The Calling of God’s Servant

Reading Time: 5 Minutes A new section of Isaiah’s prophecy begins with chapter 49. It details the ministry of God’s Servant. The only way to interpret the Servant of the Lord is to see the Servant as a person, who is best identified with the life and ministry of Jesus. In a lesser way, the […]

Learning to Listen

Reading Time: 6 Minutes Moses gave God’s people a prayer that is known by the first word of the prayer, “Shema.” The prayer is the centerpiece of the daily morning and evening prayer services and is considered by some the most essential prayer in all of Judaism. Worshipers pray, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord is […]

The Obedience of Faith

Reading Time: 6 Minutes Jeremiah’s evaluation of the human inside condition is quite revealing. The heart is devious above all else;it is perverse—who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17.9) Like Jeremiah, Isaiah revealed the inner workings of the mind of his audience. They believed that they trusted God, but did they have faith or did they […]

Accountable Before God

Reading Time: 6 minutes Abraham pleaded for the fate of Sodom and asked a compelling question of God. He said, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” (Genesis 18.25). More than any other prophet, Isaiah identified God’s nature with the words “righteousness and justice.” If Isaiah were to answer Abraham’s […]

Babylonian Behavior

Reading Time: 7 Minutes The Hebrew people were exiled to Babylon. Isaiah prophesied both the exile and the return from exile of God’s people. Babylon is also mentioned in the Book of Revelation. The nation is a symbol of a way of living that everyone should avoid. Babylon Behavior in Revelation Before we turn to […]

The Potter and the Clay

Reading Time: 5 Minutes God does not expect us to suffer in silence, during the tough times of life. Many of the Psalms, along with the Book of Job are filled with examples of complaints to God about human suffering. When we are confused about what God is doing in the world, we can ask […]

Cyrus and Christian Nationalism

Reading Time: 7 Minutes Isaiah 45 describes how the Persian king, Cyrus, was used by God to deliver the Hebrews from exile in Babylon. In recent years the picture of Cyrus has been applied to political figures in America with the belief that governmental leaders will restore American Christians to an advantageous place in culture. […]

Memories and Future Plans

Reading Time: 5 Minutes “You can’t make your mind forget what your heart won’t, good memories may fade from the mind but great memories live on through the heart.” These thoughts by Rashida Rowe capture the role of why remembering is important to people. The Command to Remember God commanded his people to remember the […]

Another Message About Idols

Reading Time: 7 Minutes Rudy Ross and I produce a daily video that corresponds to these blog articles. It can be found on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel. When we came to Isaiah 44.9-20, Rudy wondered why there are so many references to the futility of idols in Isaiah’s book. I told Rudy about one […]

The Gift of the Holy Spirit

Reading Time: 5 Minutes John the Baptist preached, “I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matthew 3.11). Isaiah is one of several Old Testament authors […]

Salvation by Grace

Reading Time: 5 Minutes The great English preacher, Charles Spurgeon wrote a book with the title, “All of Grace.” The title summarizes an enormous truth about God’s love that all we receive from God is grace. Like Spurgeon, Isaiah was a preacher of grace. He spoke for God and revealed God’s heart of love and […]

Four Truths About God

Reading Time: 5 Minutes Old Testament Theology in a Verse If we read Isaiah like a novel or a school assignment, we will miss the way the prophet compressed vital information into small spaces. Verses 14 and 15 are prime examples of powerful truths of his communication skills. Thus says the Lord,your Redeemer, the Holy […]

Helping Others Believe

Reading Time: 6 Minutes I greatly enjoy producing YouTube videos with Rudy Ross. Rudy is Jewish and I am a Gentile. I occasionally tell Rudy that the presence of Jewish people on earth is a testimony to the reality of God. Given what has happened to them, the Hebrew people should have wiped the race […]

God’s Declaration of Love

Reading Time: 5 Minutes Isaiah 43 reads as a declaration of love from God to his people. I think the best way to appreciate this passage is to read it slowly and meditatively. Today, we will examine it a verse at a time and point out God’s abundant love for us. We Belong to God […]

God’s Guidance – Our Rebellion

Reading Time: 5 Minutes Isaiah 42 presents a grand description of God’s goodness for his people. — Verses 1-4 – A Servant who will provide the kind of justice and well-being that only God can give is promised. — Verses 5-9 – The job description of God’s Servant and our role as servants are presented. […]

