Have you ever read the book of Isaiah from cover to cover? Isaiah has always been a difficult book for me to read, because it dwells on judgment and disaster befalling those who have walked away from God.
Lately though, the Lord has shown me the amazing hope He extends through the book of Isaiah. There are unsurpassed promises and glimpses of hope that undoubtedly encouraged the prophet even all those years ago.
First of all, God didn’t give Isaiah an easy task. Just think, as a writer, of the difficulty of penning the horrible judgments to come and having your byline attached to them.
In fact, if God hadn’t promised His divine protection, a prophet, back in Old Testament times, was almost guaranteed a premature death at the hand of an angry king.
In the same way He assigned Isaiah the task of writing the tough stuff, God may ask you and I to write confrontational words, while there is still time. But we can be sure of one thing--if He makes the assignment, He will also surround us with songs of deliverance and ways of escape, as we hide ourselves in His faithfulness.
The reason for the book of Isaiah becomes clear in chapter 1, where He says that those who have had a God-consciousness, have now completely rejected His ways. He warns them in v. 16: “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from my sight. Cease to do evil; learn to do good. Seek justice, reprove the ruthless; defend the orphan. Plead for the widow. Come now and let us reason together,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be white as snow. Though they be red like crimson, they will be like wool. If you will consent and obey, you will eat the best of the land. But if you refuse and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword. Truly the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
Even today, while the world is in total rebellion against Him, the Lord is extending His hand, wanting to reason with those who have an ear to hear. Even as the Lord is judging the world and sin, He gives glimpses of hope and tender love to those who respond to Him.
In chapter 26: 1, it says, “We have a strong city. He sets up walls and ramparts for security. Open the gates that the righteous may enter, the one that remains faithful. The steadfast of mind Thou wilt keep in perfect peace, because He trusts in Thee. Trust in the Lord forever, for in God, the Lord, we have an everlasting Rock.”
Here is His commission to us as writers in these last days. Is. 35: 3-4-- “Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble. Say to those of palpitating heart, Take courage, fear not. Behold your God will come with vengeance; the recompense of God will come, but He will save you.”
Though you and I may feel like the words of confrontation are harsh, we need to realize that, ultimately, it is out of God’s tender love that He woos mankind. He would rather accept unbelievers into the beloved than judge them. And in that way, ours are not hard words, but words of life to those who are perishing.
In Is. 35: 10, He gives a crystal clear picture of the wonderful things in store for those who choose to serve Him, with a beautiful benediction in verse ten. This will be the fruit of our work as writers as the spirit of God does its work. “And the ransomed of the Lord will return and come with joyful shouting to Zion, with everlasting joy upon their heads. They will find gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.”
In Is. 40, it says to Isaiah and to us, “Comfort, O comfort My people,” says the Lord. “Speak kindly to Jerusalem, and call out to her that her warfare has ended, that her iniquity has been removed. A voice is calling, ‘Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness. A voice calls, ‘Call out.’ Then he answered, ‘What shall I call out?’ ‘All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the Lord blows upon it. Surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.”