Struck by Isaiah

Prophets tend to be fairly direct in their style and delivery. Isaiah, I'm reminded as I reread his message, is no exception.

The opening five chapters of the book that bears his name is a stinging indictment against a society that owes its existence to God's gracious calling of them and which now has abandoned God for the pursuit of false gods and material wealth.

Without pulling any punches, the prophet laments the nation of Israel's slide into unfaithfulness and injustice:

"See how the faithful city has become a harlot!"

Particular evils highlighted in these opening chapters include:
  • bloodshed (1:15)
  • corruption (1:23)
  • injustice towards the economically vulnerable (1:23)
  • occult practices and pagan religion (2:6)
  • the accumulation of wealth (2:7)
  • the worship of created things (2:8)
  • arrogance (2:17)
  • conspicuous displays of wealth (3:16f)
  • economic speculation (5:8)
  • alcohol abuse (5:11)

In the midst of these opening pages, which for a book written over 2,700 years ago reads with alarming contemporary relevance, the prophet announces a ray of hope.

Firstly, God promises cleansing from sin (4:4). Secondly, he announces a mountain that draws the nations (2:2f), the latter containing imagery resonant with the emergence of the Christian church.

I think I'm going to enjoy becoming reacquainted with "the evangelist of the old testament."

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