Isaiah – God is Salvation

In all their suffering he also suffered,
and he personally rescued them.
In his love and mercy he redeemed them.
He lifted them up and carried them
through all the years. Isaiah 63:9

I was sitting on a bench at a college campus one day in my late teens reading Isaiah 53 and was just overwhelmed at the detail of Isaiah's prophecy and felt like I had to share it with someone – I'm sure you have had moments like this when you discovered something that struck you as genuinely amazing. Another young man was studying at the other end of the bench and I looked over and said, "Excuse me, can I read you something?"
He looked up and kind of refocused himself, seeing that I was just a regular student-type like him, "Sure, I guess," he said. And I read,

"Yet it was our grief he bore, our sorrows that weighed him down. But he was wounded and bruised for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace; he was lashed—and we were healed! We—every one of us—have strayed away like sheep! We, who left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet God laid on him the guilt and sins of every one of us!"
"He was oppressed and he was afflicted, yet he never said a word. He was brought as a lamb to the slaughter; and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he stood silent before the ones condemning him. From prison and trial they led him away to his death. But who among the people of that day realized it was their sins that he was dying for—that he was suffering their punishment? He was buried like a criminal, but in a rich man’s grave; but he had done no wrong and had never spoken an evil word."

I got about that far and looked up. He was still with me. I asked him, "Do you have any idea who that is talking about?"
And he said, "It's talking about Jesus, clearly."
I said, "Are you a Christian?"
"No, but, I mean, that's talking about Jesus, right?" he said.
I said, "Yes, but this is blowing me away."
"Why? Aren't you a Christian? I mean, you're sitting there reading a bible," he said incredulously.
I said, "Yes, but this was written over seven hundred years before Jesus was even born. It sounds like it was written by someone who watched it happen."
"Seven Hundred years?" he said.
"Yeah," I said. He just shook his head and looked down at my bible. He was without words.

I never asked the guy if he wanted to become a Christian, or ever saw him again for that matter, but the look on his face betrayed his heart. Isaiah had got him thinking.

Isaiah spoke of the future as if it were the past. So exact and specific were his prophecies that even in his lifetime they seemed completely impossible. Isaiah spoke of Cyrus the King of Persia by name 100 years before the gentile ruler was even born. And he described the exact actions Cyrus would take to restore the Jewish nation to their homeland – before they had even been exiled. And during Isaiah's life, and continuing after his death, the word of the Lord spoken by him came to pass exactly as he had spoken.

Isaiah was truly the mouthpiece of God during a profoundly difficult time in Israel's history. The nation would be divided into northern and southern kingdoms during his lifetime as brother turned against brother and tribe against tribe. And God used Isaiah to warn of the judgment they were bringing upon themselves, explaining the cost of their disobedience, the loss of land and life, but, for the most part, the people didn't listen.

But woven throughout the book are promises that reached far into the future, prophetic messages from God about a Messiah, a Deliverer of God's people. Not from Pharaoh or Babylon this time, but an ultimate deliverance – from sin and evil.

He begins with the promise of how Christ would come – he would be born of a virgin, "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel." Isaiah 7:14.

Emmanuel, that is, God with us. The promised one would be God himself, conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin, Mary, thus to have a dual nature, Divine and Human. This was the only way salvation could be accomplished.

The Law not only revealed our sinfulness, it revealed our helplessness to overcome the sinfulness. We needed God's help. We needed Him. Personally. And He would come. He promised it through Isaiah (and others). And He promised to come Himself.

In all their suffering he also suffered,
And he personally rescued them.
In his love and mercy he redeemed them.
He lifted them up and carried them
through all the years. Isaiah 63:9

Dear one, God knows you can't redeem yourself, but you're not the first one to try. Salvation is something He had to do for you. For us. God is Salvation. Surrender and trust Him today.

Sincerely,

Ed

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