Isaiah: Called to Account

Peter Barnes: Isaiah 1:1-15

(24 June 2018)

The New Testament refers to the book of Isaiah at least 66 times – which is more than any other Old Testament book except for the Psalms. ‘Isaiah’ is like ‘Hosea’ and ‘Joshua’, and ‘Jesus’ for that matter, and means ‘the Lord saves’. The book begins with a condemnation of Jerusalem as a city like Sodom but finishes with promises of great blessing to Jerusalem renewed – 66:20.
1. God’s covenant children should know better.

– 1:2-4. Deut.4:26. Israel is full of self-esteem but has no self-awareness; it make oxen and donkeys seem intelligent.

– Why speak like this? Spurgeon: ‘A man must realize his danger before he will desire to escape from it.’ Lloyd-Jones: ‘I know full well that nobody will really listen to the gospel until they have seen their need of it.’

– when the prodigal son decides to return to his father, it is said that he ‘came to himself’ (Luke 15:17; ESV & NKJV) or ‘came to his senses’ (NIV). Living in the pig sty was a form of madness.
2. God chastens His people.

– 1:5-10. It has been said that experience is learning from your own mistakes while wisdom is learning from other people’s. Israel is simply not learning. God is chastening but it is not sinking in.

– had it not been for God’s electing grace they would have ended out like Sodom – Gen.19:24-25. Is there a God in heaven who chastens His covenant people? Yes, there is, so ‘hear the word of the Lord’ (1:10).
3. Religion that does not please God.

– 1:11-15. John Oswalt calls this ‘religious sin’. See Jer.7:21-23; Hos.6:6; Amos 5:21-24; Micah 6:6-8.

– What Isaiah says after this will only affect us rightly if we have faced up to what it means to be called to account.