His people. It is through His word that He will accomplish His purpose; it will “return to Me.” God’s word does not coincide with human worldviews, which are all off center. But when His people return God’s word to Him, they are changed people. They have received God’s word and it has done its work within them. It has transformed both heart and mind.” The following is an excellent devotional from Max Lucado which fits in well:

Give us this day our daily bread…
“Your first step into the house of God was not to the kitchen but to the living room, where you were reminded of your adoption. “Our Father who is in heaven.” You then studied the foundation of the house, where you pondered his permanence. “Our Father who is in heaven.” Next you entered the observatory and marveled at his handiwork: “Our Father who is in heaven.” In the chapel, you worshiped his holiness: “Hallowed be thy name.” In the throne room, you touched the lowered scepter and prayed the greatest prayer, “Thy kingdom come.” In the study, you submitted your desires to his and prayed, “Thy will be done.” And all of heaven was silent as you placed your prayer in the furnace, saying, “on earth as it is in heaven.” Proper prayer follows such a path, revealing God to us before revealing our needs to God. (You might reread that one.) The purpose of prayer is not to change God, but to change us, and by the time we reach God’s kitchen, we are changed people. Wasn’t our heart warmed when we called him Father? Weren’t our fears stilled when we contemplated his constancy? Weren’t we amazed as we stared at the heavens?
Seeing his holiness caused us to confess our sin. Inviting his kingdom to come reminded us to stop building our own. Asking God for his will to be done placed our will in second place to his. And realizing that heaven pauses when we pray left us breathless in his presence. By the time we step into the kitchen, we’re renewed people! We’ve been comforted by our father, conformed by his nature, consumed by our creator, convicted by his character, constrained by his power, commissioned by our teacher, and compelled by his attention to our prayers. The prayer’s next three petitions encompass all of the concerns of our life. “This daily bread” addresses the present. “Forgive our sins” addresses the past. “Lead us not into temptation” speaks to the future. (The wonder of God’s wisdom: how he can reduce all our needs to three simple statements.) First he addresses our need for bread. The term means all of a person’s physical needs. Martin Luther defined bread as “Everything necessary for the preservation of this life, including food, a healthy body, house, home, wife and children.” This verse urges us to talk to God about the necessities of life. He may also give us the luxuries of life, but he certainly will grant the necessities. Any fear that God wouldn’t meet our needs was left in the observatory. Would he give the stars their glitter and not give us our food? Of course not. He has committed to care for us. We aren’t wrestling crumbs out of a reluctant hand, but rather confessing the bounty of a generous hand. The essence of the prayer is really an affirmation of the Father’s care. Our provision is his priority.”

In regards to chapter 59, “The Bible encourages people to seek God in prayer, but also explains that some prayers go unheard because of barriers people erect. God does not listen to the prayers of sinful, unrepentant people, because their trust is not truly in Him but in their own empty words.”

65:1-2, 17-19: “I was sought by those who did not ask; I was found by those who did not seek Me. I said: Here I am, here I am, to a nation that was not called by My name. I spread out My hands all day long to a rebellious people who walk in the wrong path, following their own thoughts. For I will create a new heaven and a new earth; the past events will not be remembered or come to mind. Then be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating; for I will create Jerusalem to be a joy, and its people to be a delight. I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in My people. The sound of weeping and crying will no longer be heard in her.”

Chapter 12: “On that day you will say: “I will praise You, LORD, although You were angry with me. Your anger has turned away, and You have had compassion on me. Indeed, God is my salvation. I will trust Him and not be afraid. Because Yah, the LORD, is my strength and my song, He has become my Salvation.” You will joyfully draw water from the springs of salvation, and on that day you will say: “Give thanks to the LORD; proclaim His name! Celebrate His deeds among the peoples. Declare that His name is exalted. Sing to the LORD, for He has done glorious things. Let this be known throughout the earth. Cry out and sing, citizen of Zion, for the Holy One of Israel is among you in His greatness.”

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