I started today a new personal study that I have wanted to undertake for several years – a comprehensive work through the book of Isaiah. Unfortunately, because I don’t know Hebrew, I can’t make my own translation of the book (like I am of Ephesians). However, I’m excited to read Edward J. Young’s commentary, The Book of Isaiah – one of the best out there. Just the introduction this morning makes me glad that he is helping guide me in this study.
Here is a sample of the introduction and then a thought about why this is important to us today:
The name Isaiah means “The Lord is salvation,” that is, “the Lord is the source of salvation.” … Isaiah exercised his prophetic ministry at a time of unique significance, a time in which it was of utmost importance to realize that salvation could not be obtained by reliance upon man but only from God Himself. For Israel it was the central or pivotal point of history between Moses and Christ. The old world was passing and an entirely new order of things was beginning to make its appearance. Where would Israel stand in that new world? Would she be the true theocracy, the light to lighten the Gentiles, or would she fall into the shadow by turning for help to the nations which were about her?
[Because of the Flood and Tower of Babel] sin could not be concentrated in one place; mankind as a unit could no longer boast itself against God. A new order therefore set in. Mankind was scattered with the result that individual nations and peoples arose. From among them in the time of Moses God chose one people to be a nation for His name. It was to be a nation among nations, but one in which the righteousness of the righteous God would be justly exhibited in the judicial proceedings of the people and in their daily life.
Israel, however, in actual fact, showed herself to be little different from the other nations…
(Young, Vol. 1, pp. 1, 4-5)
Israel was in the perfect position to change the world. Instead, she let the world change her. This reminds me of Ephesians 3:8-10 (my trans.):
To me – the least of all saints – this grace was given, to proclaim to the Gentiles the incomprehensible riches of Christ and to enlighten each one about the secret plan which has been hidden for ages in God, the creator of all things, so that, through the church, the multi-faceted wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and the authorities in the heavens.
Israel didn’t do it, and now we are given the chance – to show the world the real, living, life-changing God! Can we do it? Yes! Will we?