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Isaiah: Here I Am

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357 pages5 hours

Summary

While Isaiah laid in bed half awake, half asleep, he saw the word of the Lord concerning Judah and Jerusalem for the first time during the reign of Uzziah, which continued through the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah which opens with a proclamation of judgment against Jerusalem yet concludes with a prophecy of salvation that gives new hope to the people living under the judgment of God. The next morning he shared the vision with his wife Ariellah the prophetess. Subsequently King Uzziah asks Isaiah to write a chronicle of all the events of his reign, and the Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser III advanced into the west.
Then one day Isaiah has a surprise meeting with the reclusive prophet Jonah in the temple area, who solemnly recounted his story about running away from the will of God when commissioned to go to Assyria. Isaiah’s first-born son Shear-yashub (“A remnant shall return”) was born, and given the nickname Shay by his mother.
Isaiah received confirmation of his prophetical call when he saw the Lord sitting on his throne and the seraphim above calling one to another, “Holy, holy, holy is Yahweh Almighty; the whole world is full of his glory,” he knew he was a man of unclean lips as were his people. A seraph placed a red-hot coal on Isaiah’s lips and declared, “Your iniquity is taken away.” Then he heard the voice of Yahweh say, “Whom shall I send?” And Isaiah said, “Send me!”
The life of the biblical prophet Isaiah is only hinted at within the larger framework of the vision he saw. A couple of years later his second son Maher-shalal-hash-baz was born (“Hasten booty, speed spoil”), and given the nickname Bear. He preaches Yahweh’s judgment on the ruling class at an assembly in the palace, and fate of all the people. Isaiah’s friend, the prophet Micah, also prophesied against Samaria and warns Jerusalem.
In an ecstatic revelation with the Lord’s strong hand upon him, the prophet was warned not to adopt the outlook of the people and summoned, together with his disciples, to fear Yahweh alone and to trust in him, waiting steadfastly for him and setting his hope on him. He and the children whom the Yahweh gave him were for signs and wonders in Israel, from Yahweh Almighty, who dwells on Mount Zion.
This historical novel set in the ancient Near East imagines Isaiah’s life as he preaches to a people of unclean lips knowing they will not understand or perceive God’s message. Yet for more than fifty years Isaiah faithfully preached man’s desperate need for hope, and God’s great provision of salvation including preservation from an Assyrian invasion under King Hezekiah. Isaiah diligently warned Judah of approaching judgment due to spiritual idolatry, moral depravity, political corruption, and social injustice for decades with the support of his family, disciples, and fellow prophets Jonah, Micah, and Hosea, for the hardness of the people’s hearts did not preclude a possibility of the salvation of individuals. Because the people refused to turn from their sinful practice, Isaiah announced their exile and the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. However, God promised to remain faithful to his covenant by preserving a remnant and promising salvation and deliverance by the promised servant of God called Cyrus.
These survivors, the remnant, will return to Yahweh, the holy One of Israel and be a holy people. In the age to come, Yahweh will be a beautiful crown and glorious diadem to the remnant that owes its existence to the zeal of Yahweh for his people. Although it belonged to the future, this group had already begun to take shape in the small flock of disciples who surrounded the prophet as his adherents and responded to his words. Likewise the remnant to come who survives the catastrophe will become a new people, a holy people cleansed from iniquity, able to enter into a new age of bliss.

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