The Book of Isaiah is so full of imagery that you can visualize everything that he and God are talking about. There really isn’t much interpretation needed. He’s another in-your-face prophet. The job of the prophet was not to be a fortune teller or a diviner of the future. No, he was to deliver God’s Word to the people, warning them that if they didn’t stop sinning, God would pronounce and deliver judgment on them. Like we learned a few posts ago, God delivers judgment when we sin, but He provides us with an “out” from the punishment. In our case, His Name is Jesus. Furthermore, Isaiah predicts His unique and special birth. These prophecies come true within 12 years, 730 years and there are some that are still to come. Let’s dig in….
Isaiah 5 – A Song about the Lord’s Vineyard
Now I will sing for the one I love
a song about his vineyard:
My beloved had a vineyard
on a rich and fertile hill.
2 He plowed the land, cleared its stones,
and planted it with the best vines.
In the middle he built a watchtower
and carved a winepress in the nearby rocks.
Then he waited for a harvest of sweet grapes,
but the grapes that grew were bitter.
3 Now, you people of Jerusalem and Judah,
you judge between me and my vineyard.
4 What more could I have done for my vineyard
that I have not already done?
When I expected sweet grapes,
why did my vineyard give me bitter grapes?
5 Now let me tell you
what I will do to my vineyard:
I will tear down its hedges
and let it be destroyed.
I will break down its walls
and let the animals trample it.
6 I will make it a wild place
where the vines are not pruned and the ground is not hoed,
a place overgrown with briers and thorns.
I will command the clouds
to drop no rain on it.
7 The nation of Israel is the vineyard of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
The people of Judah are his pleasant garden.
He expected a crop of justice,
but instead he found oppression.
He expected to find righteousness,
but instead he heard cries of violence.
Judah’s Guilt and Judgment
8 What sorrow for you who buy up house after house and field after field,
until everyone is evicted and you live alone in the land.
9 But I have heard the Lord of Heaven’s Armies
swear a solemn oath:
“Many houses will stand deserted;
even beautiful mansions will be empty.
10 Ten acres of vineyard will not produce even six gallons of wine.
Ten baskets of seed will yield only one basket of grain.”
11 What sorrow for those who get up early in the morning
looking for a drink of alcohol
and spend long evenings drinking wine
to make themselves flaming drunk.
12 They furnish wine and lovely music at their grand parties—
lyre and harp, tambourine and flute—
but they never think about the Lord
or notice what he is doing.
13 So my people will go into exile far away
because they do not know me.
Those who are great and honored will starve,
and the common people will die of thirst.
14 The grave (Sheol) is licking its lips in anticipation,
opening its mouth wide.
The great and the lowly
and all the drunken mob will be swallowed up.
15 Humanity will be destroyed, and people brought down;
even the arrogant will lower their eyes in humiliation.
16 But the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will be exalted by his justice.
The holiness of God will be displayed by his righteousness.
17 In that day lambs will find good pastures,
and fattened sheep and young goats will feed among the ruins.
18 What sorrow for those who drag their sins behind them
with ropes made of lies,
who drag wickedness behind them like a cart!
19 They even mock God and say,
“Hurry up and do something!
We want to see what you can do.
Let the Holy One of Israel carry out his plan,
for we want to know what it is.”
20 What sorrow for those who say
that evil is good and good is evil,
that dark is light and light is dark,
that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter.
21 What sorrow for those who are wise in their own eyes
and think themselves so clever.
22 What sorrow for those who are heroes at drinking wine
and boast about all the alcohol they can hold.
23 They take bribes to let the wicked go free,
and they punish the innocent.
24 Therefore, just as fire licks up stubble
and dry grass shrivels in the flame,
so their roots will rot
and their flowers wither.
For they have rejected the law of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies;
they have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.
25 That is why the Lord’s anger burns against his people,
and why he has raised his fist to crush them.
