They were standing on the brink of Assyrian captivity, and Isaiah was God’s chosen mouthpiece. He was the one to warn his fellow Israelites of impending disaster if they failed to return to God. He was the one to stand out from Israel’s idolatrous culture to recapture any remaining hearts who still wanted to hear the painful truth. But like a modern-day movie where no one believes the hero’s warnings, Israel turned a deaf ear to Isaiah’s words. They mistakenly felt safe in their rebellion.
Isaiah wasn’t surprised. When God called Isaiah to his prophetic work, He revealed His purpose to His prophet. Isaiah was to go and tell—knowing they would reject him. Having hardened their hearts against the One who chose them, they were doomed to ‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’
So what was Isaiah’s point? Why use so much time and energy to tell a message no person wanted to hear? God was recording history—both for them and everyone else in the future who would care to listen. He wanted His people to know: deserting God always leads to death. Though passing pleasures of this temporal life tempt us to distraction, lasting blessing belongs only to those who stay loyal to God, from whom all real blessings come.
Sprinkled throughout thirty-nine chapters of warning, God also painted the ultimate portrait of hope. Though Israel would suffer greatly for her sins, God would send a Messiah to save them. But His chosen One would not resemble the kind of Savior they pictured. God’s own Son would come as a humble servant, sacrificing His own life so God’s people could finally live with Him.
Isaiah reminds us that the bad news about sin is still really bad. It separates us from the holy One who loves us. But the beautiful twist lies in the transforming power of God’s grace. Though we deserved nothing but death, God paid for our sins Himself, offering us abundant life now and forever by faith through grace.