01 January 2010

Bible in a Year: Day One

Today's Bible Reading:

Isaiah 1-6

These chapters of the prophetic book of Isaiah contain Isaiah's visions from God concerning the judgment of His people. The people of Israel have turned their backs to God, participating in vain rituals, idol worship, and all manner of transgressions, while still trying to make sacrifices unto God. He compares them to Sodom and Gomorrah, but in His mercy compels them to become clean and "cease to do evil."

While the first chapter voices God's displeasure at the sins of Judah and His offer of forgiveness, the other chapters focus on prophetic revelations of judgment for the wicked who do not turn from their evil ways. The righteous will be spared. A parallel is drawn between a protected vineyard bearing wild grapes.

Chapter 6 details Isaiah's vision of the Lord on His throne surrounded by six-winged seraphims crying "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts." Finding himself in the presence of God, Isaiah declares himself a "man of unclean lips." One of the seraphims takes a hot coal and purges Isaiah's lips. The Lord gives Isaiah a mission to prophesy a judgment to the people.

What I knew
A few key verses from these chapters, plus the entirety of the sixth chapter, I had heard preached or referred to several times. One of my best friend's favorite verses (and increasingly mine) is found in 1:18
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
which is a very beautiful verse promising forgiveness of sins.

I recognized a couple of places that have been referenced in songs: "beat their swords into plowshares" (2:4); "neither shall they learn war anymore" (ibid); and, of course "Holy, holy, holy" (6:3).

What I learned
There are many levels of prophecy I discovered so far in Isaiah. Based on some cursory research just on the book as a whole, I found out that some of the prophecies have been fulfilled in captivity of Judah by other nations. Other prophecies point to end times.

Doctrinal Significance
The doctrines of holiness, righteousness, and seeking forgiveness are clearly laid out in these chapters of Isaiah. Also found here is God's promise that He will honor righteousness by preserving those who seek His forgiveness. At the same time, the unrepentant and those that give empty sacrifices without any change in their way of living will be judged. This judgment is not reserved for just the people of Israel. There were many things pointing to the judgment of nations that do not honor God and His righteousness.

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