Jehovah’s Word Is Alive
Highlights From the Book of Isaiah
1 “WHOM shall I send, and who will go for us?” To this invitation from Jehovah God, Isaiah the son of Amoz replies: “Here I am! Send me.” (Isaiah 1:1; 6:8) At that, he receives an assignment as a prophet. Isaiah’s prophetic activities are recorded in the Bible book bearing his name.
2 Written by the prophet himself, the book of Isaiah covers a period of 46 years, from about 778 B.C.E. to sometime after 732 B.C.E. While the book contains pronouncements against Judah, Israel, and surrounding nations, its basic theme is not judgment. Rather, it is ‘the salvation by Jehovah God.’ (Isaiah 25:9) The very name Isaiah, in fact, means “Salvation of Jehovah.” This article will discuss highlights from Isaiah 1:1–35:10.
“A MERE REMNANT WILL RETURN”
3 Whether the prophetic message recorded in the first five chapters of the book of Isaiah is delivered before Isaiah’s appointment as a prophet or after, the Bible does not say. (Isaiah 6:6-9) What is clear, though, is that Judah and Jerusalem are spiritually sick “from the sole of the foot even to the head.” (Isaiah 1:6) Idolatry is rampant. Leaders are corrupt. Women have become haughty. People do not serve the true God acceptably. Isaiah is commissioned to go and speak “again and again” to those who neither understand nor want any knowledge.
4 Judah is threatened with invasion by the combined forces of Israel and Syria. Using Isaiah and his children “as signs and as miracles,” Jehovah assures Judah that the Syro-Israelite alliance will not succeed. (Isaiah 8:18) Unending peace, though, will come only through the rule of the “Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6, 7) Jehovah shall also call to account Assyria, the nation that he uses as “the rod for [his] anger.” Judah will eventually go into captivity, but “a mere remnant will return.” (Isaiah 10:5, 21, 22) True justice is to become a reality under the rule of a figurative “twig out of the stump of Jesse.”
Scriptural Questions Answered:
5 1:8, 9
9 7:3, 4
11 11:1, 10
Lessons for Us:
12 1:3. To refuse to live by what our Creator requires of us is to know less than a bull or an ass. On the other hand, building appreciation for all that Jehovah has done for us will deter us from behaving without understanding and leaving him.
13 1:11-13. Hypocritical religious ceremonies and formalistic prayers are wearisome to Jehovah. Our actions and prayers should stem from a right heart motive.
14 1:25-27; 2:2; 4:2, 3. Slavery and the desolation of Judah were to end with the return of the repentant remnant to Jerusalem and the restoration of true worship. Jehovah is merciful to repentant wrongdoers.
15 2:2-4. Our having a zealous share in the Kingdom-preaching and disciple-making work helps individuals from many nations to learn the ways of peace and to pursue peace with one another.
16 4:4. Jehovah will remove, or wash away, moral filthiness and bloodguilt.
17 5:11-13. To shed restraint and moderation in one’s choice of recreation is to refuse to act according to knowledge.
18 5:21-23. Christian elders, or overseers, must avoid being “wise in their own eyes.” They also need to exercise moderation in “drinking wine” and must refrain from showing favoritism.
19 11:3a. Jesus’ example and teachings show that there is joy in the fear of Jehovah.
“JEHOVAH WILL SHOW MERCY TO JACOB”
20 Chapters 13 to 23 are pronouncements against the nations. However, “Jehovah will show mercy to Jacob” by allowing all tribes of Israel to return home. (Isaiah 14:1) The message of desolation for Judah in chapters 24 to 27 is accompanied by the promise of restoration. Jehovah expresses his anger at “the drunkards of Ephraim [Israel]” for forming an alliance with Syria and at “priest and prophet” of Judah for seeking an alliance with Assyria. (Isaiah 28:1, 7) Woe is pronounced upon “Ariel [Jerusalem]” for “setting out to go down to Egypt” for protection. (Isaiah 29:1, footnote; 30:1, 2) Still, salvation is foretold for individuals who exercise faith in Jehovah.
21 Like ‘a maned young lion growling over its prey,’ Jehovah will guard “Mount Zion.” (Isaiah 31:4) There is also a promise: “Look! A king will reign for righteousness itself.” (Isaiah 32:1) While the Assyrian threat to Judah causes even “the very messengers of peace” to weep bitterly, Jehovah promises that his people will be healed, “pardoned for their error.” (Isaiah 33:7, 22-24) “Jehovah has indignation against all the nations, and rage against all their army.” (Isaiah 34:2) Judah will not remain desolate. “The wilderness and the waterless region will exult, and the desert plain will be joyful and blossom as the saffron.”
Scriptural Questions Answered:
23 14:1, 2
Lessons for Us:
29 13:20-22; 14:22, 23; 21:1-9. Jehovah’s prophetic word always comes true, as it did in the case of Babylon.
30 17:7, 8. Though most in Israel did not listen, some individuals looked to Jehovah. Similarly, some in Christendom respond to the Kingdom message.
31 28:1-6. Israel will fall to Assyria, but God will see to it that faithful individuals survive. Jehovah’s judgments do not leave the righteous without hope.
32 28:23-29. Jehovah readjusts sincere individuals according to their specific needs and circumstances.
33 30:15. Salvation by Jehovah requires that we show faith by “resting,” or refraining, from seeking salvation through human schemes. By “keeping undisturbed,” or not being fearful, we also demonstrate trust in Jehovah’s ability to protect us.
34 30:20, 21. We ‘see’ Jehovah and “hear” his voice of salvation by heeding what he says through his inspired Word, the Bible, and through “the faithful and discreet slave.”
Isaiah’s Prophecy Fortifies Our Confidence in God’s Word
35 How thankful we can be for God’s message in the book of Isaiah! The prophecies that have already been fulfilled fortify our confidence that the ‘word that goes forth from Jehovah’s mouth will not return to him without results.’
36 What about the Messianic prophecies, such as those found at Isaiah 9:7 and 11:1-5, 10? Do they not strengthen our faith in Jehovah’s provision for our salvation? The book also contains prophecies whose major fulfillments are taking place in our day or will yet occur. (Isaiah 2:2-4; 11:6-9; 25:6-8; 32:1, 2) Indeed, the book of Isaiah adds to the evidence that “the word of God is alive”!
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Isaiah and his children were “as signs and as miracles in Israel”
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Jerusalem was to become “like a booth in a vineyard”
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How are people from the nations being helped to “beat their swords into plowshares”?