Major Prophets – Isaiah 5-6

I will sing for the one I love
    a song about his vineyard:
My loved one had a vineyard
    on a fertile hillside.
He dug it up and cleared it of stones
    and planted it with the choicest vines.
He built a watchtower in it
    and cut out a winepress as well.
Then he looked for a crop of good grapes,
    but it yielded only bad fruit.
“Now you dwellers in Jerusalem and people of Judah,
    judge between me and my vineyard.
What more could have been done for my vineyard
    than I have done for it?
When I looked for good grapes,
    why did it yield only bad?
Now I will tell you
    what I am going to do to my vineyard:
I will take away its hedge,
    and it will be destroyed;
I will break down its wall,
    and it will be trampled.
I will make it a wasteland,
    neither pruned nor cultivated,
    and briers and thorns will grow there.
I will command the clouds
    not to rain on it.”
The vineyard of the Lord Almighty
    is the nation of Israel,
and the people of Judah
    are the vines he delighted in.
And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed;
    for righteousness, but heard cries of distress.
Woe to you who add house to house
    and join field to field
till no space is left
    and you live alone in the land.
The Lord Almighty has declared in my hearing:
“Surely the great houses will become desolate,
    the fine mansions left without occupants.
A ten-acre vineyard will produce only a bath of wine;
    a homer of seed will yield only an ephah of grain.”
Woe to those who rise early in the morning
    to run after their drinks,
who stay up late at night
    till they are inflamed with wine.
They have harps and lyres at their banquets,
    pipes and timbrels and wine,
but they have no regard for the deeds of the Lord,
    no respect for the work of his hands.
Therefore my people will go into exile
    for lack of understanding;
those of high rank will die of hunger
    and the common people will be parched with thirst.
Therefore Death expands its jaws,
    opening wide its mouth;
into it will descend their nobles and masses
    with all their brawlers and revelers.
So people will be brought low
    and everyone humbled,
    the eyes of the arrogant humbled.
But the Lord Almighty will be exalted by his justice,
    and the holy God will be proved holy by his righteous acts.
Then sheep will graze as in their own pasture;
    lambs will feed among the ruins of the rich.
Woe to those who draw sin along with cords of deceit,
    and wickedness as with cart ropes,
to those who say, “Let God hurry;
    let him hasten his work
    so we may see it.
The plan of the Holy One of Israel—
    let it approach, let it come into view,
    so we may know it.”
Woe to those who call evil good
    and good evil,
who put darkness for light
    and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
    and sweet for bitter.
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes
    and clever in their own sight.
Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine
    and champions at mixing drinks,
who acquit the guilty for a bribe,
    but deny justice to the innocent.
Therefore, as tongues of fire lick up straw
    and as dry grass sinks down in the flames,
so their roots will decay
    and their flowers blow away like dust;
for they have rejected the law of the Lord Almighty
    and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel.
Therefore the Lord’s anger burns against his people;
    his hand is raised and he strikes them down.
The mountains shake,
    and the dead bodies are like refuse in the streets.
Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away,
    his hand is still upraised.
He lifts up a banner for the distant nations,
    he whistles for those at the ends of the earth.
Here they come,
    swiftly and speedily!
Not one of them grows tired or stumbles,
    not one slumbers or sleeps;
not a belt is loosened at the waist,
    not a sandal strap is broken.
Their arrows are sharp,
    all their bows are strung;
their horses’ hooves seem like flint,
    their chariot wheels like a whirlwind.
Their roar is like that of the lion,
    they roar like young lions;
they growl as they seize their prey
    and carry it off with no one to rescue.
In that day they will roar over it
    like the roaring of the sea.
And if one looks at the land,
    there is only darkness and distress;
    even the sun will be darkened by clouds.

  • Isaiah 5:1-30

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
    the whole earth is full of his glory.”
At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”
Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
He said, “Go and tell this people:
“‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding;
    be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’
Make the heart of this people calloused;
    make their ears dull
    and close their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
    hear with their ears,
    understand with their hearts,
and turn and be healed.”
Then I said, “For how long, Lord?”
And he answered:
“Until the cities lie ruined
    and without inhabitant,
until the houses are left deserted
    and the fields ruined and ravaged,
until the Lord has sent everyone far away
    and the land is utterly forsaken.
And though a tenth remains in the land,
    it will again be laid waste.
But as the terebinth and oak
    leave stumps when they are cut down,
    so the holy seed will be the stump in the land.”

