Our reading today picks up after yesterday’s warning to “stop regarding man, in whose nostrils is breath, for of what account is he?” For in the Day of the LORD, “mankind will cast away their idols of silver and their idols of gold… to enter the caverns of the rocks and the clefts of cliffs, from before the terror of the LORD, and from the splendor of His majesty.”
In chapters 3 and 4 the LORD promises “…to enter into judgment with the elders and princes of His people…” Listen for the accusations He levels, and later, when again promising a day when the branch of the LORD shall be beautiful and glorious, there will appear over Mount Zion a familiar sight: “a cloud by day, and smoke and the shining of flaming fire by night.”
In the middle of chapter 5, Isaiah draws a critical distinction: “Man is humbled, and each one is brought low…But the LORD of hosts is exalted in justice, and the Holy God shows Himself holy in righteousness.” Multiple times throughout these opening chapters, the LORD is not satisfied to refer to Himself simply by name, but insists that His right to judge is based upon a holiness and righteousness that man does not possess.
This is crucial to the indictment against Israel. The LORD Himself is the horizon against which Isaiah can declare, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil… who are wise in their own eyes.” The LORD planted a vineyard and gave it everything it needed; what more was there to do for it? Why did it not produce good grapes?
The commissioning of Isaiah in chapter 6 occurs “In the year that King Uzziah died,” approximately 740 B.C. It’s as majestic and terrifying as anything we witnessed with Moses and Aaron. Seraphim calling to each other above the throne “Holy, Holy, Holy is the LORD of Hosts!” …Isaiah’s terror at the vision, “Woe is me! For I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips! …and his response to the LORD’s query, “Whom shall I send, and who shall go for us? …Here I am! Send me!”
Our verse for this week is Romans 8:38-39: For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Isaiah 3 through 6. Now let’s read it!
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.