Isaiah 1:1 — We begin the prophet Isaiah! Explore the Great Isaiah Scroll – the most significant of the Dead Sea Scrolls:
Isaiah 1:4 — As a prophet, while he did much fore-telling (God’s message about the future), he did as much forth-telling (God’s message about the present).
Isaiah 1:11 — God doesn’t want sacrifices? Well, if He doesn’t, we just wasted our time reading Leviticus 1-9! Let’s look at what God has said through His prophets:
- 1 Samuel 15:22 – To obey is better than sacrifice
- Proverbs 15:8 – Sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination
- Jeremiah 6:20 – Your burnt offerings are not acceptable
- Micah 6:7 – Instead – do justly, love mercy, walk humbly
- Amos 5:21 – I hate, I despise your feast days
If you didn’t get from the Old Testament that God doesn’t accept empty ritual, check out Luke 18:10-14 to see what Jesus said about empty ritual!
Isaiah 1:16-18 — Three commands:
- Repent (put away the evil)
- Retrain (learn to do well)
- Reason (they shall be as white as snow)
What are we to do once we’re retrained? We must learn to “do well” … but how (vs. 17)?
- Judgment — No cheating, just speaking truth. That’s part of what the Federal Trade Commission does with Truth in Advertising laws and what your state Consumer Protection’s Weights & Measures teams inspect. But Isaiah isn’t saying the state needs to pass more laws (Israel had a pretty good law system that addressed judgment – Leviticus 19:35-36). It is a need for personal morality – God is wearied by their outward signs of conformity (Isaiah 1:14).
- Relieve the oppressed – I am a capitalist because capitalism is the best way of relieving the oppressed. 1 Billion (that’s 1,000 million) people have been taken out of poverty from 1990 to 2013.
- Judge the fatherless – see that he is not wronged.
- Plead for the widow – Barnes’ Notes says, “She is unable to defend herself; she is liable to oppression; and her rights may be taken away by the crafty and designing. It is remarkable that God so often insists on this in the Scriptures, and makes it no small part of religion; Deuteronomy 14:29; Deuteronomy 24:17; Exodus 22:22.”
It’s interesting that sin begins by pride taking advantage of those who are vulnerable, i.e. those whom you can unjustly profit off of, and nobody will notice.
Isaiah 2:4 — This verse is carved on the statue in front of the United Nations. The idealists thought that the nations would not “learn war anymore.” But even though “the United Nations was created to prevent wars,” there have been 150 wars and over 100 Million casualties since its creation. Dispensationalism helps us understand this text; upon a closer examination, we find that this prophecy has yet to be fulfilled!
Isaiah 2:7-8 — Material prosperity and disobedience to Deuteronomy 17:16 leads to idolatry. Good thing nobody worships the work of their own hands today (401k, brokerage accounts, television, social media, etc.) … right?
Isaiah 2:12 — This is the first mention of the Day of the Lord in the Bible.
2 Corinthians 10:5 — How is your thought life? How many days can you go without thinking about the LORD? Take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ!
2 Corinthians 10:18 — To be commended by the LORD is the highest mark of approval. Don’t seek man’s applause, seek the LORD’s commendation!
Psalm 52:5 — The opposite of the LORD’s commendation is the judgment of the LORD! Either you’ll get rewards at the Bema Seat, or you will get eternal damnation at the Great White Throne Judgment. Make your choice now – the result has eternal consequences.
Proverbs 22:26 — More debt advice from Solomon (and we’ve covered surety before), but to borrow a phrase from Shakespeare:
Neither a borrower nor a lender be!
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