It has been said that “prophecy is the mold into which history is poured.” Isaiah, the son of Amoz, whose name means “the Lord is my salvation,” prophesied in and around Jerusalem during the reigns of four kings of Judah: Uzziah (called “Azariah” in 2 Kings), Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, from 739–686 BC. He wrote during the stormy period marking the expansion of the Assyrian empire and the decline of Israel. Isaiah saw God’s will for them down the corridors of time as well as in his own day. He also saw that the kingdom God established through His Messiah would include all people from every nation on earth.
Although the theme of the book is God’s salvation, there occurs a strong presence of divine judgment in the first 39 chapters. As a prophet, Isaiah was a covenant representative of God. As such, he was responsible for knowing what the terms of God’s covenant with His people were, for letting the people know whether or not they were complying with those terms (they usually were not), and for encouraging them in various ways to keep the terms of the covenant (e.g., offering blessings for obedience and threatening curses for disobedience). God’s judgment and salvation are linked together. The presence of divine judgment indicates its necessity for divine salvation to occur. Before there is salvation, God’s people must see the need for it, and that’s exactly what Isaiah preached!
“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and He has become my salvation.” (Isaiah 12:2, ESV)
What are you hoping to learn from studying Isaiah this year?