Week 7 – Isaiah
The job of being a prophet was a lonely one. Usually, God used prophets to call his people to repentance, warning them that their faithlessness towards God was leading them to ruin. As you can imagine, this was a really unpopular message, which made prophets pretty unpopular too.
This is especially true for Isaiah, considering he was a prophet in a period of Israel’s history when God was about to send his people into exile because of their faithlessness and corruption. Again, not a popular thing to tell people. However, alongside this Isaiah preached about a coming hope, a future kingdom in which God would right all of the wrongs that were happening in Israel. Unfortunately, after you say something like, “Repent of your corruption!” people usually don’t hear anything else you say, and Isaiah’s message of hope fell on deaf ears.
This week, as we look at Isaiah’s vision of God in the temple, we learn a little bit about Isaiah’s inner life. As he envisions standing before God, who’s glory fills the temple, Isaiah was aghast at his own corruption. He even identifies himself with all the people he’s been prophesying against by saying, “I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.” Isaiah was aware of his own sin before God, and thought he would receive God’s judgment right on the spot.
But we learn a little bit about God in this passage as well. We learn about his majesty and glory, which is very plain in the text. We also learn a key point, with echoes in the Old Testament reaching all the way back to the Garden: God is the one who atones for our sin. The mere fact that God declared Isaiah’s sin atoned for is amazing; this can only be attributed to God’s merciful kindness. This also looks ahead to the final atonement, the crucifixion of Jesus, which broke the power if sin that was gripping Israel at the time. Plus, Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection all declared to the coming Kingdom of God, the fulfillment of Isaiah’s message of hope.
The Bible Project: Isaiah 1-39
Check out this video to learn more about Isaiah’s vision of the temple (0:00-3:42). There’s a lot more to the video, since there’s so much in the book of Isaiah to cover, but that first section is still helpful.
Questions for Discussion
• Let’s look at Isaiah 6:1-9
• What stood out to you from the passage?
• How does this passage describe God?
• How did Isaiah react to being in God’s presence? What could we learn from this?
• What do you think this passage has to say about how you relate to God?
• How could this passage inform the way we talk about God with others?