Isaiah (23rd Letter, Larry Crabb’s 66 Love Letters)

Prepare to be Slapped, then Hugged

The message you deliver in Isaiah’s first 39 chapters is that you’re holy, and I’m not. You spend the last 27 chapters talking mostly about our wonderful future together and how much You want me to join You in looking forward to it and how someone You simply call ‘Your Servant’ will make it all happen. The interesting thing is that the 66 books of the Bible follow a similar pattern.

God says – Love makes people holy. Only those who know they are unholy, who hate their unholiness more than their pain and emptiness, experience the transforming power of my love. Only holy people live well. Only holy people love.

God says – No matter what is happening to you, your worst problem is in you. And that problem is not how badly you feel, it is how poorly you love. Your failure to love Me above all else and to love others at any cost to yourselves defines your unholiness. When you recognize your unholiness and own it without excuse, your ears will be opened to hear my words of comfort and hope. And those words will set you on the narrow road to relating with holy love. There is no other kind.

God says – Without My judgment, My comfort means nothing. Without comfort, there is no hope. And without hope, faith yields to doubt and cynicism, and love suffocates in the pain of living.

God says – I do not cure your unholiness by overlooking or understanding it. To overlook it would be to miss the spot on the x-ray that will destroy you. To understand it in light of what you’ve suffered would be to excuse it. I do not heal your selfishness by affirming your value. I solve your deepest problem with My self-sacrificing, reconciling embrace that forgives all that is unholy within you.

ISAIAH: The Salvation of the Lord – From Ray Stedman<-(click here for entire Bible summary)

Isaiah is the fullest revelation of Christ in the Old Testament – so much so, that it is often called the Gospel according to Isaiah.

How many books does the Bible have? Sixty-six. How many chapters does Isaiah have? Sixty-six. How many books are there in the Old Testament? Thirty-nine, and therefore twenty-seven in the New Testament. And the book of Isaiah divides exactly in that way. The first half of the book comprises thirty-nine chapters. There is a distinct
division at Chapter 40, so that the remaining twenty-seven chapters constitute the second half of this book.
The New Testament begins with the history of John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, as he came to announce the coming of the Messiah, and it ends in the book of Revelation with the new heaven
and the new earth. Chapter 40 of Isaiah, which begins the second half, contains the prophetic passage that predicts the coming of John the Baptist:

A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the
Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for
our God.” {Isa 40:3 RSV}
And this, John says, was fulfilled by himself when he came. And when you read on to the end of the book you will find that Chapter 66 speaks of the new heavens and the new earth that God is creating. So you find here in the book of Isaiah a remarkably close analogy that parallels the entire Bible.

It is remarkable how up-to-date this book is. The first part of the book presents the threat of the king of Assyria; the last half of the book describes the threat of the kingdom of Babylon; and the middle part of the book, Chapters 37 through 39 are the “filling” in this historical sandwich – an interlude carrying us from Assyria to Babylon. These two nations – Assyria and Babylon – are in the world today and have been since before the time of Isaiah.

The king of Assyria stands for the power and philosophy of godlessness – the idea that there is no God and that we can live as we please; that we are in a deterministic, materialistic universe that runs
on in its clanking, grinding way and there is nothing we can do about it but try to enjoy ourselves and make the most of things. It is the philosophy that might makes right, and that man has no one to an-
swer to but himself. This is the Assyrian philosophy so prominent in our own day, and it is also the philosophy behind Communism.

The second force is the power of Babylon. In Scripture, Babylon is always the symbol of apostasy, of religious error and deceit. Again, this is what we experience today, on all sides. The voices from which we should be able to expect guidance – the voice of the church itself in many places – are often voices crying out against God, by preaching the things that encourage wrongdoing and destruction in human life. So we are living in the very times described in Isaiah.

Someone once asked how to find peace with God and the answer they were given was to turn to Isaiah 53:6. Stoop down low and go in at the first all and stand up straight and come out at the last all.

to be completed

Isaiah – David Jeremiah (Understanding the 66 Books of the Bible)

Key thought: God is both our Majestic Lord and our Suffering Servant, and by waiting on Him we can renew our strength (see Isaiah 6:1; 53:3; 40:31)

Key Verse: For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts then your thoughts. Isaiah 55:9

Key Action: We need a revelation of God’s glory that makes us cry, “Here I am! Send me” (see Isaiah 6:8)