The mountains tremble,
and the corpses of his people litter the streets like garbage.
But even then the Lord’s anger is not satisfied.
His fist is still poised to strike!
26 He will send a signal to distant nations far awayIsaiah 5 NLT
and whistle to those at the ends of the earth.
They will come racing toward Jerusalem.
27 They will not get tired or stumble.
They will not stop for rest or sleep.
Not a belt will be loose,
not a sandal strap broken.
28 Their arrows will be sharp
and their bows ready for battle.
Sparks will fly from their horses’ hooves,
and the wheels of their chariots will spin like a whirlwind.
29 They will roar like lions,
like the strongest of lions.
Growling, they will pounce on their victims and carry them off,
and no one will be there to rescue them.
30 They will roar over their victims on that day of destruction
like the roaring of the sea.
If someone looks across the land,
only darkness and distress will be seen;
even the light will be darkened by clouds.
The vineyard represents Israel…
- God plants it
- Sin ruins it
- God lifts its protection and
- Brings judgment upon it
God lifts His protection. I believe that is what’s happening with all the natural disasters that are increasing all over the world. Over and over again, God tells us how to live right, and over and over again humans sin and don’t learn. They don’t repent. That’s what happens when sin takes over the world. That’s our current society.
In the second part of this chapter are all the “woes”. This version says, “What sorrow…”. Other versions read “Woe to those…”. Same thing.
Verse 20 describes today’s society perfectly. “What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter.” Think about that for a bit. Seriously, doesn’t that describe today’s world?
Isaiah 6 – Isaiah’s Calling
It was in the year King Uzziah died (c. 740 BC) that I saw the Lord. He was sitting on a lofty throne, and the train of his robe filled the Temple. 2 Attending him were mighty seraphim, each having six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. 3 They were calling out to each other,
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies!
The whole earth is filled with his glory!”
4 Their voices shook the Temple to its foundations, and the entire building was filled with smoke.
5 Then I said, “It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips. Yet I have seen the King, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.”
6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal he had taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. 7 He touched my lips with it and said, “See, this coal has touched your lips. Now your guilt is removed, and your sins are forgiven.”
8 Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?”
I said, “Here I am. Send me.”
9 And he said, “Yes, go, and say to this people,
‘Listen carefully, but do not understand.
Watch closely, but learn nothing.’
10 Harden the hearts of these people.
Plug their ears and shut their eyes.
That way, they will not see with their eyes,
nor hear with their ears,
nor understand with their hearts
and turn to me for healing.”
11 Then I said, “Lord, how long will this go on?”
And he replied,
“Until their towns are empty,Isaiah 6 NLT
their houses are deserted,
and the whole country is a wasteland;
12 until the Lord has sent everyone away,
and the entire land of Israel lies deserted.
13 If even a tenth—a remnant—survive,
it will be invaded again and burned.
But as a terebinth or oak tree leaves a stump when it is cut down,
so Israel’s stump will be a holy seed.”
In front of my chiropractor’s office there was a palo verde tree — a local Arizona tree with a green trunk– hence the name. It was nice because it provided shade. One day, it was gone. I asked about it and they told me it was sick and it got cut down. The other day, I saw several shoots growing out of the stump. Amazing how the tree stump wasn’t totally dead. It still had life in it.
Later on we’ll see:
There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.Isaiah 11:1 ESV
That “branch”, that “shoot” is Jesus! In John 15, Jesus tells us that He is the Vine and we are the branches, ever the fruit to bear. Read it here.
Another thing before we go on to the next chapter is Isaiah’s willingness to serve and his humility in verse 8. “Here I am, send me!” When God calls you into service, will you be as willing as Isaiah? Would you be willing to step outside your comfort zone to do God’s work, no matter what it is? That’s something else to think about.
Isaiah 7 – A Message for King Ahaz
Remember King Ahaz of Judah? We covered him a couple of posts ago. If you need a refresher on his story, click here.