  • Isaiah 6:1-13

Noted Biblical Scholars, Teachers, and Preachers Comments

Isaiah 5:1-7 ‘the song of the vineyard’: “This is one of the classic passages in Isaiah and shows the prophet’s literary skills at their highest. He carefully weaves the story of the vineyard, slowly drawing in the listener/reader ever more fully until at the end he is trapped with no escape.
“Isaiah the prophet of God now plays the role of a singer for God. The one he loves is Yahweh, and the song he sings is about Yahweh’s vineyard. Yahweh had prepared the ground and planted the best vines. He had every reason to expect a good crop of grapes, but the vineyard yielded only bad ones.
“Next, he speaks for God and asks the audience, the people of Jerusalem and Judah, to act as judge. Considering all that he had done, didn’t he have the right to expect good grapes? The implicit answer is yes. And because the vineyard failed to yield good fruit, he, the owner, will let it be destroyed. It will become a wasteland.
“The trap had been set; now it is sprung. The vineyard is none other than the house of Israel, the people of Judah. They have distorted God’s intention for them. Two wordplays bring the message home with particular force, especially in the Hebrew:
    He looked for justice [mišpāṭ],
    but saw bloodshed [mišpāḥ];
    for righteousness [ṣed̠āqāh],
    but heard cries of distress [ṣe’qāh].
“The similarity in the vowels and consonants (assonance and alliteration) of the Hebrew words would emphasize the dissonance of their lives.”
  • Eugene E. Carpenter, Asbury Bible Commentary

Isaiah 5:1 ‘Christ is our loved one’: “We recognize at once that Jesus is here. Who but he can be meant by ‘my loved one’? Here is a word of possession and a word of affection—he is mine, and my loved one. He is loveliness itself, the most loving and lovable oi beings; and we personally love him with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength. He is ours, our loved one. We can say no less.”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, from sermon notes

Isaiah 5:1 ‘belonging to Jesus’: “The delightful relationship of our Lord to us is accompanied by words that remind us of our relationship to him: ‘my loved one’s vineyard,’ and what vineyard is that but our heart, our nature, our lite? We are his, and we are his for the same reason that any other vineyard belongs to its owner: he made us to be his vineyard. Thorns and briars were by nature all our growth, but he bought us with a price and hedged us about and set us apart for him, and then he planted and cultivated us. All within us that can produce good fruit is because of his creating, his tending, and his preserving, so that it we are vineyards at all, we must be his vineyards. We gladly agree that it will be so. I pray that I may not have a hair on my head that does not belong to Christ, and all believers should pray that their every pulse and breath may be the Lord’s.”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, illustration from sermon notes

Isaiah 5:1 ‘well-beloved’: “The Lord is the friend who is well-beloved by Isaiah. The vineyard belongs to Him (5:7).”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 5:2 ‘good grapes … wild grapes’: “The owner made every conceivable provision for the vine’s productivity and protection, illustrating the Lord’s purely gracious choice of Israel. Justifiably, He expected a good yield from His investment, but the vine’s produce was ‘sour berries,’ inedible and fit only for dumping.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 5:5 ‘burned … trampled down’: “As punishment for her unfruitfulness, Israel became desolate and accessible to any nation wishing to invade her, such as happened in the Babylonian invasion of 586 B.C., and will happen repeatedly until her national repentance at the Second Coming of the Messiah.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 5:8 ‘house to house … field to field’: “God gave the land to the Israelites with the intention that the original allocation remain with each family (Lev. 25:23~25). By Isaiah’s time, land speculators had begun putting together huge estates (Mic. 2:2, 9), and the powerful rich used legal processes to deprive the poor of what was rightfully theirs (Amos 2:6, 7).”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 5:10 ‘one bath … one ephah’: “God judged the greedy rich by reducing the productivity of their land to a small fraction of what it would have been normally. One bath was roughly equivalent to six gallons. About one-half bushel would be produced from about six bushels of planted seed. Such amounts indicate famine conditions.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 5:14 ‘Sheol’: “This term, in this context, pictures death as a great monster with wide-open jaws, ready to receive its victims. Such was to be the fate of those who perish in the captivity that God will send to punish the people’s sinfulness.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 5:19 ‘Let Him make speed.’: “The taunting unbelievers said in effect, “Where is the judgment of which you have spoken, Isaiah? Bring it on. We will believe it when we see it.’ This challenge for God to hasten His judgment represented their disbelief that the Holy One of Israel would judge the people. See Isaiah’s response in the naming of his son: ‘Speed the Spoil, Hasten the Booty’ (8:1; cf. 5:26).”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 5:26-30 ‘The distant invader is God’s instrument’: “God has called a great nation from the ends of the earth, and it is coming swiftly. The powerful description of its approach is a classic one. The nation is Assyria. But the nature of the prophetic word is such that seldom is it exhausted by one historical situation. The vitality of Isaiah’s word would enable a passage such as this one to be seen later in 588/87 b.c. in the context of the Babylonian invasion as well. While the specific historical event was of penultimate importance, of ultimate importance was the reality that Yahweh was the one in whose hands the nations are but instruments to do his bidding.”

