Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Isaiah 6 & 7 - The Call of Isaiah and Sign of Immanuel

LINK: Isaiah 6 & 7

BACKGROUND


In Isaiah 6, he recalls when God first called him to his ministry. He pronounced many woes upon others, but he first said, "Woe is me" because he knew that he was too sinful to carry on this important work of the Lord. 


We know from our previous reading that Judah was prosperous during Uzziah/Azariah's reign (2 Chronicles 26:1-21), but many hearts were far from the Lord (2 Kings 15:1-4). 


Isaiah's calling came in the year that Uzziah died. Uzziah was one of Judah's greatest kings, but Isaiah had a vision of a more glorious and permanent king who would never leave His throne through death. 


Once Isaiah saw this glorious king, he saw himself in comparison, and he knew that he was an unworthy, sinful man. His confession led to cleansing by the Lord (1 John 1:9) and a commitment to be sent to be a mouthpiece for the Lord to the nation of Judah. Unlike Moses and Jeremiah, he did not dither with God about his shortcomings once he confessed (Exodus 3:11-4:15; Jeremiah 1:4-10). 


Even though Isaiah was ready and willing to be sent, He warned Isaiah that most of the people would not receive his message and they would be taken off to exile. Yet Isaiah went anyway! It is important to note that Isaiah 6:9-10 are quoted SIX times in the New Testament (Matthew 13:13-15; Mark 4:12; Luke 8:10; John 12:40; Acts 28:25-28; Romans 11:8)!


Isaiah's ministry would continue through the reigns of Jotham (750-732 B.C.), Ahaz (732-715 B.C.), and Hezekiah (715-686 B.C.). That is a period of almost 60 years!


Historically, Isaiah's prophecy in chapter 7 occurred in 734 B.C. when Judah was going to be attacked by an alliance of the northern kingdom of Israel and Aram (northeast of Israel). Rezin was Aram's last king and Pekah was Israel's second to last king. King Ahaz and the people of Judah were frightened but Isaiah prophesied that there would be a break up of Israel's alliance with Aram and because of this alliance, Israel would be destroyed, but Judah, though punished, would not be destroyed. 


Isaiah prophesied that Israel (Ephraim) would be shattered; that they would no longer be a people in sixty-five years (669 B.C.), but the Assyrian captivity occurred 12 years later in 722 B.C. During this time, a small portion of Israelites were deported (27,290 according to the annuls of Sargon II/Shalmaneser) and foreigners were brought into Samaria, the capital of Israel.  Sixty-five years later, in 669 B.C., even more foreigners were brought into Samaria by Assyria's King Ashurbanipal (He is called Osnappar in Ezra 4:10.), making the nation of Israel vanish as a people and fulfilling that prophecy. 

Ahaz piously said he did not want a sign that would confirm God's word because that would be "testing" God (Deuteronomy 6:16), but he did not want one because he did not really believe or want to believe Isaiah. He would rather trust in the King of Assyria than the King of all kings! He was testing God by not asking, and the Lord gave Ahaz one anyway.


This sign would be a boy named Immanuel (which means "God with us"). This boy would be:


1) born of a virgin - the Hebrew word is ‘almâh, an unmarried woman of marriageable age. 

2) raised in a time of national turmoil
3) a youth when the two king alliance would be broken

In the historical context of of that moment, within three years (the time for a virgin woman from the house of Ahaz to go through nine months of pregnancy and two or three years for the young boy to know the difference between right and wrong), Tiglath-Pileser III of Assyria destroyed Damascus (732 B.C.), putting Rezin to death (2 Kings 16:7-10). The two king alliance was broken. King Pekah was murdered by Hoshea in 731 B.C. 


The Scarlet Thread of Redemption


Though this prophecy had fulfillment in the historical context of that moment, it had future fulfillment as quoted in Matthew 1:18-25 and Luke 1:31-35 with the birth of Jesus! This is the first of many prophecies about Jesus, the Messiah, in Isaiah. 



From The Bible Knowledge Commentary: Old Testament, p. 1049

REFLECTION/APPLICATION


In April 2012, one of our friends gave a message called, "Unleashing Your Imagination." You can see the video HERE


God had a call on Isaiah's life, just as He has a call on yours.  


Our friend relayed the pattern for God's call in the lives of many people in Scripture: Moses, Gideon, Samuel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Michaiah. 


This pattern is:


1) Confrontation - being confronted by God, not necessarily in the negative way, but He steps in front of you with His destiny for you


2) Commission


3) Objections


4) Assurance of His presence and help


5) Sign


It is one hour long, but it is well worth the investment!  See if you can identify this pattern in the call of Isaiah. 


As you listen be comforted by the words of Isaiah:

You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind (both its inclinations and its character) is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You. So trust in the Lord (commit yourself to Him, lean on Him, hope confidently in Him) forever; for the Lord God is an everlasting Rock (the Rock of Ages). 
(Isaiah 26:3, Amplified)
PRAYER

Listen to the message linked above, and follow the prayer instructions at the end. It will be a wonderful experience of hearing God!!! It could even be a turning point in your walk with Him. Do not miss out on it.
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