Why Praise is Important

Reading Time: 5 Minutes Isaiah encourages every living being to sing of God’s praise with these words: Sing to the Lord a new song,his praise from the end of the earth!” (Isaiah 42.10). Why should people make praise a daily part of their lives? How would the daily expression of praise benefit us? The next […]

Service Work with Jesus

Reading Time: 5 Minutes Jesus is the perfect Servant of the Lord, but God’s grace allows ordinary people to serve along with him. Our service may resemble the elephant and the flea who crossed a swinging bridge. After they had traveled a shaking bridge, the flea whispered in the elephant’s ear, “We really shook ’em, […]

Jesus – The Servant of the Lord

Reading Time: 6 Minutes Matthew quoted the first four verses of Isaiah 42 to present Jesus as the fulfillment of God’s promise to give the world a perfect Servant (See Matthew 12.15-21). The Servant Song of Isaiah is truly good news. The greatest news is that Jesus fulfilled this mission perfectly. Isaiah wrote, Here is […]

The Utter Weakness of Idols

Reading Time: 5 Minutes In 1928 a farmer unearthed an ancient tomb in northwest Syria. The subsequent excavation of the tomb provided new information into the regional beliefs about their gods. According to the Department of Ancient Near Eastern Art, “The major gods reflect local geographical concerns about the fertility of the earth and the […]

Fear Not!

Reading Time: 6 Minutes I spoke with a friend on Sunday, who despaired about how dangerous the world is becoming. I agreed, but then said, “A man once said that as long as he was living in the will of the Lord he was invincible until he had finished with the mission God had given […]

The Servant of the Lord

Reading Time: 6 Minutes Isaiah 41.8-10 is the first time in Isaiah that we are introduced to the concept of God’s servant. What could servants in Isaiah’s day expect from God? What can servants of the Lord expect from him in 2021? Isaiah wrote this approximately 700 years before the time of Jesus. But you, […]

The Nations In God’s Courtroom

Reading Time: 5 Minutes A television commercial from years gone by said, “When E. F. Hutton speaks, everyone listens.” It is always a good idea to listen to an authority, whether it is financial, or some other source of good information. If we are willing to listen to human authority, how much more should we […]

Action in Waiting

Reading Time: 5 Minutes The last verse of Isaiah 40 has been the inspiration for songs, greeting cards, and pictures. When people ask me to read the verse for a special occasion, they may not know the Scripture location, but they often can quote at least a phrase or two from it. Those who wait […]

Idols Compared to God

Reading Time: 7 Minutes The first two of the Ten Commandments read as follows: “You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under […]

The Foundation of Trust

Reading Time: 5 Minutes Two questions must be answered before we become willing to trust our lives to God. (1) Does God care for me? Does he love me and have my best interests in mind? (2) Is God willing and able to be involved in my life? Does God take action in the day-to-day […]

Our Pain – God’s Comfort

Reading Time: 5 Minutes The opening words of Isaiah 40 are so beautiful that Handel used them in his famous opera, the “Messiah.” This chapter sets the stage for the remaining message from God to his people in Isaiah. A Message of Comfort The history of the Hebrew people is filled with tragic and horrific […]

How God Transforms Us

Reading Time: 6 Minutes Following a dramatic experience with God, Isaiah was called to be a prophet. God’s awesome presence was so profound that he exclaimed, “Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the […]

Healing Prayer

Reading Time: 6 Minutes I became familiar with Ed Silvoso when I was part of the City-Wide Prayer Movement in Kansas City. Silvoso was a leader of a significant revival movement in his home country of Argentina. His most important contribution to the church is in the way he combines prayer, evangelism, and community transformation. […]

Pride Versus Praise

Reading Time: 6 Minutes We are nearing the end of the first half of Isaiah’s message. Chapter 40 begins a new emphasis. Prideful trust in human power and abilities is one of the major themes of the first section of Isaiah. In contrast to pride, Isaiah presents an alternative. Trust in God that is rooted […]

Instructions for 911 Prayers

Reading Time: 6 Minutes Hezekiah was the king of the Southern Kingdom (Judah). He was in the capital city of Jerusalem with the Massive And Powerful Assyrian Army surrounding the city. The Assyrians proposed surrender and cited several deceptive ways that surrender would be in the best interests of the king and his people. If […]

The Seduction of Unbelief

Reading Time: 6 Minutes The first verse of Isaiah 36 sets the stage for a description of the most common temptations that humans face. The setting was this: “In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, King Sennacherib of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them” (Isaiah 36.1). As the […]

