Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives. The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version. At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture. To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1.
Questions & Observations
Q. (Isaiah 8:6-7): I notice God is using water images to describe his care — gently flowing waters of Shiloah— and his anger — a mighty flood from the Euphrates River. God is not talking about a real flood right, just that it will feel like one when the king of Assyria sweeps through. What is the significance of using water?
A. In a primarily agrarian society, it would have been imagery they would have been very familiar with. Also, in Israel, there are many water courses called wadis — we would call them creek beds in the US — that would have been prone to flooding, so floods would have been familiar to these people as well.
Q. (8:8): Immanuel is the Lord, right?
A. Yes. Isaiah is saying that God will remain faithful to His people, or perhaps he is calling out for the God who is with them to have mercy.
O. (8:13-14): Love these verses!
Q. (8:16-17): I don’t understand how these verses fit in with the threats of the previous verses. If this prophecy is imminent, why follow it with these instructions?
A. It appears that these verses are meant to be instruction for Judah, which will be able to see that Isaiah’s words will come true, just as God told him, and therefore they will, hopefully, turn back to God.
Q. (8:19): This really says point blank how ridiculous it is to call on the dead for guidance. Why should you consult someone who isn’t there? Consult God who is sovereign.
A. Manipulating the dead for personal gain was common practice in that day, and Israel had been taken in by all kinds of pagan practices in this era. But yes, talking to God would be the wise move.
Q. (9:1-7): This passage jumps from the 700s BC to when Jesus comes to eternity. That’s pretty cool. This sound like a marvelous time. Is this the same glory described in Amos 9:11-15? I don’t know if this is Jesus being born that is being described or the second coming of Christ.
A. It is casting a vision for the Kingdom of God, which is associated with the Jewish Day of Resurrection (much of which Isaiah and the other prophets help shape, so keep your eyes peeled for other visions), and what Christians call the Second Coming. Both of these concepts center around the end of life as we know it and the establishment of the Messiah as the true Godly ruler. That’s the point of deviance between Jews and Christians: who this Messiah/Christ is. Jews believe that the Messiah has not yet come, while Christians believe that He has in the person of Jesus.
Q. (9:6b): I have heard this verse before, but I don’t know what it means, “the government will rest on his shoulders.”
A. He will be the foundation of the government. It will “rest” upon Him.
Q. (9:8-10:4): “His fist is still poised to strike” is said 4 times here. God is really ticked? Rightly so!!! Does God’s anger go away in the NT after Jesus’s death on the cross? I just imagine that with this ultimate sacrifice — ultimate pain suffered by God and Jesus — that maybe nothing else could hurt his feelings. He is given all he can give, so with Jesus’ death, he lays our salvation in our laps. If we can’t accept what He did for us, then we don’t deserve heaven.
A. Our world today is no less sinful than the world these words were written in. I would say it would not be correct to say that God’s anger (or wrath) “goes away” in our present world, but I might say it’s a fair assessment to say that the sacrifice of Jesus altered the way that God deals with sin.
Q. (9:18-21): Is this judgment day being described here?
A. It’s a description of the demise of Israel.
Q. (10:1): God speaks frequently about unjust judges and unfair scales. I guess those who are in positions of ruling may be punished more severely for their sins?
A. In Luke 12:48, Jesus reminds us that to whom much is given, much is expected, and James 3:1 warns that people in positions of authority — he’s talking about teachers, but the point is extensive — will be held to a higher standard. I think it is very fair to say that this is a Biblical standard.
O. (10:15): I like Isaiah’s metaphors for God’s power. Nothing has (good) power without the will of God.
Q. (10:20): Isaiah is speaking of Assyria here when he says, “allies who seek to destroy them?”
A. Not specifically. He’s saying that Israel will no longer have to make “deals with the devil”: they will be free from having to make deals with other nations who may not have their best interest at heart.
Q. (11:15-16): Is the Euphrates like this today, split into seven streams? Is “seven” significant here? We also have some re-enacting of Exodus here?
A. No, the Euphrates is a huge river even today. These verses are talking about defeating the enemies of Israel. The Assyrians would have come from Iraq, where the Euphrates runs through. Isaiah is basically saying that God will defeat two of Israel’s enemies (at least) by destroying their water supply. He is also using Exodus imagery, but only to show that God has already “defeated” the Red Sea when the people crossed over.