We start this week with the reading of the book of Isaiah. This prophets writings will carry us into April. Isaiah is a major prophet, and one that is not without controversy. You may have heard of Deutro-Isaiah, which is basically Isaiah 40-66. Some scholars think that the restoration prophecies of Isaiah are too long after the prophet lived to be attributed to him. Isiah ministered under five kings of Judah, a period of about 110 years. To look more closely at the events Isaiah writes about, read 2 Kings 14:17-20:21. This passage takes in the reigns of the kings mentioned in Isaiah 1:1.
The time frame of Isaiah is before the Assyrians defeat Samaria and the Northern Kingdom fall; with this in mind, Isaiah writes of the “vision of the LORD for Judah.” The time frame of the Kings mentioned put Isaiah preaching long before the 10 tribes of Israel fall. One would think that the judgment messages would to to the Northern Kingdom at this time not the Southern kingdom. We could look at the dynasties of each Northern and Southern kingdoms; specifically 19 kings, and 19 dynasties in the North. But 19 Kings and 1 dynasty in the South, the Davidic Kingdom Dynasty. Remember the promise of God to David that there would not cease to be one of his heirs sitting on his throne. Ultimately, Jesus the “Lion of Judah” will sit eternally on David’s throne. Could it be that with Jeroboam and his successors, that led the apostasy and anarchy of Baalism be already rejected and judgment pending from God? We know that Judah is God’s chosen people [not to say the other 10 tribes were not part of the original plan] where He will bring forth the Savior/Messiah Jesus.
Obviously from the 1st chapter there is a “worship that has gone wrong.” People have turned from God, and gone their own way. While they continued to worship in Jerusalem, they added worship “on the high places” also. The sin of idolatry has saturated the holy Zion. Even though indictment after indictment is given in chapter one, we still observe the “hope of restoration” in verses 18-19. Of course this is not without warning, if they refuse to return and repent in verse 20. The worship in Judah had become so infiltrated with pagan rituals of new moons, and festivals. The problem was even though the nation Judah continued worshiping at the Temple; God was repulsed by their actions. Judah was acting like as long as they kept God happy in the Temple sacrifices, they could do whatever else their hearts desired. Now things are not as bad as things will get, but they are bad enough. During the reigns of Manasseh and Amon, the sons of Hezekiah, Judah will hit an all-time low in morality; capped by the sacrifices to the fire god Molech.
Indictment after indictment, Isaiah brings against Judah. The description of Jerusalem in 1:21-23, speaks of the polluted, mixed religion of the day. In a constant barrage of evil adjectives, Isaiah identifies both the depth and extent of the “failed worship.” This should cause us today to think of what we have made worship in our churches to be. Do we think we can just “do something” and expect it to be acceptable to Jehovah God? 1:24-26; hints at the cleansing that Yahweh will accomplish in His judgment. It is a sad testimony of God’s people to realize that they have the One and Only True God; yet they were never satisfied, seeking after more sensual gods to their liking. We [mankind,churches] are guilty today of desiring not God, but our own form of worship, a worship that feeds our more basic instincts and animistic desires. [Michael W. Smith – Coming back to the Heart of worship, its all about You Jesus]
We find quickly that God is not pleased with His people. He is sovereign, He is in control and He will rule without equal. God is going to judgment Judah and Jerusalem in the future. Even though there was ample warning, Judah didn’t listen. While God is long-suffering and merciful, people take it for granted that they “got away with sin.” Not so, Yahweh see all.