  • Eugene E. Carpenter, Asbury Bible Commentary

Isaiah 5:30 ‘darkness’: “God’s wrath against the people was intended to eliminate light (8:22; 42:7), but His promised deliverance of the remnant will ultimately turn that darkness into light at the coming of the Messiah (9:2; 42:16; 58:10; 60:2).”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 6:1-7 ‘The encounter’: “King Uzziah’s death in 736 b.c. brought to an end an era of prosperity and well being and ushered in a time of uncertainty and anxiety. The Assyrian threat was beginning to loom on the horizon. No doubt feeling the weight of these tremulous times, Isaiah made his way to the temple. It was there that he was confronted by God.
“It is difficult to catch the full impact of Isaiah’s vision simply from reading the English text. The Hebrew word often translated ‘train’ of his robe is really ‘hem,’ the bottom portion of a robe or dress. The ‘hem’ of his robe filled the temple!
“A comparison with the mythology of Israel’s neighboring countries brings out the grandeur of v.2. It was common to see images of seraphs with wings outstretched surrounding the deities of other countries to protect them. But here, note that the God whom Isaiah sees is so powerful and awe-inspiring that the seraphs, rather than stretching out their wings to protect him, protect themselves.
“We noted that Isaiah’s vision was of a high, exalted, and powerful God.
V.3 adds another dimension, a dimension that was to play a dominant role in Isaiah’s understanding of God’s character and God’s action: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty.’ It is his holy character that will not allow the offenses of the people of Judah, which were chronicled in the previous chapters, to stand. And not only the offenses of Judah, but of all peoples, past and present, for the whole earth is full of his glory.

  • Eugene E. Carpenter, Asbury Bible Commentary

Isaiah 6:1 ‘awestruck’: “Isaiah was awestruck by this vision of the glory of the Lord. It was a sight such as few eyes have ever seen. Isaiah was never actually in the holy place, for he was no priest and could not stand there. In a vision he saw all this glory, and it was a vision that must have remained in his memory the rest of his life. The holiness and the glory of God struck him at once.”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, from sermon notes

Isaiah 6:1 ‘King Uzziah died.’: “After fifty-two years of reigning, leprosy caused the death of Uzziah in 739 B.C. (cf. 2 Chr. 26:16-23), and Isaiah began his prophetic ministry that year. He received the prophecies of the first five chapters after his call but, at 6:1, he returns to authenticate what he has already written by describing how he was called. I saw. The prophet became unconscious of the outside world and with his inner eye saw what God revealed to him. This experience recalls the experience of John’s prophetic vision in Revelation 4:1-11. high and lifted up. The throne was greatly elevated, emphasizing the Most High God. train. This refers to the hem or fringe of the Lord’s glorious robe that filled the temple. temple. Though Isaiah may have been at the earthly temple, this describes a vision which transcends the earthly. The throne of God is in the heavenly temple (Rev. 4:1-6; 5:1-7; 11:19; 15:5-8).”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 6:2-3 ‘awestruck at the awesome and awful’: “Even in our church services we can see only the shadows of God’s face. For God transcends and rises so high above it all that the very angels in heaven veil their faces. And the living creatures cover their faces and cry, ‘Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts’ (Isaiah 6:2-3).
“How terrible it is that, in the presence of this awesome, awful God, some people are untouched by it all! How frightful, how awesome, how awful it is! We don’t want to hear about God. We want to hear about something that can tickle our fancy, that can satisfy our morbid curiosity or our longing after romance. But the great God is there and we’re going to have to face Him now or face Him then.”

