Project 119: Introduction to Isaiah

 |  Project 119  |  Amy Hirsch

The book of Isaiah can be intimidating. First of all, Isaiah is lengthy - with 66 chapters, it’s one of the longest books in the Bible! And, its subject matter can be a bit daunting. Isaiah prophesied during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah (Isaiah 1:1). His ministry spanned over sixty years and while he wrote primarily to the southern kingdom of Judah, Isaiah also spoke to several other nations. It’s easy to get all of these countries and rulers confused. And, to make things even more challenging, the book of Isaiah is a prophetic work. Sometimes it’s hard to understand prophecy and everything gets a bit murky when we start reading about the moon turning to blood, right?

Our goal for this Bible reading plan isn’t that you master the book of Isaiah in its entirety or even that you read the entire book. We’ll be reading selections over seven weeks from seven sections of Isaiah. Our goal is to help people begin to understand Isaiah’s ministry and prophetic work, and to learn how to engage in biblical prophecy. There are many prophetic books in the Bible, but we often come with the misconception that prophecy is all about future events. The Old Testament prophets did foretell some things, yes, but you’ll see that most of Isaiah’s ministry focuses on him declaring God’s word to God’s people and warning them of the consequences if they didn’t obey it. In some ways, the work of a prophet is similar to the work of a preacher or pastor.

Each week, we’ll give you an overview of that week’s readings to help give you some clarity on what is happening in the book of Isaiah. One of the things you’ll see is that the unifying theme of Isaiah is God’s supreme reign. The book of Isaiah begins with Isaiah warning the people of Judah to turn to God instead of trusting in worldly powers. He foretells of the coming exile they will face if they don’t listen to God’s word and turn to Him in repentance. Then, we’ll see a shift in the middle of Isaiah as Isaiah begins to speak prophetically to those who will suffer exile under the hand of Babylon. Isaiah reminds them to hope in God and promises them that they will one day be restored to Him. The end of Isaiah gives us a fuller picture of this restoration, when God will dwell with humanity and when all people - Gentiles and Jews - will see the glory of the Lord revealed.

We’re excited that you are taking this journey with us through the book of Isaiah this fall. As you engage with this prophecy, our prayer is that God’s word would convict you of your sin and encourage you to place your hope in Him.