Thursday, February 28, 2008

Isaiah 1-4

I’ve decided to read through the book of Isaiah. I’m looking for God’s priorities, especially in the context of two words—justice and righteousness. Today I read the first four chapters, and these are the sections that stood out to me the most:

Isaiah 1:18 is fairly popular. “Come let us reason together…. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” I’ve heard that a lot. But just before it, we read, “learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow” (v. 17). We see another plea for the fatherless and the widow in verse 23.

Verse 27 uses both of the words I’m looking for. “Zion will be redeemed with justice, her penitent ones with righteousness.”

Chapter two gives hope of a day when weapons of war will become farm implements and people will no longer study strategies of war (v. 1-5). It finishes with a declaration against the proud—those concerned with superstitions, divination, treasure, military might and idols (v. 6-22).

Chapter three again takes up the call of justice. “The Lord enters into judgment against the elders and leaders of his people: ‘It is you who have ruined my vineyard; the plunder from the poor is in your houses. What do you mean by crushing my people and grinding the faces of the poor?’ declares the Lord, the Lord Almighty” (v. 14-15).

Chapter four paints a picture of hope in God despite the problems to come.

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