  • A. W. Tozer, The Attributes of God II

Isaiah 6:2 ‘seraphim’: “The seraphim are an order of angelic creatures who bear a similarity to the four living creatures of Revelation 4:6, which in turn resemble the cherubim of Ezekiel 10:1ff. six wings. Two wings covered the faces of the seraphim because they dared not gaze directly at God’s glory. Two covered their feet, acknowledging their lowliness, even though engaged in divine service. With two, they flew in serving the One on the throne. Thus, four wings related to worship, emphasizing the priority of praise.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 6:3 ‘one cried to another’: “The seraphim were speaking to each other in antiphonal praise. Holy, holy, holy. The primary thrust of the threefold repetition of God’s holiness (called the trihagion) is to emphasize God’s separateness from and independence of His fallen creation, though it implies secondarily that God is three persons. See Revelation 4:8, where the four living creatures utter the trihagion. full of His glory. The earth is the worldwide display case for His immeasurable glory, perfections, and attributes as seen in creation (see Rom. 1:20). Fallen man has nevertheless refused to glorify Him as God (Rom. 1:23).”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 6:4 ‘shaken … smoke’: “The shaking and smoke symbolize God’s holiness as it relates to His wrath and judgment (cf. Ex. 19:16-20; Rev. 15:8).”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 6:5 ‘unclean lips’: “If the lips are unclean, so is the heart. This vision of God’s holiness vividly reminded the prophet of his own unworthiness which deserved judgment. Job (Job 42:6) and Peter (Luke 5:8) came to the same realization about themselves when confronted with the presence of the Lord (cf. Ezek. 1:28-2:7; Rev. 1:17).”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 6:5 ‘Woe is me, a sinner’: “There was certainly enough to make him say, ‘Woe is me.’ Isaiah was a sinful preacher, an imperfect preacher, among a sinful and imperfect people, so he felt as if the society in which he moved was the reverse of the society in which God dwells. Pure seraphim cry, ‘Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of Armies,’ but as for us, our talk is unholy—’a people of unclean lips.’ ”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, from sermon notes

Isaiah 6:5 ‘dirty in His sight’: “We come into the presence of God with tainted souls. We come with our own concept of morality, having learned it from books, from the newspaper, and from school. We come to God dirty—our whitest white is dirty, our churches are dirty, and our thoughts are dirty—and do nothing about it!
“If we came to God dirty, but trembling and shocked and awestruck in His presence, if we knelt at His feet and cried with Isaiah, ‘I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips,’ then I could understand. But we skip into His awful presence. We’re dirty, but we have a book called Seven Steps to Salvation that gives us seven verses to get us out of our problems. And each year we have more Christians, more people going to church, more church buildings, more money—and less spirituality and less holiness. We’re forgetting ‘holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.’
“I tell you this: I want God to be what God is: the impeccably holy, unapproachable Holy Thing, the All-Holy One. I want Him to be and remain THE HOLY. I want His heaven to be holy and His throne to be holy. l don’t want Him to change or modify His requirements. Even if it shuts me out, I want something holy left in the universe.”

  • A. W. Tozer, The Attributes of God I

Isaiah 6:6-7 ‘cleansing by fire’: “The glowing coal from off the altar does not represent the holy flame that burns in the prophet’s heart. It represents purgation, cleansing, participation in the sacrifice, and the putting away of sin. With a blister on his lips, Isaiah stood silent before God.”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, from sermon notes

Isaiah 6:8-13 ‘The commission’: “In the wake of his personal cleansing, Isaiah overhears a dialogue between God and his heavenly court (see 40:1-8 and 1Ki 22:19-22 for a similar situation). God needs someone to fulfill a task: Who will it be? Seemingly without hesitation, Isaiah volunteers: ’Here am I. Send me!’
“Then God gives Isaiah the message that he is to deliver to this people. It is an enigmatic message that has proved to be problematic for interpreters for centuries. Even today there is no consensus as to its meaning. On a first reading, it appears to suggest that God has acted capriciously toward his people. Through Isaiah, God’s word will have the effect of blinding the people and making them unable to understand lest they perceive the error of their ways and repent. But this runs contrary to what we otherwise know of the character of God.
“Some commentators have reasoned that this text was written down at the end of Isaiah’s life and is thus a reflection on his call and subsequent ministry. As such, it appears to the prophet that his words had the effect of dulling his people’s sensitivities. As appealing as this idea is, there is nothing in the text to suggest that it is a later reflection. Rather, it all is of one piece, as it were, immediately following upon the call.
“The key is found in the context. Unfortunately, many commentators fragment the text of Isaiah, thus lifting the call of Isaiah out of its context. We have seen from the previous five chapters, and we shall see in ch. 7, that the people of Judah and Jerusalem have indeed heard Isaiah’s words of woe and warning, but they have been unwilling to understand or come to reason. It appears that the more Isaiah preaches, the more resistant the people become, even to the point of mockery (cf. 5:19). They simply would not believe! It has become all too obvious from the context that this people was not going to turn and be healed. Thus, in this context, v.10 carries a biting note of irony, for God surely wanted them to turn and be healed (1:5-6, 18-20), but by now it has become clear that that will not happen.
“The commission is followed by a question of lament: ‘How long?’ The answer: ‘Until the cities lie ruined and without inhabitant, until the houses are left deserted and the fields ruined and ravaged…’ Once again it is consistent with the context. See especially the woes of ch. 5. Yet characteristic of Isaiah’s message and of the God who gave it, there is a note of hope. A holy seed, a remnant, will be left.”

