Some random points here from the second lecture. I’m fading fast.
There’s nothing worse than a combination of pride and ignorance. “I’m stupid, and proud of it” is dangerous. Isaiah addresses that.
Isaiah is great at digging the needle in. He uses satire and irony and has an unfailing ability to hit the target.
Materialism leads us to think we don’t need God, which leads to bad stuff.
Some of the greatest issues we have with God are to do with timing – we either want him to move slower or faster than he currently is.
It’s easy to see the problems in society. To isolate and identify them. But it’s very hard to remember to pray for those problems.
Many missionary messages stop at about verse eight of chapter six. Here am I. Send me… but when you keep reading – “you will preach, and their hearts will be hardened. Jeremiah seems to have preached for forty years. And only produced two converts. We can’t buy into the theory that numerical success is linked to ministry. Growth is not a sign of your faithfulness or God blessing you. But nor is the antithesis true – it’s not a case of the smaller you are the more holy you are. We need to be Great Commission churches. Church growth fans sound a lot like prosperity preachers – suggesting that the size of your church is somehow linked to your approach. How do we explain Jonah? He didn’t want any converts and converted a city.
Know your congregation. Know their concerns. That will drive how you apply their lives to the text (not the text to their lives).
How do we do ministry without quitting. We’re required to love people even if we don’t see fruit tangibly. We’re to love our enemies, that’s the mark of a Christian, and it’s hard.
Israel are being called (by Isaiah, in chapter 7) to have faith (in God – where all faith in the OT is directed) in the face of tough times. When the superpower nations around them are agitating for conflict. Israel are scared. For good reason. Evil is real, and it may be out to get you. It was for Israel. Paul used chapters 5-12 to address his small group in the midst of the GFC and a bunch of individual examples of turmoil. Isaiah is a reminder that God is faithfully redeeming his people and bringing them into the new creation.
“If you are not firm in faith you will not stand at all…” (Isaiah 7:9a) is like a theme statement of this section of the book.
Isaiah doesn’t let disappointment with earlier results keep him from ministry. Firm faith requires steadfastness and Isaiah has that quality.
On the renewal of Creation (Isaiah 11:6-9)
Sin mars creation – but nothing will mar the new creation. The future is secure, the future is bright. We should always be a forward looking people. Believers appropriate this theology in the New Testament and we must reclaim it today. We have a home, a king, and a society that is flawless. All the temporal things are going to change so our focus needs to be on serving the servant and going to Zion (this future creation). We’ll have a resurrected body. We need to be focused on that future – not our present brokenness.
If we ask “what is your hope as a Christian” and it’s not marching into Zion and bringing people to the service of the faithful servant then you’ve missed the thrust of Isaiah.
Where is your confidence? it needs to be in the suffering servant whom God has sent. In this season we have every reason to say things and sing songs that we will say and sing forever in the new creation.