Whoa, Isaiah. Attempting to grapple with 5 chapters in 45 minutes on the train is only ever going to scratch the surface.
“I am the Lord, and there is no other. I did not speak in secret, in a land of darkness; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, ‘Seek me in vain.’ I the Lord speak the truth; I declare what is right.” (45:18d-19) [ESV] To me this says that the Lord will honour those who earnestly seek him. It is remarkably similar to those other well known verses about ‘asking, seeking and knocking’, and Psalm 27:8 “You have said, ‘Seek my face.'” God has made himself known. He has left clues for those who are looking for him. He wants us to look for him.
Chapter 46 is God testifying about himself, his character, and his will. “I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save.” (v.4b) [ESV] The NIV puts it like this: “I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” He is our creator, the source of our life and everything we need, including salvation. I really like v.8-11; they are such strong statements of intent. “Remember this, fix it in your mind, take it to heart, you rebels. Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please. From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do.” [NIV] I can almost hear him saying, “Don’t mess with me.”
In contrast, Chapter 47 testifies to our foolishness and arrogance, and the fact that our ‘wisdom’ and ‘knowledge’ lead us astray. (v.10b) I wasn’t sure, but Chapter 48 seemed like Isaiah speaking prophetically. He and God seem to take turns speaking. Need to check this. It ends with a well known proverb: “There is no peace [rest] for the wicked.” (v22) Chapter 49 alludes to God’s greater plan of salvation for everyone, not only Israel. “I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth. (v.6b) [ESV] Chapter 50 is condemnation of Israel’s lack of trust – they didn’t believe he would deliver them. “When I came, why was there no one? When I called, why was there no one to answer? Was my arm too short to ransom you? Do I lack the strength to rescue you?” (v. 2) God goes on to illustrate the extent of his might and power. Isaiah, on the other hand, is obedient and trusting. And it is because of this that he can handle the ridicule and scorn dished out to him. (v.5-9) His eyes are set on higher things. [07-03-2008]