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Janet's Corner

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Isaiah -- The Man and His Message

How many of you have done jig-saw puzzles? Often I do them with my sisters and we sit and multi-task – talking and jig-sawing. We always start by putting the border together and then we add the pieces to the middle. We want to do the same with the book of Isaiah – build the frame work that all the pieces fit within. In the past I have approached Isaiah by looking at many of the middle pieces, but not knowing how they were part of the whole. For the first three weeks of our study we will build the border and then begin to add the pieces, chapter by chapter.

The corner piece we will put into place this week is Isaiah – The Man and His Message. Our goals will be to understand

1. What is a prophet

2. Who is Isaiah

3. What is Isaiah’s message

I’ll add our Keepsake Truth at the end of the lesson. The bottom of the lesson gives you some reading for the next week. As well as tapes of this Bible teaching, our Website ( will include the weekly lesson.

Read Isaiah 1:1

The Books of the Bible in the Old Testament from Isaiah to Malachi are generally spoken of as the Prophetic Books of the Bible. They are broken down into two categories – the minor and the major prophets according to the length of the writing. The book of Isaiah is identified as one of the major prophets, along with Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel.

I. What is a prophet? Let’s consider the word “prophet.” It is “nabi” in the Hebrew, meaning “one who speaks for God in His name, by His authority and under His influence.” What a wonderful thing to be under – the influence of God.

A prophet spoke in obedience to the voice of God as indicated by the words, “The Lord said to me…” (Isaiah 8:1) or had a vision (Isaiah 1:1, 6:1).

He had close encounters with God!

These men were used by God for two reasons;

1. To remind or warn a forgetful nation of God’s character. They spoke with divine inspiration in the midst of unbelief and apostasy. Look at the prophet Isaiah’s warning in Isaiah 1:4 “…They have forsaken the LORD; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on him.” They often were mocked or even persecuted. James 5:10 refers to this. “Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.


2. To announce God’s desires and plans. These directly or indirectly pointed to Jesus. Isaiah 9:6 - “Unto us a child is born…wonderful counselor, Mighty God…” I Peter 1:10-11 says that the prophets were searching intently, trying to find out what the Spirit of Christ was pointing them to…as they spoke of the sufferings and glories that would follow.” We’ll see how the prophecies that were made about the Christ are either fulfilled in the New Testament or pointed to again as the New Testament points to the future reign of Christ.

A prophet was both a statesman of his times and a herald of the most awesome plans of the heart of God. He had both political and spiritual influence. God used a man, a prophet, to speak to his people.

II. Who is Isaiah?

1. Isaiah was the son of Amoz (1:1). His uncle was King Uzziah

2. His name means “the Lord is salvation.” Which points to the key theme of his message – deliverance or salvation from sin God’s way - politically (31:1) and spiritually (1:18)

3. He grew up with access to the palace and the temple (access to the kings and the priests throughout his writing)

4. Isaiah was married (8:3). His wife is called a prophetess – role or gift?

5. Isaiah had two sons (7:3, 8:3) whose names reflected the two themes of this book – judgment and restoration: “a remmant returns” and “hasten the spoil, hurry the plunder”

6. Isaiah was called into ministry. (6:1-13).

7. He ministered over the course of 60 years (740 BC -681BC) over the reigns of four different kings

8. Isaiah is the most quoted prophet in the New Testament. Much of my understanding of Isaiah in the past came from my familiarity with the New Testament.

9. Isaiah was a man in touch with God (6:1)

Who loved the people of his nation (“my people”) His prophecy was mainly to the nation of Judah, which is the southern kingdom of Israel whose capital was Jerusalem. He was talking to the Jews, those called by God as the chosen nation – those who had received the promise of the Messiah and the Law of Moses. More about them next week.

Who hated sin and false worship. Saw their worship was futile and hypocritical.

Who was a skillful communicator using symbols to portray spiritual truths and signs to catch the people’s attention. He was a poet using beautiful imagery. He gave great insight into God’s character. The name of God, the Holy One of Israel, is used in Isaiah over 25 times and it is very seldom used in rest of scripture.

Isaiah was a prophet and a poet who was called by God to deliver a message to His people.

III. What is Isaiah’s message to God’s people? Let’s take a look at the structure of the book to see its context – what it’s all about - and the purpose of the book – the aim of the author.

Compared it to the books in the Bible it can be divided similarly.

Bible Isaiah Message

66 Books 66 chapters

39 In Old Testament 1- 39 Law and Government

27 in New Testament 40-66 Grace and


Division of chapters

1. Judgment chapters 1-35 Poetry

Because of his prophetic gifts, Isaiah was able to see the impending ruin of a great nation.

He gave words of warning to both Israel and Judah that Assyria, the dominant world power was on the move. God was using them to judge the sin of the nation.

He interspersed the message of judgment with a message of hope and promise. There would be a deliverer – ultimately the Lord Jesus Christ.

2. Historical chapters 36-39 Prose

Focuses on two key events during the reign of King Hezekiah: God’s sparing Jerusalem from captivity under the Assyrians and then King Hezekiah’s foolishness with Babylon which led to their eventual captivity by Babylon.

3. Comfort/salvation chapters 40-66 Poetry

Chapter 40:1 sets the whole mood of this section. “Comfort, comfort my people says the Lord.”

Isaiah turns from a message of judgment to consolation and hope, from the impending suffering to the eventual deliverance of his people.

He speaks of the glory to come when final deliverance comes through Jesus and his reign.

He gives us pictures of God’s grace and glory to come which is ours even now as we trust Jesus with our very lives.

So why should we study Isaiah? Why would this book, written over 2500 years ago, make an impact on my life today? O yours? We will understand not just God’s plan for the future when Jesus establishes his reign, but this study will make our lives better now. As we see God’s holiness, as we see God’s grace available to us, I pray that God will stir our hearts to walk in love and obedience toward him.

I John 3:3 says “Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” God is holy and wants us to be a reflection of that beauty here and now. He longs us to be that oak of righteousness the planting of the Lord to display his splendor (Isaiah 61:3b). We can build on that foundation - that sure foundation – that many of you may already have laid in your life in relationship to God.

That brings me to our KEEPSAKE TRUTH. Isaiah 33:6

“He (God) will be a sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure.”

We will add to the explanation of this verse over the next three weeks… but for today I challenge you that this study on Isaiah will give you stability. It will help you lay down the first stones of your foundation in Jesus. It will fortify, repair or even renew your foundation in Jesus Christ.

God will be a sure foundation for your times….will you come on this adventure with me and discover God’s truth for your life?