GOOD MORNING, SIBLINGS!
Fasten your seatbelts and grip those arm rests because today we begin Isaiah!
Our reading is Isaiah 1-4
Facts about Isaiah
•Isaiah’s Hebrew name, transliterated to English, is Yesha’yahu, which means “God is my salvation”. It sounds very similar our Messiah’s given name, Yeshua, which means “God will save us”. Note: There is no “right” way to spell a transliterated Hebrew name as English does not have the same letters, so we are really just kind of sounding the name out to know how to say it in our language. Therefore, you will see a LOT of different spellings of Messiah’s name, even YHWH’s name. Unfortunately, some people cling to these different spellings as a major point of contention with a drive and desire that they are absolutely right and only those who agree with them can possibly be as “right” as they are. I want to encourage you to avoid these people. Leave them with their righteousness and cling to our Father’s righteousness instead. A servant of the King should have more important matters to tend to than to sit around complaining that others spell a name with an extra letter than they do.
•The book of Isaiah is the first of the four major prophets, joining Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel.
•A prophet is someone who YHWH designates to speak for Him to a group of people of His choosing.
It is very important to know how to tell a false prophet from a true prophet of YHWH and we see how to do that in Deuteronomy 18:21-22
“And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the Lord has not spoken?’— when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.” Deuteronomy 18:21-22
-So the first thing is that if a prophet of YHWH says something from the Father, it will always come true. Always. That is the first step.
We are also given another test to put to any proclaimed prophets in Deuteronomy 13, stop and read that now if you like.
In this, it tells us that if someone prophesies and it comes true, but then they try to entice us to go after other gods (which can mean many things) then they are a false prophet.
It is vital to know that anyone sent/commissioned/appointed/or working for YHWH will NEVER try to lead us away from worshipping and obeying YHWH.
I encourage you to stop, read this again, and commit this fact to your heart. You will need to know this very important information in life so take it to soul. We will connect some dots before this Bible cycle is through and that one fact is a key.
Meanwhile, Back at the Isaiah ranch…
•Isaiah lived during the time of Kings Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. During this time, he saw the great moral decline of Israel and he tried to remind the people how vital it was to keep their covenant with YHWH. He was about as successful with his own culture then as he would be in our culture today. In fact, as we are reading this, you will likely be shocked at how well Isaiah’s words apply to us.
Isaiah is divided up into 2 parts
•The Book of Judgement Chapters 1-39
•The Book of Consolation Chapters 40-66
Isaiah is one of the most quoted prophets in the Newer Testament.
Did you know that approximately 82.76% of the Bible is either Older Testament or Newer Testament quoting the Older Testament?
So, that means less than 18% of our Bible consists of verses that do not come from the Old Testament. I find this pretty useful when it comes to opening our eyes to the importance of the Father’s word.
•Isaiah 1 is a heartbreaking chapter. Israel has utterly fallen away and the Father is showing the extent to which they have fallen to Isaiah.
The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master’s crib, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand. Isaiah 1:3
YHWH is no longer sovereign to them. We go on to read that they are acting as if He is, but their hearts are far from Him. Once again, “He knows my heart”, is a statement that should lead to daily repentance for anyone who has taken the time to read the Word and know the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In our time, we more often than not follow men who claim to be following YHWH rather than actually following YHWH for ourselves. Remember: There is no such thing as a secondhand relationship with YHWH. We see further evidence of this in Isaiah 1:4 and throughout our reading today.
And now it’s time for “Reading In Context”
Your new moons and your appointed feasts
my soul hates;
they have become a burden to me;
I am weary of bearing them.
This verse is commonly referenced as a means of saying YHWH changed His mind about His feasts (read Malachi 3:6) and no longer wants us to observe them. If we take this verse alone and read it, it would certainly lead us to that conclusion.
But we can easily pull verses out of the Word and use them to support a number of arguments.
In fact, there is one quote from Paul that people use to say we should ignore a number of YHWH’s instructions, but when read in context, He is actually encouraging people to continue obeying the Father and telling them not to allow the criticism from others for doing so affect them. (Colossians 2:16). We’ll talk about this more once we get to Colossians.
Back to talking about the context of 1:13-14…
I want to share a little tip that really helps. Anytime you see something in the Bible that appears to contradict YHWH’s words or commandments, always read the verses before and after it. Of course, I prefer to take the entirety of the word in context but this is just a shortcut version, suggested with good faith that you do intend to read the entirety of YHWH’s Word.
So let’s see what is said directly before that verse. Think of it as if it were being said in the same breath.
Bring no more vain offerings;
incense is an abomination to me.
New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations—
I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly.
Your new moons and your appointed feasts
my soul hates;
they have become a burden to me;
I am weary of bearing them.
Now the picture is coming into focus.