When Ahaz, son of Jotham and grandson of Uzziah, was king of Judah, King Rezin of Syria and Pekah son of Remaliah, the king of Israel, set out to attack Jerusalem. However, they were unable to carry out their plan.
2 The news had come to the royal court of Judah: “Syria is allied with Israel against us!” So the hearts of the king and his people trembled with fear, like trees shaking in a storm.
3 Then the Lord said to Isaiah, “Take your son Shear-jashub and go out to meet King Ahaz. You will find him at the end of the aqueduct that feeds water into the upper pool, near the road leading to the field where cloth is washed.[d] 4 Tell him to stop worrying. Tell him he doesn’t need to fear the fierce anger of those two burned-out embers, King Rezin of Syria and Pekah son of Remaliah. 5 Yes, the kings of Syria and Israel are plotting against him, saying, 6 ‘We will attack Judah and capture it for ourselves. Then we will install the son of Tabeel as Judah’s king.’ 7 But this is what the Sovereign Lord says:
“This invasion will never happen;
it will never take place;
8 for Syria is no stronger than its capital, Damascus,
and Damascus is no stronger than its king, Rezin.
As for Israel, within sixty-five years
it will be crushed and completely destroyed.
9 Israel is no stronger than its capital, Samaria,
and Samaria is no stronger than its king, Pekah son of Remaliah.
Unless your faith is firm,
I cannot make you stand firm.”
The Sign of Immanuel
10 Later, the Lord sent this message to King Ahaz: 11 “Ask the Lord your God for a sign of confirmation, Ahaz. Make it as difficult as you want—as high as heaven or as deep as the place of the dead.”
12 But the king refused. “No,” he said, “I will not test the Lord like that.”
13 Then Isaiah said, “Listen well, you royal family of David! Isn’t it enough to exhaust human patience? Must you exhaust the patience of my God as well? 14 All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’). 15 By the time this child is old enough to choose what is right and reject what is wrong, he will be eating yogurt and honey. 16 For before the child is that old, the lands of the two kings you fear so much will both be deserted.
17 “Then the Lord will bring things on you, your nation, and your family unlike anything since Israel broke away from Judah. He will bring the king of Assyria upon you!”
18 In that day the Lord will whistle for the army of southern Egypt and for the army of Assyria. They will swarm around you like flies and bees. 19 They will come in vast hordes and settle in the fertile areas and also in the desolate valleys, caves, and thorny places. 20 In that day the Lord will hire a “razor” from beyond the Euphrates River—the king of Assyria—and use it to shave off everything: your land, your crops, and your people.
21 In that day a farmer will be fortunate to have a cow and two sheep or goats left. 22 Nevertheless, there will be enough milk for everyone because so few people will be left in the land. They will eat their fill of yogurt and honey. 23 In that day the lush vineyards, now worth 1,000 pieces of silver, will become patches of briers and thorns. 24 The entire land will become a vast expanse of briers and thorns, a hunting ground overrun by wildlife. 25 No one will go to the fertile hillsides where the gardens once grew, for briers and thorns will cover them. Cattle, sheep, and goats will graze there.Isaiah 7 NLT
Israel sinned against God and is doomed to judgment. However, Merciful God that He is, has an out. Unfortunately for the people living back then, the “out”, the savior, was not going to be born for another 730-some years. Verse 7:14 is what Gabriel quotes to Joseph in Matthew 1, announcing Jesus’ birth.
What was so Important about the Virgin Birth?
Why did Jesus have to be born to a virgin? Well, sin passed through the human father from Adam. Had Jesus’ biological father been an earthly man, He couldn’t have been the spotless, sinless, sacrificial lamb, who could take on all of our sins and carry them away forever. He would have died for himself. For Him to die for you and me, He needed to be born sinless.
WE ALL have sinned against God and are doomed to judgment. The question now is, have YOU accepted Jesus as your personal savior?
If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, this is what you have to do…