The story of Scripture begins with a record of the creation of the universe. It then focuses in on the creation of mankind and shows how God pursued a personal relationship with Adam and Eve. Unfortunately, sin entered the world and the relationship between God and man was broken- but not irreparably. The rest of the Old Testament shows how God progressively revealed himself to his fallen creatures, established a special nation to represent him on earth, revealed his expectations for how people ought to live in his world, and set up a sacrificial system that provided atonement for sin. Scripture is full of tragedy because people pursue sinful passions in place of God, but it is also full of hope because God never gives up on his people.
After the fall, flood, and tower of Babel, God chose to reveal himself to a man named Abram. He called Abram and promised to give him offspring, provide a land for them to live in, and make him a blessing to those who blessed him. This covenant was not fulfilled entirely during Abram’s lifetime, so the promises were extended to Isaac and Jacob. When Jacob was an old man, he and his sons moved from the land of Canaan to Egypt to weather a severe famine. The Egyptians eventually took advantage of them and forced their descendants into slavery, as God had predicted earlier. Eventually, God raised up Moses to deliver his people. After they departed Egypt, God met his people in the wilderness to give them the law. God’s law was meant to show his people how to live as a holy nation in an unholy world and show them their dependence upon the Lord. Immediately, the people failed to keep the law and the years between the giving of the law and the exile to Assyria and Babylon testify to the people’s inability to please God in their own strength. There are a few people who walked with God along the way, but not many. Isaiah was one of the few.
By the time Isaiah entered the scene, the Israelites had almost completely abandoned their God. Breaking his commands, they forsook proper worship and adopted the idols and pagan practices of the nations around them. They continued offering sacrifices as prescribed in the law, but their hearts were far from God. For this reason, God had Isaiah tell the people that judgement was coming and that they would be removed from the land. Fortunately, there was more to the message. While God predicted the judgement that awaited Judah (and the surrounding nations) for their rebellion, he also promised to preserve a remnant, send his servant, and restore Jerusalem through justice and righteousness. These posts focus on God’s promise to send his servant.