It can be a rather daunting experience to read a large book of the bible like Isaiah. There are 66 chapters and in some ways we might think that God, through Isaiah, might have been a little briefer and more to the point. But I reckon if Isaiah was condensed to a few lines then we would not only fail to understand the character of God but we would also fail to understand our own character and the solution God brings to our persistent failure to trust him.
Without the length of Isaiah we would not see the incredible faithfulness of God and why he can be trusted in all situations. We would not see his sovereign rule or understand how his plans and purposes can be revealed in detail well before they happen. This revealed detail demonstrates his knowledge of all things even those things in the future, his patience with a sinful and rebellions people as well as his desire for all the nations to be saved not just the people of Israel.
Also without the length of Isaiah we would fail to grasp the contrast between the faithfulness of God and the continued unfaithfulness of God’s people. We would not understand how God’s grace works out in the lives of real people and real nations, in real history and nor would we understand why we can never achieve God’s standard of 100% trust in him.
If Isaiah was reduced to a few sentences we would probably fail to understand the incredible solution the God brings to our problem of unfaithfulness. God’s solution is one the whole world needs to know about for as we have seen, God is the sovereign ruler and judge of all the nations.
The good news for us is that God’s solution to us is NOT call on us to try harder or require us to live more moral lives. God’s solution is rescue and he achieves our rescue not with a temporary military ruler or a nation established in this earth. God achieves our rescue by his Son coming as a servant to rescue, to establish justice and to reclaim us in righteousness. God alone is God, the idols of man are but nothing… they are gods of our own imagination, they are fashioned by human hand, they would topple over if they were not nailed down and thus they are incomparable to the God of the bible.
As we look at the big book of Isaiah my challenge to you (and myself) is not to try and reduce God and his plans to a few simple sentences but to be immersed in the character of God and to take seriously the warnings God brings to all people. He alone is God, there is no other and he will not give his glory to any other.
Our response to God should be to praise him and proclaim him and to trust him. Over the next few weeks why not try and read Isaiah 40-55 and then to spend quiet time reflecting on his character and his solution to our rebellion. That will bring us to Christmas when we rejoice in the coming of the King.