I spent a quiet weekend with Isaiah. The imagery of his prose is powerful. As I read I realized how proper we have become in our puritanical church vocabulary. English provides us with ample synonyms that we might soften the prophet’s language with acceptable verbiage. If I ever preached with the harshly descriptive words of Isaiah and the other prophets I am sure I would never be asked back again, that is if I was even allowed to finish just one sermon. Depending upon which translation one uses one comes across words that I would not use in this devotional. But the meaning of Isaiah’s message was and still is overwhelming with his sincerity and passion.
Isaiah 53, the suffering servant chapter, is most likely the best known of his writings. But there is plenty more there for the interested reader. Chapter one reeks of his disgust for God’s people’s immorality. There is barely any sin he does not cover in his blanket condemnation. And yet in chapter one there is also one of the most gracious of all verses of Scripture. “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land; . .”
Isaiah is so vastly different from the stories of the Gospels and the theology/philosophy of Paul. The scope of Scripture and its diversity of styles and themes has something for everyone. If today you are hungry for poetry there are the Psalms. If tomorrow you are hungry for intellectual challenge there is Romans.
Written by Roger Bothwell on September 10, 2012
Spring of Life Ministry, PO Box 124, St. Helena, CA 94574