Wednesday Bible study
March 15, 2017
Introduction to Isaiah
Good morning. Let us open with prayer:
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen .
I thank to you, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that you have graciously kept us this night from all harm and danger; and jpray that you would keep us this day also from every sin and evil, that all our doings and life may please You. For into Your hands I commend each of us, our bodies and souls and all that we have, into Your care. Give us Your holy angels that the evil foe may have no power over us. Amen.
For the last few months, we have been spending a week or two on each book of the Bible in the Old Testament beginning with Genesis. I have likened it to cruising in a passenger airplane at 40,000 feet and a clear day. From that high altitude we have been able to see the landscape below us with a broad view for the purpose of seeing how good and kind the Holy Trinity is to us.
Our flight began at about 4,000 B.C. Before that time, nothing existed except the eternal Holy God. It was then that He spoke the heavens and the earth into existence as is confirmed in the Gospel according to St. John chapter 1. We discussed a little bit about the ongoing debates between sciece and religion. Is 4,000bc is 11.1 billion bc a better starting point if we are going to make a timeline. For this Bible study, we are taking a high view of Holy Scripture. Therefore, one day is 24 hours and, even though I'm a chemist also, I will not go into the half-life of lead and other arguments that would try to make us adopt a low view of Holy Scripture.
Our flight continued with a worldwide flood. Then the Exodus of the Israelites out of Egypt and into the area of what is now still called the holy land. And we have continued until today, we have arrived at the book of Isaiah.
Beginning today, we are going to land the plane and spend extra time in the book of Isaiah. How long I don't know. It is a book I have longed to dwell on and study more deeply. You have expressed a desire to look more closely at God's Word. So we are landing. If you get tired of this particular study, let me know. I will do the same. At that point we can take off again and continue to walk through the remaining books of the Holy Scriptures, or something similar.
The prophetic career spanned from approximately 742 to 701bc, depending on where you get your information but these are common, traditional dates.
The name of Isaiah means about the same as Hosea, Joshua and Jesus. Isaiah means Yahweh (Lord) is salvation.
Isaiah is a complicated book to outline. It is more like a collection of sermons given at different times over the period of some forty years. But, saying that, it does have a unity to it and the whole books proclaims the Messiah who is to come – Jesus.
The book has 66 chapters. A common two part division consists of the first 39 chapters and the second division being chapters 40 to 66.
A simple outline of part 1 (chapters 1-39) might be this:
Judgment of Judah and Jerusalem (1-12 & 28-33)
Judgment of Foriegn Nations (13-23 & 34-35)
Salvation for All Who Repent (24-27 & 36-39)
The common word for sin is already used in Isaiah 1:2. The word is rebellion. Someone in authority (God) says something or asks someone to do something and the people under authority (Israel) so no or even fight against that authority.
What we will see up close by studying the Word of God according to the prophet Isaiah is that this God loves Israel (and you) even in the midst of your rebellion. He uses His authority gently so see the error of our ways while at the same time acknowledging that His Law is good as well as His Gospel is good. Some will be damned. Some will be saved. But a remnant will remain until the resurrection of the dead.
Next week, I will focus on Isaiah chapter 6. So if you want to read ahead during you daily devotions for this study of Isaiah, I suggest that you read chapter 6 but encourage you to read the five preceeding chapters as well.
Let me close with the collect and a verse from the sermon hymn we sang this last Sunday for the Second Sunday in Lent.
Let us pray:
O God, You see that of ourselves we have no strength. By Your mighty power defend us from all adversities that may happen to the body and from all evil thoughts that may assault and hurt the soul;
and also (LSB 615:1-2&4-5);
When in the hour of deepest need, we know not where to look for aid;
when days and nights of anxious thought, no help or counsel yet have brought,
Then is our comfort this alone, that we meet before Your throne;
to You, O faithful, God we cry for rescue in our misery.
Of from our sins Lord turn Your face; absolve us through Your boundless grace.
Be with us in our anguish still; free us at last from every ill.
So we will all our hearts each day, to You our glad thanksgiving pay;
Then walk obedient to Your Word, and now and ever praise you Lord.
through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.