Cover to Cover
Do you ever feel unnoticed? Unimportant? Insignificant? Paul writes in verse 6, “God is not impressed with the positions that men hold and He is not partial and recognizes no external distinctions.” If we are trying to please people or be recognized by people, there is little satisfaction. However, when we aim to please God and serve His purpose, there is a fulfillment and peace of knowing Him that the world doesn’t even come close to reaching. Let’s live this one, short, beautiful life for God, because the true blessings are found in the spirit and lasting rewards are in knowing Him.
Isaiah is the first book in a series of books called the Major Prophets. Old Testament prophets spoke for God under the old covenant, under Jewish Law, before the penalty of sin was removed. They would share warnings to kings and nations about the dangers of sin, but they also revealed God’s heart of mercy, comfort, and peace to those who would surrender to God in faith. God used the prophets to point to a hope for the Messiah and the salvation that would come through grace.
God does not excuse the proud or guilty, but He often expresses His understanding of the sinful condition and His desire to redeem it. In chapter 1, verse 6, God says, “From the sole of the foot even to the head there is no soundness or health in [the nation’s body] – but wounds and bruises and fresh and bleeding stripes, they have not been pressed out and closed up or bound up or softened with oil. [No one has troubled to seek a remedy.]”
When I was in the fourth grade, my grandfather, who was an optometrist, gave me an eye exam. He told me that I was nearsighted and gave me a prescription for glasses. When I put the glasses on, I remember looking out of the window and into the parking lot, amazed at what I could see. As a child I asked myself, “Is this how everyone can see? Is this what I’ve been missing?” If we don’t see our spiritual need, if a sinful life is normal to us, we don’t know what we’re missing.
Faith under the old covenant is the same as faith under the new covenant, an obedient surrender that puts its trust in God. Sin is still self-reliance and pride, and it will always be in opposition to the holiness and goodness God. In chapter 1, Isaiah writes in verses 19 and 20 that if we are willing and obedient, we’ll know the life and blessings of God, but if we rebel, we will reap consequences and punishment of sin. However, God always reveals His desire to forgive and His heart to show mercy, as seen in verse 18, “Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be like wool.”
When God allows consequence to sin, God wants us to see our need for Him. He promises to restore and heal us when we seek Him as our answer. Under the new covenant, we come to God through Jesus. He is our hope and salvation!