The Message of Prophets
Today we begin our reading of the seventeen books of the prophets (Isaiah 1:1-4:6). It is not a pretty picture they paint of the conditions of Israel and Judah. Some of them, like Isaiah, will preach to and about the southern kingdom of Judah. Others address Israel and even the neighboring nations.
Their message was urgent. God is holy. His people, even those He chose in the lineage of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, are in rebellion against Him. They have grown complacent. They have become accustomed to the new normal of sin. They do not see how far they have fallen from God and His glory.
The prophets are a gift of God to His people. He sends Isaiah and the others because of His love for Israel and Judah. God continues to show His mercy toward them. Through all of this God is shown to be completely pure and even His discipline is filled with grace because some learn from it and turn to Him.
When they do He makes the scarlet stains of sin as white as snow (Isaiah 1:18-20).
Isaiah and all the prophets proclaim hope to us as well as to His ancient people. God would indict sin justly but lay the sins of His people on His Messiah. There is cleansing and forgiveness through the Lamb who would take our deserved punishment. Keep reading.
[For more reflections on this passage, see the corresponding reading in my book Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 days].