It is a little daunting to read a big book of the bible – when I do I often feel like the fish Dory in the movie ‘Finding Nemo’. I read a page and promptly forget what it says. Now when the book is 66 chapters long I can feel overwhelmed. Which makes it pretty hard to preach on a long book and to keep what it says in one section in context with what it says in another section.
Having said this, Isaiah is a great book for Western Christianity. Isaiah speaks to our poverty concerning the knowledge of God. It a book that is doctrinal, in other words, it helps us articulate God’s character and attributes but it is also a very practical book. Let me explain.
Isaiah is where we should be going if we want to be strengthened in our understanding of God’s sovereignty as ruler and judge of the world he created or to deepen our understanding of his faithfulness to his covenant promises. It is a book that shows God’s faithfulness to his people despite their unfaithfulness to him and it reveals the absolute certainty of God’s eternal kingdom of righteousness and peace.
Isaiah is a book that should build our faith in God in face of the constant wooing by the sirens of contemporary culture with its superficial understanding of human nature, its glib fixes and empty remedies that cannot mend broken hearts and lives. Isaiah should make us aware and protect us from our world’s reductionist and materialistic ways of life which fail their adherents over and over again.
As one book I recently read said, “If you want encouraging faith in the promises of God, rather than a desperate resort to human policies, whether political, social, ecclesiastical or personal, then read Isaiah.”
So in our pluralistic world with its many faiths and ideologies we need to be built up in the uniqueness of Jesus as the only Son of God and the only Saviour of the world. We need to know the non-negotiable so that we do not end up preaching a false gospel and living lukewarm lives.
Isaiah sets out what our priorities should be as God’s people as we wait for the completion of God’s plan of salvation. We need to be people who can share the gospel of Jesus in a warm hearted way so we can live lives that glorify our Lord and Saviour.