“How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?” (Psalm 13:2).
This week we are solidly in the prophetic section of the Old Testament as we read the end of Isaiah and all of Jeremiah. So far we have covered books of historical narrative, law, and wisdom literature. In the prophetic literature the tone, message, and style changes significantly from prior books.
We have already seen Israel and Judah subjected to exile. And we have seen some who returned to God. Isaiah and Jeremiah are reminders that God had sent prophets warning His people away from their sin and begging them to return to Him. In fact, Isaiah’s whole life was dedicated to imploring the people of Israel to return to God!
At this point we can see that Israel has fallen far, her former glory a distant memory. Yet God’s glorious promises remain. Abraham’s line has grown through the generations, but it does not yet number more than the stars in the sky or the sand on the seashore. These promises are still waiting for their ultimate fulfillment. And that great day is now closer than before.
Isaiah Throughout Isaiah, God tells the Israelites that they have cursed God and will therefore be cursed if they don’t turn from their ways. Israel had already succumbed to the Assyrians. Judah was now threatened with destruction by the Babylonians. God had called Isaiah to tell Israel to turn from her ways and avoid His wrath. It is a warning that still echoes in our ears.
And yet, Isaiah overflows with hope and a deep longing for the coming Messiah. We see shadows of Him in the first chapters, and ultimately the messianic theme culminates in chapter 53 with the “suffering servant.” In fact, throughout Jesus’ future ministry it would often be the words of Isaiah used to describe and authenticate it.
This is an incredible picture of the biblical tension that exists throughout Scripture – that a holy and just God will punish sin, yet will Himself pay the ultimate price to rescue the people He loves.
Jeremiah Jeremiah is known as the “weeping prophet.” This book of prophecy is also full of messianic themes predicting the coming Messiah, and also foretells a new covenant between God and His people.
Throughout his writing, Jeremiah pleads with his countrymen to turn from evil and repent – but to no avail. God had called Jeremiah to be His witness to a generation that would never listen or repent.
Still, he foretells a day to come when God’s law will be written on the hearts of His people.
Encouraging Comments from B90 Readers
Wow, what a difference reading through the Bible in 90 days makes. I’ve just turned 90, and I have tried several reading plans to get through in a year. The readings would often end in the middle of an idea or event, leaving you sometimes wondering where you left off. But reading through in 90 days means you go from one complete event to another. I really can’t wait until tomorrow to see where He is leading us. Just because I’m 90, doesn’t mean I’ve stopped living or waiting. I don’t see anyone in the Old or New Testament retiring. So bring on the kingdom.
Sugar Ray, Washington
I hope it isn’t wrong to say that I am proud of myself, but I am. I have never enjoyed reading the Bible like I have come to now. I find that my focus all day, every day, is to complete my reading. Reading a sufficient amount of Scripture each day gives me a much clearer vision of this awesome Word.
Victoria Clark, Tennessee
After seeing Israel fail over and over to keep the law, our first thought might be disbelief: “How could they be such incredible failures?” But our second thought, if we’re honest, is that we are the incredible failures, as well.
At the end of Isaiah and Jeremiah, God offers hope through the promise of a new covenant. Israel turned from God and suffered His punishment, but God would send one person who would listen and obey Him. And even better, He would listen and obey on the behalf of others.
How much does God love you that He would see your failures, forgive you, and then see youas righteous because of Christ?