  • Eugene E. Carpenter, Asbury Bible Commentary

Isaiah 6:8 ‘a messenger must get the message through’: “Here we have the divine Trinity in unity. ‘Who should I send?’ There is unity. ‘Who will go for us?’ There is the Trinity. God is seeking a messenger to deliver his message to people. Isaiah did not know the errand; perhaps if he had known it he would not have been so ready to go. Who can tell? But God’s servants are ready for anything, ready for everything, when once the glowing coal has touched their lips. I thank God I was never called to such a work as Isaiah had to undertake.”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, from sermon notes

Isaiah 6:8 ‘Us.’: “This plural pronoun does not explicitly prove the doctrine of the Trinity, but it does strongly imply it (see Gen. 1:26). Here am I! Send me. This response evidenced the humble readiness of complete trust. Though profoundly aware of his sin, Isaiah was available.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 6:9-10 ‘Isaiah’s message – a condemnation’: “This was no ministry of gospel proclamation. It was a ministry of condemnation. The people of Israel had rejected the prophets and their God, and in the fullness of time, they would reject God’s own dear Son. When Isaiah in the vision looked forward to all this, he saw he was not sent to soften but to harden; his word was to be a savor of death to death and not of life to life.”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, from sermon notes

Isaiah 6:9-10 ‘do not understand … do not perceive’: “Isaiah’s message was to be God’s instrument for hiding the truth from an unreceptive people. Centuries later, Jesus’ parables were to do the same (Matt. 13:14, 15; Mark 4:12; Luke 8:10; cf. 29:9, 10; 42:18; 43:8; Deut. 29:4; John 12:40; Acts 28:26, 27; Rom. 11:8).”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 6:11-12 ‘how long?’: “Because of such rejection from his people, the prophet asked how long he should preach this message of divine judgment. God replied that it must continue until the cities are desolate (v. 11) and the people have gone into exile (v. 12).”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 6:13 ‘a tenth … will return’: “Though most will reject God, the tenth, also called ‘stumps’ and ‘holy seed,’ represents the faithful remnant in Israel who will be the nucleus who hear and believe.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 6 ‘Challenges’: “In Isaiah 6 we see a clear portrayal of what happens to a person in the mystery of the Presence. Isaiah, overpowered within his own being, can only confess humbly, ‘I am a man of unclean lips!’ I remind you that Isaiah recognized the ‘strangeness’—something of the mystery of the Person of God. In that Presence, Isaiah found no place for joking or for clever cynicism or for human familiarity. He found a strangeness in God, that is, a presence unknown to the sinful and worldly and self-sufficient human. A person who has sensed what Isaiah sensed will never be able to joke about ‘the Man upstairs’ or the ‘Someone up there who likes me.’ ”

  • A. W. Tozer, Whatever Happened to Worship?

 

My Thoughts

Of course, God’s song of the vineyard is a metaphor of the people of Israel.  He describes the perfect vineyard, everything having been done right, but then the vines produced bad grapes.  Then God cuts down the hedge.  That means that there will be no protection for them.  They will be placed in exile and otherwise trampled.

Then God mentions a famine, but as He dictates the Woes to Isaiah, He mentions how poorly the grapes and the grain harvests will be, a graphic illustration of the famine that had just been mentioned at the end of the song of the vineyard.

The people will taunt Isaiah and in turn God.  They will not believe unless God brings the punishment upon them, but then it is too late.  This is the ultimate in arrogance.

I noted that the opposites of call evil good and good evil are happening today.  All these people that totally ignore God and find nothing of use in the Bible and doing exactly what Isaiah said of the people of Israel and Judah before they were sent into exile.  If we are not approaching the End Times, we are approaching the end of the nations as they are drawn on the map.  This passage applies to many of the nations of the world right now, and can God’s patience hold much longer?

