Today, I started auditing a short course on Isaiah and Jeremiah offered by Heritage Christian University and taught by Dr. Bill Bagents. I’ll be here through Friday. If the first day is a sign, the week will be faith-building and encouraging. I’m grateful to Dr. Bagents and HCU for making it possible for me to be here.
• I’m taking the course as a spiritual refresher. Those who serve the Lord need such moments to recharge. In the midst of his saints, from the depths of his words, the Lord strengthens his servants.
• There are those, of course, who are little more than spiritual consumers, little Dead Seas who take but never give. They learn, but never come to a knowledge of the truth (2 Timothy 3:7). These never exercise their knowledge to teach others.
• May I speak in the spirit of the prophets for a moment? Such consumers God will judge, like Israel, for not taking advantage of the divine blessings given for his service and glory. Such language is not popular today, but it wasn’t popular in Isaiah’s time either.
• The worship of God that does not result in a willingness to serve, even when the listeners turn away, is a vain worship. See Isaiah 6. Soon after cleansing comes the call.
• Isaiah puts off the vision of his call until the sixth chapter, preferring to open his book with a hard-hitting charge against Judah for abandoning the Lord and rejecting the Holy One of Israel. How did they do this? By not showing his righteousness in their own lives, by a lack of holiness.
• Though Isaiah hastens to rail against a depraved people, he soon gives a glimpse of hope. Through their decision to cleanse themselves of sin (1:16-18), they may again be blessed with prosperity. God is not the God of destruction, but of restoration and redemption (chapter 2).
• Judah has no true leaders (Isaiah 3:1-15). “They rebel against [God’s] royal authority” (3.8 NET). So God himself will give them a son to rule (9:6-7). The Lord will correct his people’s wrongs through judgment and by grace. He will winnow, save a remnant, purge the people to become what he intended, a light to the nations.
• Unlike Isaiah, we will not receive a special vision of God’s glory and majesty. But through his inspired words, together with the other prophets and apostles of Christ, we can glimpse in his Son the divine image. That image will make us share in the divine nature (2 Peter 1:3-4) and will compel us through immeasurable love to answer the call: “Here I am, send me!”
• As a part of that sending, the Lord will constantly refresh us, through the writings of men like Isaiah and in moments of fellowship and study like the course I’m privileged to attend this week. Let us drink deeply, and offer the water of life.
“Cry out and shout for joy, O citizens of Zion, for the Holy One of Israel acts mightily among you!” (Isaiah 12:6).