I hope you’re enjoying a Happy New Year so far. It certainly feels like a new day has dawned. After 2020, I know we’re all grateful to see a new year and the possibility of better days ahead.
Isaiah was one of God’s prophets and he lived through some difficult days as well. But Isaiah was given a vision of a new day — and this vision caused quite a stir in the land of Israel. For some, this new day would be a day of salvation and deliverance. But for others, it would be a day of judgment. Isaiah saw this new day just beyond the horizon and he devoted his life to telling people about it — warning those for whom it would be a day of judgment and encouraging those for whom it would be a day of salvation.
We’re kicking off 2021 with a new series entitled A New Day: Isaiah’s Vision of Hope and we’ll be focusing on Isaiah’s message and this new day he sees out on the horizon. If the Lord wills it, we will be studying the book of Isaiah together over these first few months of this new year. I’m really excited about this series and I invite you to join me in this study.
This first post will provide some background material that will prove helpful to our study. Tomorrow, we’ll dive in to the text of Isaiah 1 & 2.
A Song in Three Verses
The author Eugene Peterson says that one way to think of Isaiah is to think of it as a song with three verses. And the themes of these three verses are repeated throughout Isaiah. Here they are:
As we study Isaiah together, we’ll come across these themes repeatedly. But we’ll also see the interplay between them, their inter-connectedness. In Isaiah, God’s judgment is followed by God’s comfort; and God’s comfort is strengthened by His words of hope. As we study through Isaiah together, take notice of how these themes mingle together, sometimes within the same chapter or even the same verse!
Three Messianic Portraits
Another scholar, Dr. Alec Motyer, has identified three pictures of the Messiah that loom large in Isaiah’s prophecy. These three Messianic portraits dominate each of the three major sections of Isaiah. I’ve slightly modified Motyer’s language and chapter designations, but here are these three pictures of the Messiah in Isaiah:
- The Messiah as King (Isaiah 1-39)
- The Messiah as Servant (Isaiah 40-55)
- The Messiah as Savior (Isaiah 56-66)
Isaiah’s New Day
We can combine the themes Peterson identifies and the Messianic images Motyer identifies into a helpful way of thinking about Isaiah’s message. There is a new day coming when…
- The King will rule in judgment over His people.
- The Servant will bring comfort to His people.
- The Savior will bring hope by defeating the enemies of His people.
Keep these images in mind as we work our way through Isaiah.