Read 192.) II Kings 20:21 thru 21:16 and II Chronicles 33:1 thru 9; and 193.) Isaiah 40 thru 41:10. It happens… we’ve all seen it. A good pastor’s son becomes a wicked profligate sinner. Here, a godly king, the best Judah had had, was the father of that king which became the most wicked. How was that possible? Do we blame the father? What about personal responsibility on the son’s part? Was it God’s fault? After all, He’s in ‘control,’ right? Good King Hezekiah of Judah passes away, and his son, Manasseh, at the age of 12, ascends to the throne. He was said to have done evil in the eyes of the Lord, and then a list of his offenses, his ‘rap sheet,’ if you will, is listed for us. Included in the list is the human sacrifice of his own sons! For all this: Judgment is decreed against Judah and Jerusalem. It’s now the upper 600’s BC, and only 100 more years will pass when all that was pronounced against Judah will fall out on them. O, and this king? He was also in the line of David to Jesus, the Messiah! And, then, get this! God lets this king, wicked Manasseh, rule over His people for 55 years; longer than any other! Can anything good come of this? We’ll see! But, first, more from Isaiah.
There are “Two Isaiah’s,” in a sense. The first 39 chapters are largely the pronouncements of judgments upon Israel and Judah, and other nations of peoples. And, now, as of 722 BC, Israel has been swept away by Assyria. This empire has also come back more than once to take Judah, but the Lord spared it, primarily because of good King Hezekiah’s faithfulness. In the face of what would appear to be certain doom for the remnant of God’s people, Isaiah is given a ‘fresh wind,’ a new tone to his prophesying, which can be found throughout the remaining 27 chapters. It would seem to be just after 700 BC that all this is written. Let’s revel in the first part of this ‘Second Isaiah.’ He must have been as surprised, as we will be, by all the hope that is poured out for the sake of future Israel, in the face of such grim present prospects.
Chapter 40 opens with high Millennial promise of Israel’s restoration in verses 1 thru 5. It begins with a revelation of the glory of the Lord, which is Jesus! He would be preceded by a forerunner, as all 4 Gospel writers noted, each quoting from verses 3 and 4. Verses 9 thru 11 are more of the same… it is Jesus! The remainder of the chapter declares God’s glory. He is awesome! And, it ends on a very high note for the faithful; one of our favorite verses. This hope is for all who truly believe! Then, chapter 41:1-10. It is similar, in that He speaks of empowering empires to do His bidding in verses 1 thru 7, as Assyria, then Babylon, and later Media will do. But, above it all, He closes with hope in verses 8 thru 10, to say that He will be with Israel, restore her, and greatly use her! It’s what the Book is all about!
Harold F Crowell