We meet Isaiah in this passage. We don’t get much more than time, length, and place for him. But these are important points for him.
The first thing Isaiah tells us is that he had visions. God gave Isaiah visions to share with Judah to right their course with Him. He also gave him object lessons for the people. God’s people are wandering far from Him. They were in danger from God’s righteous judgment and wrath. I wonder how things would have turned out if they had listened.
Next, we get ONE glimpse into Isaiah’s lineage. Isaiah’s father is mentioned in three places in this book and also in 2 Kings in chapters 19 and 20. In all these instances, we learn nothing more of him than that he was Isaiah’s father. We don’t know his father, his profession, or even his heart towards the Lord. I can imagine that his father taught Isaiah fairly well for him to be so dedicated to the Lord.
Now it’s onto where he used the visions God gave him. Rather than being a prophet to both kingdoms, God had him focus on the remnant He has left in the hands of David’s descendants. This would be the path into which Jesus would enter this world. Through the tribe of Judah.
Finally, we turn to the span of his life. When I go back to the graphic I have on the timeline of the kings, I find that there are 96 years in total covering the kings identified here. We don’t know exactly when Isaiah’s life began or ended in this span but that’s a LOT of years! Isaiah would have advised the middle kings all their reigns but the outer kings probably only got his ‘advice’ during part of their reigns.
Isaiah probably lived many of these years but we can probably cross off several of these years to account for his youth. I doubt he was having visions as a child. However many years he spoke for the Lord, his words were amazing! And not always heeded.
One other thing I noticed when looking at my kings chart is that Isaiah’s beginning and end point were anchored with godly kings. Uzziah and Hezekiah are both counted as “good kings, in terms of religious leadership or reform.” When looking beyond the chart, we see that Jotham was a good king too. He walked in the ways of the Lord but didn’t take down the high places where the people were burning incense or making offerings. Uzziah became prideful in his later years and suffered for it. He tried to burn incense on the altar of the Lord, which only priests were allowed to do. For his offense, he was struck with leprosy. His son became co-king until Uzziah died. Ahaz, however, was a BAD king. He walked away from God and even nailed the doors of the Temple shut! I believe Isaiah probably had a LOT to say to this king. King Hezekiah brought the people back to God in a BIG way. But the damage was done and the sin of the people (and their king) had to be paid for. It would be added to the other evil kings lots when Judah finally fell.
Sorry, one more quick note. Israel fell during the reign of King Ahaz. Their sins had piled up enough before God and their ‘account’ came due. It is interesting to note that Israels fall didn’t trigger a reform or repentance from King Ahaz. One would think such an event would. After all, the Northern Kingdom of Israel shared in being God’s people. Personally, I would have looked contemplated their demise and wondered how I could prevent it from happening to my group of people; if I were in Ahaz’s place of course.
Father God, thank You for sending Isaiah to the people. It’s hard to imagine being in his company and NOT listening to Your warnings. But I’m on this side of the story and not living in it. I PRAY I DON’T MAKE THEIR SAME MISTAKE of ignoring Your warnings!
Lead my spirit with Yours as I study the words You sent through Isaiah. Show me how to apply these teachings to my life. Let me approach Your words with an open heart and wonder.