The book of Isaiah is the second most quoted book in the New Testament only second to the book of Psalms. The Apostle Paul either quoted it or alluded to it 80 times and Jesus quoted Isaiah 42:7,and 16 when He addressed Paul on the Damascus Road. The Name Isaiah means “The Lord is Salvation”
The book of Isaiah was written about 700 years before Jesus arrived and has many prophecies in it that only Jesus could fulfill perfectly. Isaiah is a book we can learn from because what Isaiah was dealing with in his day is something the church is dealing with today.
There is a lot of talking that takes place in our world and most of what we are hearing either gets drowned out by other distractions or does not really get listened to in the first place. Everyone is talking and no one seems to be listening because there is a battle for our attention which is constantly bombarded with various messages. Media is constantly fighting for our time and attention but we must know who we are and who we are not going to listen to. Who you listen to is important because when they speak they speak a world philosophy even if it is not something that is outwardly noticeable. Many Athletes and Actors are used to promote products simply because people like them so they believe what they are saying or selling. Who is going to get your attention is big business and unfortunately the church is susceptible to having their attention drawn away by other voices. Isaiah was called to speak during one of these times when people had lost their focus and were being influenced by other people and even other religions.
We have a responsibility to speak the truth to people even if they do not want to hear it. We live in a culture that is trying to redefine truth by saying that truth is not equal. There are many problems with saying that truth is subjective because it means that there really is no truth. If we are going to speak the truth then we must learn from Isaiah to speak the truth to a culture that is making up its own truth.
Read Isaiah 1:1-3 The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. 2 Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth; for the Lord has spoken: “Children[a] have I reared and brought up, but they have rebelled against me.3 The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master’s crib, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.”
1) The Authority in which we speak
Vision: Divine Revelation from God
The book of Isaiah starts off with the fact that this was not just a man speaking but a man speaking on behalf of God. This means that the words he spoke were not his words but Gods and so the message carried with it the authority of God
Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[b] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
The mistake we make as followers of Christ is when we speak for Christ in our own authority instead of just announcing what He has said. Some of the things that Jesus said are not popular to our culture but our job is to declare what He has said and not how they respond to it. One of the things that is addressed in the book of Isaiah is that so called people of God were seeking other gods for answers. They were going to another authority rather than going to God and Isaiah wanted them to realize that he was not just sharing his opinion but what he was saying was coming directly from God.
One of the issues we are starting to see in our churches is that people are not communicating Gods word as it is written and they are communicating what they want it to say and they are distorting the message. Isaiah communicated Gods message, no matter how difficult and unpopular it was. Isaiah spoke to the righteous King, the wicked King, the proud and the powerful and he rebuked and encouraged knowing he was speaking the words of God. Our words are not our own because we speak on behalf of the authority of Jesus.
2) The Reason We Speak
“Hear O Heavens! Listen, O earth!” The way it is written shows that God is calling on two witnesses which were required to present a case against someone in court. (Deuteronomy 30:19; 31:28; 32:1 and Psalms 50:4) Every person will be held accountable to God for what they knew about God and for what they could have known about God. Not searching and not listening will not be excuses to be used in order to not be judged by God.
Romans 1:8-21 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,[g] in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
People are suppressing the truth of God and although they may not worshiping golden Idols they have given their lives to other things that demand their time, money and worship. Because of the language that is used some believe it is a court room analogy while others think it is an arraignment before going to court. In an arraignment if the defendant makes a plea deal then they will not stand trial. If we take the analogy that it is before the court case then the reason we speak is to keep people from standing before the judge guilty because once people stand before the judge then the time to repent and make a plea deal is over.
Revelation 20:11-15 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
Those who have accepted Jesus Christ will not be judged by God because Jesus took the penalty of sin that we owed. Those who have not accepted Jesus at the arraignment will be judged by all their works and fall short of being allowed into Heaven. I hear many people who tell me that they are ready to stand before God for the good things they have done. What they do not realize is that their actions in and of themselves will never be good enough to overcome the sins they have done. Isaiah says that the people are rebels which mean they have broken a contract with God. The reason we speak is because people do not want to stand before God in the state they are in but they may not realize the severity of their actions. God is appealing to them through Isaiah to repent and turn back to Him and God wants us to be used by Him to appeal to those around us.
2 Corinthians 5:20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
If we have to be reconciled then that means we are separated from Him which is not something many people believe. Our sins have separated us from a Holy and perfect God who cannot be in the presence of sin. Just because our sins do not offend us does not mean that they are not offensive to Him.
Isaiah 64:6 We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
Just like Isaiah we are the mouth piece of God to speak to a generation of people who have turned from God to worship other things. We are called to tell people that because of the sins in their lives, no matter how big or small they may think they are, that they will face separation from God unless they are reconciled back to Him through Jesus Christ.
3) The Frustration of Speaking
“My People Do not understand” Isaiah says in verse 3 that even an ox, which could be stubborn, and a donkey, which was considered dumb, would eventually give up their stubbornness and listen to their master for food but the people have not turned back to God. Isaiah wants them to see the correlation between them and their farm animals but he actually calls the farm animals smarter. We will come frustrated with people at times because it will seem as though they are not listening or do not believe what we are telling them. We must speak the truth in the hopes that they will one day understand.
Ephesians 4:17-19 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.
The more people reject the things of God they more callous they become and the more callous they become the more they do not see that they are stubborn and dumb. Those of you who are waiting to surrender your life to God because you want to live your own life need to realize there may come a point where you no longer hear the voice of God or the drawing of His spirit. (Hebrews 3:15) For those of us who are trying to reach people you have to remember that they are blinded by the god of this age (2 Corinthians 4:4) and so we have to help guide them home just like we would a stubborn ox or a dumb donkey. It is a spiritual battle for their souls and we need to have patience and persistence as God is using us in their lives to draw them to Him. People believe many lies about God and it takes time and energy to show them the truth. It is not my job to change someone’s heart but it is my job to speak the truth.
4) What we Speak
1 Corinthians 15:3-5 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
This is our message to the world; Christ lived, Christ Died, He was buried and He rose again. It’s a simple message but everyone has to do something with the Historical figure named Jesus Christ. Every religion has a statement about what they believe about Jesus and so people believe many things about Him and we have to speak the truth because so many people believe lies about Him. Jesus was God in the flesh who came to pay for sins we could not pay for by being a perfect sacrifice and taking the wrath of God on our behalf. It is the great exchange that Jesus takes our place just like He took Barabbas. (Matthew 27)
But to be true to Christ, they must not dilute their message, whitewash difficult Bible passages, or present Jesus as something He is not. …We dare not change one word of Scripture to make ourselves more comfortable… Scriptures purpose is not to make us more comfortable, but to show us how inadequate and lost we are apart from our Savior and to make us “wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:15) (The True Jesus, David Limbaugh, Pg. 8-9)
We are God’s Ambassadors to a world that has rebelled against Him and it is our duty to speak the truth in love. Many people will not understand that they are separated from God and so patience and perseverance will be needed as you speak truth into their lives. God wants to use you in the lives of others so they can hear the truth that they are separated from Him.