Today is the day to remember Isaiah.
Isaiah begins with God calling heaven and earth to bear witness at Israel’s trial. 1:4 “ah, sinful nation…laden with iniquity…have forsaken the Lord…despised the Holy One of Israel…is utterly estranged.” Yet, in 1:18 we read, “Though your sins be like scarlet, they shall be white as snow.”
Chapter Five begins with Isaiah singing about God’s vineyard. He gave it every advantage, but when “he looked for it to yield grapes, it yielded wild grapes.” “What more was there to do for my vineyard?” 5:7 reveals that the vineyard is Israel and Judah. They will be trampled on and laid to waste.
However, Chapter six takes us to the Temple where Isaiah describes his vision of Yahweh accompanied by the six winged seraphim. Isaiah confesses what applies to all of us, “Woe is me! I am lost. I am a man of unclean lips.” Yet, he hears words of absolution, just as we do each week, “Your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”
So it goes throughout the whole of Isaiah, in chapter 7, King Ahaz refuses to ask for a sign. So God gives him a sign, “A virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
Not without reason Isaiah is called, “The fifth gospel.” But if one sets out to study Isaiah in depth and not just the gospel highlights, be aware, you are in it for the long haul. Studying one chapter a day will often fill an hour or more. One chapter a week will fill more than a year.
There is great blessing and enrichment of faith offered in Isaiah. But like anything worthwhile, it takes work.