每日诗歌: 救赎 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWDSKJqPh9U)
Isaiah 37 [Read]
Isaiah 38 [Read]
Philippians 3 [Read]
Isaiah 36-39 serves as a transition between the two major parts of this prophetic book. On the one hand, it provides a historical example for the reality of God’s judgment. On the other hand, it looks forward to the coming of the true Savior for God’s people. Three things I observe in these chapters.
First, God is powerful. The Assyrians were the dominant force in Ancient Near East during the reign of King Hezekiah, and their cruelty was known throughout the region (Isa 37:11-13). They had already brought down the Northern Kingdom by then, and they were ready to destroy the remainder of the Kingdom of David. Hezekiah was understandably concerned (37:3-4). But the sign of the LORD was “…in the third year sow and reap, plant vineyards and eat their fruit” (37:30). The future had been determined by the LORD, and the remnant of Judah would continue to “take root below and bear fruit above” (37:31). So the LORD said, and so it came to be (37:36-37).
Second, God is merciful. Hezekiah was gravely ill, and he prayed and wept bitterly (38:1-3). God answered his prayer and gave him 15 more years to live (38:5). However, it benefits us greatly to pay attention to the reasons behind such extraordinary grace. Isaiah purposely referred God as “the God of your father David” (38:5), hinting that the grace was a result of God’s faithfulness to his covenant with David (see 37:35). Furthermore, the purpose of Hezekiah’s petition for healing was to praise God and to tell his children about God’s faithfulness (38:19). It’s the God-centered petition, not the self-centered grumbling, which was granted.
Finally, man is sinful. After experiencing such extraordinary grace, Hezekiah’s pride took over and caused the eventual downfall of Judah (39:6). The Chronicler tells us that it was actually a test from the LORD (2Ch 32:31), and Hezekiah failed disastrously. Humans are weak, and we can be easily corrupted by power, wealth, and other fleshy desires. Hezekiah’s failure simply shows that we all need a Savior to free us from the strong hold of Sin.
Such Savior is the center of the second part of Isaiah, which begins with the proclamation “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God” (Isa 40:1). A new chapter of mankind is coming to pass, and all shall rejoice greatly. What a hope we have been given!
Keep on reading.