You will no doubt notice the state of society at this time, as we read in the first several verses of this chapter. They are living in complete disobedience and with no reverence for the Father or His Word. And then, they have the nerve to bring sacrifices to Him – while they willfully walk in their own ways and shun His. In fact, just a few sentences before Isaiah 1:13-14, He is comparing them to Sodom and Gomorra!
As you will recall from the first five books of Scripture, this is mixing holy and unholy, clean and unclean and the Father does not have it. He even references this in Isaiah 1:13 when He says “I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly”.
It is also important to note the terminology when He refers to these feasts.
Here, we see Him say “YOUR new moons and YOUR sabbaths and YOUR feasts” ~Isaiah 1:13-14.
Now, every other time when the Father refers to the appointed times or Biblical feasts, what does He call them?
Check out Leviticus 23:2 for the answer.
Did you see that? “My feasts”. He always call them His feasts. But now we see Him referring to these as “your” feasts. This tells us one of two things:
1. Either these people were keeping new feasts from other religions that they had syncretized into worship of YHWH (Do not worship me like you worship other (false) gods – Deut 12:4)
2. They were keeping YHWH’s feasts according to their own will and desire and they bore so little resemblance to how YHWH said to keep them that He didn’t even consider them the same thing.
Either way, we see that their offerings were in vain. They lived how they chose and then came to ask forgiveness for it, with no thoughts of repentance.
So if we take this verse out of context, we can use it to mean something entirely different than what it actually means within context. Note: As we continue to read we will see several references by YHWH to us keeping His feasts in the eternal kingdom as well.
Something to keep in mind when reading the Bible: There are over 30,000 verses in God’s Word.
Now, we can pull out a single verse and disconnect it from all of those other verses and go by what we can infer just by that statement, apart from the context it was written in, completely on it’s own.
We can realize that a single verse of the Bible is part of a collective whole and for every verse, there are over 30,000 verses pressing all around it.
~To find the true meaning of that verse, we must look at the context. ~ To do otherwise risks doing the opposite of what the Father tells us to do.
That is why I always say that whenever someone gives you a verse, take a chapter, or better yet take a book, better still – take the whole book.
Never allow yourself to be “fed” a single verse and then told what it means. Be like the Bereans. They were sitting under Paul’s teachings in the synagogue each Sabbath and then they went back and searched Scripture to test what Paul was saying and see if it lined up. Did Paul get offended? No. He commended them. (See Acts 17 for all of this)
Just as with the true prophets, a good teacher, a true servant of the Most High, will always turn you back to the Bible and never ever ever ever tell you that you shouldn’t read any part of it. That is a big red flag if they do.
Bonus round: Look into syncretism. YHWH detests it and it’s become so “normal” in our modern world that we don’t even notice when we’re swimming in it.
Isaiah 1:18 shows us, yet again, the extent of YHWH’s mercy towards us.
“Come now, and let us reason together,”
“Though your sins are as scarlet,
They will be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They will be like wool,
“If you consent and obey,
You will eat the best of the land;
“But if you refuse and rebel,
You will be devoured by the sword.”
Truly, the mouth of YHWH has spoken.
Here the Father is, yet again, offering the pathway to salvation that remains true to this day. He offers redemption, forgiveness, a new beginning. This is a clear foreshadow of the work of our Messiah. What are the conditions? Did you see the if/then statement in that passage? I italicized it for ya.
Do you see the reference to Israel being watered down in Isaiah 1:22? Watered down. Lukewarm. Pure and impure. Holy and unholy. Halfhearted. Wait, are they talking about Israel or us? This writing is so timely and applicable that it is difficult not to blur the two.
Isaiah 3:8 For Jerusalem has stumbled and Judah has fallen, because their speech and their deeds are against YHWH, defying His glorious presence.
I can’t help but think of the parallel to the verse in James chapter 2 where he explained that faith, without actions that work in accordance, is a dead faith. In this case, we see that their speech and their actions are both working against the Father and therefore YHWH considers them to be in denial of His very glory. This makes sense. I mean, if we say that we believe in Him but don’t treat His teachings, His wisdom, His word, and His presence with awe and reverence, we clearly don’t even know who He is. Rather, we are living in defiance to the one true God.
Isaiah 4:1 immediately made me think of Zechariah 8:23, which is a whole other rabbit trail for y’all.
I could share so much with you on these first four chapters of Isaiah alone. It is rich with historical facts, ageless wisdom, and divine prophecy. But we have to keep moving on so I’m going to leave it at what I’ve posted here.
Just know that we were never meant to read the Bible only once and each time we read through it we are rewarded with more and more understanding of the wisdom the Father is offering to us.
Wow y’all, we’re going to read Isaiah together- and I’m EXCITED!
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!
May YHWH bless the reading of His Word!