Day 13 Isaiah 25:1-26:6 ... Eloquent Hope

In addition to his role as adviser to kings, Isaiah was a writer of enormous talent, the Milton or Shakespeare of Hebrew literature. No other biblical author can match his rich vocabulary and use or imagery, and the New Testament quotes him more than all the other prophets combined. Many of his majestic phrases have become a familiar part of the English vocabulary.

Using his great ability, Isaiah tried to awaken Judah from its spiritual slump. Like most of the prophets, he preached a two-part message of (1) Judgment to come unless people radically change their ways; and (2) Hope in a future when God will restore not only the Israelites, but the whole world.

During the period when Judah was fat, self-indulgent, and reveling in luxury, Isaiah warned of a reckoning day. But later, when Jerusalem was surrounded by foreign troops, Isaiah offered stirring words of hope. World-class tyrants didnât intimidate Isaiah; he knew that God could toss them aside like twigs.

Isaiah summons up latent human longings for a better world. He had no doubt that God will one day transform this pockmarked planet into a new earth that has no tears, no pain, no death. In the future world as pictured by Isaiah, wild animals will lie beside each other in peace. Weapons will be melted into farm tools.

At a given point in history, God may appear powerless, or blithely unconcerned about the violence and evil that plague this planet. The people of Jerusalem certainly questioned his concern in the face of the Assyrian invasion. Isaiah gave them a local message of hope: entrust your future to God alone. And he expanded that message to encompass the entire world.

Isaiah 24-27 gives a preview of the end of all history. First will come a difficult time, when God purifies the stained earth. Like a woman in childbirth, the earth will undergo pain and struggle. But what follows next will be a future life so wonderful we can barely imagine it. In chapters like this one, Isaiah helps us imagine it.

Point to Ponder: What gives you hope about the future?