I recently finished reading Isaiah and I have to say it is one of my favorite books of the Bible.
I often find it disillusioning to think about the politics of our time. Racial tensions, sexual revolutions, and President Trump are some big issues. But the gospel has the power to diffuse and give perspective on these topics.
Isaiah spoke to his audience during a time of great political uncertainty as Israel faced threats from Assyria and Babylon. A similar situation in our case would be if Russia or China threatened to invade the United States and were close to Washington, D.C. In light of such international threats, the people of Israel sought alliances with countries such as Egypt instead of turning to the Lord for help. Isaiah would repeatedly remind them that their greatest problem is not Assyria but the Lord’s wrath in light of the fact that they have broken their responsibilities to the Mosaic covenant and now the Lord wields Assyria and Babylon as His instruments of punishment.
Just as God was in control of the situation in Isaiah’s time, He is also in control of the circumstances of our time. Hezekiah’s prayer, when Assyria was right at the doors of Jerusalem, played a pivotal role in changing world history. That scene ought to encourage us to have a bold prayer life so we too can play a role with God’s almighty help in changing the course of history.
But not only does God work on the national level, but He also cares for us on the individual level. If God is capable of changing things in the ancient international scene, He is also capable of helping us in our present individual everyday lives.
The people of Israel fell into idolatrous sin, and God both warned them of the danger of continuing in that sin and encouraged them to return to Him with promises of blessing in His presence.
I am more aware that I ought to take care in how I worship the Lord.
Like Israel, I could practice a religion that is mixed with elements of a God-rejecting world.
Like Judah, I could practice a religion that is right by the letter, but empty in heart.
Thankfully, the Suffering Servant that Isaiah prophesied has come and became the perfect worshiper that I could never become on my own. He lived a perfect life on my behalf, and died the death that I deserve for not giving God the full glory that He is due, and rose from the dead to enable me and transform me to be conformed into His perfect image.
It is wonderful to know that Jesus Christ is so for me and desires that I make him the supreme treasure of my life. I love having Him as my Rock and my deliverer so that even through the craziness and loneliness of medical school, I can always rely on Him to be my very present help in time of need.