January 02, 2015: Daily Bible Reading Commentary for Isaiah 1-6
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Approximate Date: 739-686 BC
Context:Following Solomon’s death, the Kingdom of Israel was split in two; Judah, in the south, consisted of two tribes and remained under the control of Solomon’s son Rehoboam, while Israel, to the north, consisted of the remaining ten tribes and came under control of the son of Solomon’s servant. The split occurred in 931 BC. During the nearly 200 years in between the split and the writing of Isaiah, the two nations were often at war. During the beginning of Isaiah’s ministry, Israel and Judah, where Isaiah resided, were experiencing a time of peace, leading the people to think that God was pleased with them.
The beginning of Isaiah sets out to disabuse the people of Judah from this illusion. In the first chapter of Isaiah, we are shown how God views Judah. They are immoral, no longer following Him. They sacrifice to Him, yet refuse to live their lives according to Him, believing that their sacrifice is enough. The Lord is calling for the heartfelt repentance of Judah, not ritualistic sacrifices. Failing to repent will lead to destruction. In chapter two, Isaiah warns of trusting in man and worshipping man-made objects. Currently, we have a choice of whom and what we will worship: man or God? The time will come when there is no choice and all will exalt the Lord. In chapter three, Isaiah warns the prideful that God will take away that which makes one prideful and reduce their wealth to ruins. When this time comes to pass, those who follow the Lord will rejoice and be blessed (chapter 4). In the beginning of chapter five, Isaiah is reminding the people of Judah that the Lord has cared for them, protected them, loved them, yet they have turned their back on Him. God will judge the sin of His people severely. As chapter five continues, Isaiah warns that judgment day is coming. In chapter six, we have Isaiah’s commission, his assignment from the Lord. Isaiah is to go to the people and warn them of the coming judgment, although Isaiah is warned that the people will not listen to him.
World History: As we learned in chapter 6, Isaiah began his work during the end of King Uzziah’s reign. King Uzziah started as one who followed the Lord, but later became filled with pride and was eventually struck with leprosy after improperly entering the Temple (2 Chronicles 26). During Isaiah’s time, the kings were often young in age, lacking experience to rule. Judah was again facing the threat of war from Assyria and Judah was not known to have a strong military.