Isaiah chapter 1

Isaiah introduces himself. God commands them to stop their religious sacrifices, and gives four steps to reform our lives. The LORD declares his sentence.

 


 

ISAIAH INTRODUCES HIMSELF

 

VERSE 1. The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.

NLT translation. These are the visions that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. He saw these visions during the years when Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah were kings of Judah.

vision. A “vision” is something that is seen, whether mentally or spiritually. For Isaiah, this vision was compelling. He allowed it to change his entire life.

A vision does not necessarily include an auditory element. However, for Isaiah, this vision did indeed include an auditory element, as we see in verse 2 below.

 

GOD’S INDICTMENT AGAINST THE NATION

 

VERSE 2. Hear, heavens, and listen, earth; for the LORD has spoken: “I have nourished and brought up children and they have rebelled against me.

NAB translation. Hear, O heavens, and listen, O earth, for the LORD speaks.

the LORD speaks. Beyond what Isaiah saw in his vision, it also  encompassed a message he heard. And now he is relaying that message to the world.

 

VERSE 3. The ox knows his owner, and the donkey his master’s crib; but Israel doesn’t know. My people don’t consider.”

 

VERSE 4. Ah sinful nation, a people loaded with iniquity, offspring of evildoers, children who deal corruptly! They have forsaken the LORD. They have despised the Holy One of Israel. They are estranged and backward.

 

VERSE 5. Why should you be beaten more, that you revolt more and more? The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.

 

VERSE 6. From the sole of the foot even to the head there is no soundness in it: wounds, welts, and open sores. They haven’t been closed, bandaged, or soothed with oil.

 

VERSE 7. Your country is desolate. Your cities are burned with fire. Strangers devour your land in your presence and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers.

Strangers devour your land in your presence. To behold other people ransacking your property is a devastating experience.

 

VERSE 8. The daughter of Zion is left like a shelter in a vineyard, like a hut in a field of melons, like a besieged city.

NLT translation. Beautiful Jerusalem stands abandoned like a watchman’s shelter in a vineyard, like a lean-to in a cucumber field after the harvest, like a helpless city under siege.

Beautiful Jerusalem. To the biblically-fluent person, Jerusalem is a beautiful sight.

 

VERSE 9. Unless the LORD of Hosts had left to us a very small remnant, we would have been as Sodom. We would have been like Gomorrah.

a very small remnant. The Bible describes a uniquely faithful group of believers called “the remnant.” Are they Jewish or Christians? Now or in the future? Who are they really? Read more »

 

VERSE 10. Hear the LORD’s word, you rulers of Sodom! Listen to the law of our God, you people of Gomorrah!

 

STOP YOUR RELIGIOUS SACRIFICES

 

VERSE 11. “What are the multitude of your sacrifices to me?”, says the LORD. “I have had enough of the burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed animals. I don’t delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of male goats.

I have had enough. The people kept slaughtering animals for their religious sacrifices. But they did not live consistent with the sacrifices. They were hypocrites. The Sovereign LORD was sick of their liturgies and sacrifices.

Isaiah 1:11. “What are the multitude of your sacrifices to me?”, says the LORD. “I have had enough of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed animals. I don’t delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of male goats.

Jeremiah 6:20.  To what purpose does frankincense from Sheba come to me, and the sweet cane from a far country? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable, and your sacrifices are not pleasing to me.

Amos 5:21. I hate, I despise your feasts, and I can’t stand your solemn assemblies.

Hebrews 10:8. Previously saying, “Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin you didn’t desire, neither had pleasure in them” (those which are offered according to the law),

 

VERSE 12. When you come to appear before me, who has required this at your hand, to trample my courts?

 

VERSE 13. Bring no more vain offerings. Incense is an abomination to me. New moons, Sabbaths, and convocations: I can’t stand evil assemblies.

 

VERSE 14. My soul hates your New Moons and your appointed feasts. They are a burden to me. I am weary of bearing them.

 

VERSE 15. When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you. Yes, when you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood.

I will not hear. Their own hypocrisy had alienated them from the Sovereign LORD.

 

FOUR STEPS TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE

 

VERSE 16. Wash yourselves. Make yourself clean. Put away the evil of your doings from before my eyes. Cease to do evil.

Cease to do evil. They needed to repent. But what does it mean to repent? For most Christians, it means to feel sad and to ask forgiveness. But Isaiah calls for more. Much more.

Isaiah calls people to change their lives. He maps out four steps:

STEP ACTION VERSE
1 Cease doing evil Verse 16
2 Learn to do good Verse 17
3 Become an advocate of justice Verse 17
4 Help people who are suffering and marginalized Verse 17

 

VERSE 17. Learn to do well. Seek justice. Relieve the oppressed. Defend the fatherless. Plead for the widow.”

Learn to do well. The second step in changing their lives is to learn to do good.

Seek justice. The third step in changing their lives is to become advocates of justice.

Relieve the oppressed. The fourth step in changing their lives is to act for the betterment of people who are suffering and marginalized.

 

VERSE 18. “Come now, and let’s reason together,” says the LORD: “Though your sins are as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

let’s reason together. It is time to set things right. God desires that we stop doing wrong, and start doing right.

your sins are as scarlet. Their lives were full of evil deeds.

they shall be as white as snow. After they cease doing evil, and after they start doing right, then their lives will have been reformed.

 

VERSE 19. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good of the land;

 

VERSE 20. but if you refuse and rebel, you will be devoured with the sword; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken it.”

 

THE LORD’S LAMENT OVER JERUSALEM

 

VERSE 21. How the faithful city has become a prostitute! She was full of justice. Righteousness lodged in her, but now there are murderers.

 

VERSE 22. Your silver has become dross, your wine mixed with water.

 

VERSE 23. Your princes are rebellious and companions of thieves. Everyone loves bribes and follows after rewards. They don’t defend the fatherless, neither does the cause of the widow come to them.

Your princes are rebellious. The leaders of the nation were the worst people in the world.

 

THE LORD DECLARES THE SENTENCE

 

VERSE 24. Therefore the Lord, GOD of Hosts, the Mighty One of Israel, says: “Ah, I will get relief from my adversaries, and avenge myself on my enemies.

 

VERSE 25. I will turn my hand on you, thoroughly purge away your dross, and will take away all your tin.

 

VERSE 26. I will restore your judges as at the first, and your counselors as at the beginning. Afterward you shall be called ‘The city of righteousness, a faithful town.’

I will restore your judges. In Old Testament history, the judges were great heroes of the faith.

 

VERSE 27. Zion shall be redeemed with justice, and her converts with righteousness.

redeemed with justice. After Zion stops doing evil, and after Zion starts doing good, then Zion will have been redeemed.

 

VERSE 28. But the destruction of transgressors and sinners shall be together, and those who forsake the LORD shall be consumed.

 

VERSE 29. For they shall be ashamed of the oaks which you have desired, and you shall be confounded for the gardens that you have chosen.

 

VERSE 30. For you shall be as an oak whose leaf fades, and as a garden that has no water.

 

VERSE 31. The strong will be like tinder, and his work like a spark. They will both burn together, and no one will quench them.”

 


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Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.


 

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