Audio listeners, there is additional content included at the bottom of this post that is not mentioned in the audio.
GOOD MORNING SIBLINGS!
Today we finish up the book of Isaiah
Today’s readings are Isaiah 64-66
Ready or not, here we go! We finish Isaiah today and it goes out like fireworks. I think much of what we read in today’s chapters will remain with us, as we revisit and continue to digest the depth of it for years to come, and hopefully read it many more times.
Remember that the Father has clearly laid out in the past several day’s readings who He considers to be Israel. Isaiah is a continual book and as such, we are still in that story as we finish up today. We are going to continue reading prophecy that, although not completely fulfilled, we can clearly see being fulfilled to an extent in our time. Will it be fulfilled completely in our time? We will have to wait and see, but there are very important lessons and reinforcements from the Father in today’s writings. Today, we will also learn some things about our future behavior as followers of YHWH that may surprise you.
Think back to all we have read so far leading up to this. Notice how many concepts and commandments the Father has repeated to us and how many examples He has shown of what happens when we disregard His instructions.
Chapter 64 begins with a beautiful cry of longing for the Father from His people. Their longing turns to guilt as they consider all of the mercy the Father has had to show them as a result of their actions. Cries of guilt turn to pleas for mercy as we see another reference to a potter and His clay in 64:8 – but before you read that…
Recall in Isaiah 45:9 we read:
“Woe to him who strives with him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots!
Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’ or ‘Your work has no handles’?
And in 29:16 we saw
“You turn things upside down!
Shall the potter be regarded as the clay”
In both of these passages the clay is questioning the potter. The Father, Himself, says they have turned things upside down in their way of thinking.
Once they cry out for mercy, we see in Isaiah 64:8 a beautiful spirit of repentance and, at last, the clay is in its proper place:
But now, YHWH, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. Isaiah 64:8
The spirit of the people who would question Him now returns to Him and places themselves, humbly, in His hand.
As we move into 65 We see the Father, in His time, is now ready to bring judgment upon those He determines and salvation to those He determines. It is heartbreaking to read but important to take note of who is being judged and why.
He begins by saying:
I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me;
I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me.
I said “Here I am, here I am.” Isaiah 65:1
I was ready….I was ready…to be sought by those who did not ask for me, to be found by those who did not seek me.
In His time. This, to me, reads like the epic beginning. The Father is ready to reveal Himself to those who would deny Him. This chapter describes these people.
I spread out my hands all the day to a rebellious people(1), who walk in a way that is not good, following their own devices;(2)
a people who provoke me to my face continually, sacrificing in gardens and making offerings on bricks; who sit in tombs,
and spend the night in secret places; who eat pig’s flesh(3), and broth of tainted meat is in their vessels; who say, “Keep to yourself,
do not come near me, for I am too holy for you.”(4) Isaiah 65:2-9
Cross references for clarity:
1. Proverbs 1:24
2. Isaiah 55:8
3. Lev 11
4. Matthew 9:11, Luke 7:39, Luke 18:9, Proverbs 30:12
He goes on to reiterate His promise that He will preserve His remnant, those who walk in His ways and according to His word. He has always promised this and Malachi 3:6 should be at the forefront of our minds whenever we consider Him:
“I am YHWH, I do not change.” Malachi 3:6
Sidenote: Look at the grace in Isaiah 65:16!
And then, as further proof this chapter is a reference to a future event, we see Him create a new Heaven and a new Earth beginning in verse 17. Can you feel the joy, peace, and relief? My heart was leaping in excitement as I read these verses.
Do you see the importance the Father places continually on Sabbath? Did the prophetic verses about pigs flesh surprise you? Make sure to read them in context (reading the verses both before and after) to get the full impact and implication.
Isaiah 66 quickly moves into a grim reminder to those who choose their own ways. Even their sacrifices before YHWH are seen as detestable because of the state of their hearts – He tells us:
“These have chosen their own ways and their soul delights in their abomination.” Isaiah 66:3
These previous cross references will also lend some understanding into this mindset, I think. Especially if you read them in order **Matthew 9:11, Luke 7:39, Luke 18:9, Proverbs 30:12
These are the folks viewed as pious people, God fearers in the eyes of the world – but He sees their hearts and that they do not truly hold Him in authority or seek to obey Him. They are going through the motions, perhaps following Him according to the world, but not according His Word.
Isaiah 66:5 reminds us that we have to be SO DILIGENT to make sure we don’t get distracted and start following men and their doctrines, thinking they are the Father’s. And that is SO EASY TO DO! That is why I work so hard to keep the Bible as my FIRST source and not get in the habit of relying on a particular teacher or ministry or extra biblical books. They can possibly be helpful in addition to the Bible, but they can also quickly make things so easy that we begin to use them in place of the Bible – and a little doctrine here, a little opinion there, and before you know it we’ve been taught doctrines of men as if they were commandments, just as Messiah accused the Pharisees in their time. (Matthew 15:9)
Note: If those same Pharisees were around today they would be bestselling authors, TV stars, and have mega churches. They would be wildly successful.
The World loves a Pharisee.
The Father loves one who seeks Him.
There is no such thing as a second hand relationship with the father.
We end with more information on the final judgement beginning in chapter 65. It is heartbreaking to read but important to take note of who is being judged and why.
As we conclude Isaiah, we are left with a firmer grasp on our identity as a people, who we belong to, and the process with which we have been adopted as part of His chosen people. We have warnings to seriously consider and promises of hope to hold tightly to.
The Father has richly blessed us by giving us such an abundance of wisdom in His word. May we take it to heart or better yet, take it deeper still to soul.
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!