Another thing that jumped out at me is that drinking and gaming are done to excess.  Isaiah says that the champion drinker will be praised.  I avoided parties of that kind, but I heard the revelry and heard about the competitions that kept people drinking.  Again, an eerie scene written by Isaiah many, many years ago, but it could describe our modern times.

Then there is an abrupt change in Isaiah 6.  It seems misplaced.  As did Jeremiah, Isaiah could have started with his commission, but he gave a bit of his prophecy, a summary if you will, and then decided to give the “credentials” that showed him to be a prophet, sent by God.  He reacted as I feel that I would, “Who me?! God I am a sinner who stumbles on smooth carpeted flooring.  Why am I even here right now?”  But then the angel places the coal on his mouth and Isaiah responds, “Here I am. Send me!” I would still be thinking, “Oh! That hurt!” But maybe that is my reaction having been near things that hot and gotten hair singed by being a few feet away. But I really feel God’s healing power at work as he cleansed Isaiah’s mouth and lips.

And what was he to do?  He was to speak to those who could hear but not understand.

What?

Did Isaiah just make the worst bargain ever?  He was to “waste his time” because people would either not understand or they would not really be listening.  Isaiah’s job was to give them the information to refuse, so that when they went before their judgment, they would have no excuse.

Wow!  That sounds like us today.  And I fear that those of us who will answer God’s call to spread this unsavory message will see the same type of fate Isaiah did.

Some Serendipitous Reflections

“Isaiah 5:1-7, the song of the vineyard: 1. If you were listening to Isaiah’s song, what would you expect to be the next stanza after verse 7?
“2. What are some of the ‘fruits’ people use today to evaluate how ‘spiritual’ a person is? How do these compare with what God looks for in a growing church (see Mt 21:33-44; Jn 15:1-3; Gal 5:22-23)?
“3. How would you assess the ‘fruit’ in your life: (a) Just budding? (b) Still premature? (c) Developing on schedule? (d) Ripe for enjoyment? (e) Diseased?”
“Isaiah
5:8-30, Woes and Judgments: 1. Which one of these woes gets you cheering, ‘Hit ‘em again, harder…harder!’? ls there a particular group where you live or work whom you would like to see get their due punishment?
“2. Which of these woes could make you say, ‘Woe is me!”? Why that one?
“3. ‘Trading places’ is a common fantasy many poor people have in their view of the rich. Are there any rich in whose ‘pasture’ you’d love to graze, as do the sheep and lambs in God’s great reversal (v.17)? In your society, what are some compelling examples of ‘evil’ which others call ‘good’ and vice versa (v.20): Pornography? Abortion? Cheating on your spouse? Cheating on taxes? On exams? Getting rich at the expense of the poor?
“4. What lessons from war do you think God wants you to learn?
“5. Does the woeful reality of chapter 5 make you hunger all the more for the hopeful vision of 2:1-4? Why is it some people never appreciate the good news of peace without first hearing the bad news of war?

“Isaiah 6:1-13, Isaiah’s Commission: 1. How is your experience of God like Isaiah’s: Awestruck? Guilt-ridden? Cleansed? Are you willing to serve anywhere, anytime?
“2. God’s holiness and universal reign awed Isaiah. Which of God’s attributes has most impressed you? Why?
“3. John 12:40-41 relates this vision to Jesus. How is Jesus‘ glory like the suffering and healing Isaiah saw?
“4. Why has God sent you to your world?”

  • Lyman Coleman, et al, The NIV Serendipity Bible for Study Groups

There are three sets of questions for these three chapters as stated above.

The second question 1 is in reference to an old cheer that cheerleaders would often use.  “Hit ‘em again, hit ‘em again, harder…harder!”  While some might think that barbaric, the cheer was meant to be “within the rules of the game.”  Okay, for some they might mean something worse, but let’s give them the benefit of the doubt.  These first questions trick us to an extent.  When we think of how we’d like to have someone else punished for something they “got away with doing” we often rest in God’s Mercy when it comes to the things we have done.

Note: These questions cover both literal and allegorical interpretations.  And some of the answers may be tough to say out loud in a small group unless you trust each other completely.

Substitute whatever group for any reference to a small group or ask who could come to your aid.

If you like these Thursday morning Bible studies, but you think you missed a few, you can use this LINK. I have set up a page off the home page for links to these Thursday morning posts. I will continue to modify the page as I add more.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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