The Holy Highway

Reading Time: 5 Minutes No rule book details how God is “supposed” to behave. As God, he can act any way he desires. Humans are most fortunate to have a Creator who has a nature that is defined by Paul with these characteristics: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5.22-23). […]

The Future That The Prophet Saw

Reading Time: 5 Minutes God has given us glimpses of the future to encourage our hope and faith. Prophets like Isaiah were able to see the future and relate it to the generations who followed them. John was right when he said, “Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet […]

The Most Important Decision of Life

Reading Time: 5 Minutes The Bible teaches from cover to cover the fact that “God is love” (1 John 4.8). God is the most loving Being of all, but he is not a pushover. If he were, it would be to our detriment. As God’s creatures, we are made to follow his guidance. If God […]

How to Pray for the Nations

Reading Time: 6 Minutes The conflict in Israel has dominated the news for the past several days. This passage in the Book of Isaiah provides words to pray for both sides of the conflict. If we pray for our enemies as Jesus taught us, it is a sign of a God-like character. Here is the […]

Human Failure – God’s Opportunity

Reading Time: 5 Minutes Human failure is not the last word in a person’s life. Often our failure leads us desperately appeal to God for his help. The people of the Southern Kingdom (Judah and capital city, Jerusalem) became desperate when all of their schemes failed. Their failure brought them to a place where God […]

God is Exalted

Reading Time: 6 Minutes God is exalted when we place him in the highest place in our lives. He deserves first place and we exalt him when he plays that role in our lives. If you’ve been following these articles in Isaiah, you know that the Judeans (Southern Kingdom) did not exalt God. They observed […]

Under New Management

Reading Time: 5 Minutes When Jesus appeared in Galilee, he proclaimed, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news” (Mark 1.15). It was a though Jesus posted billboards across the nation, “Under New Management.” The time of bad government was at an end and […]

God’s Gift of Peace

Reading Time: 5 Minutes Some church leaders complained to one of my friends, “You seem to only have one message and that is all you preach about.” My friend replied, “When you start doing what I’m talking about, I will change the subject.” I am sure Isaiah would have sympathized with my friend. Almost the […]

Good News – Bad News

Reading Time: 5 Minutes One of the most quoted verses in the Bible declares God’s great love for people. The familiar words, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life” (John 3.16), have practical implications beyond […]

The Spirit-Filled Life

Reading Time: 6 Minutes One of God’s greatest gifts to humans is the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Joel prophesied about a time when the Spirit’s presence would be available to every person. Then afterwardI will pour out my Spirit on all flesh;your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,your old men shall […]

Isaiah and the 12 Steps

Reading Time: 7 Minutes When I read Isaiah’s argument with the people of Jerusalem, I was reminded of the first three steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. — Step 1 – We admitted we were powerless over alcohol — that our lives had become unmanageable. — Step 2 – Came to believe that a Power greater than […]

Hiding From God

Reading Time: 6 Minutes There is a consistent pattern in the Book of Isaiah from chapters 7 to 39. An outline of that pattern is as follows: (1) The leaders and their followers made plans based on the idea that God is not willing or able to be involved in the daily life of humans. […]

A Cause of Spiritual Blindness

Reading Time: 6 Minutes The prophets and priests criticized Isaiah for treating them like children. They claimed that Isaiah was teaching them the same lesson like they were in an elementary schoolroom. The truth of the matter is that they were right. Isaiah had only one or two basic teachings. The problem was that they […]

God Cuts to Cure

Reading Time: 5 Minutes The issue in Isaiah 29 is that God’s children had reached a point where they must be seriously disciplined. With very pained words Isaiah described God’s deep emotion at the coming judgment of his people. The tenderness of God is pictured in the use of Ariel, his pet name for Jerusalem. […]

Scoffers Beware!

Reading Time: 5 Minutes The word, “scoffer” appears to the modern reader to be a moderate expression of disapproval when in fact it is the strongest word in the Hebrew Bible to describe wickedness. Not only does the “scoffer” choose the wrong way, but this person adds to wrongdoing by mocking the right way. A […]

A Sad Leadership Story

Reading Time: 7 Minutes A bit of ancient history will help our understanding of Isaiah 28.1-13. After the reign of King Solomon, a civil war took place and the nation was divided into two countries. The Northern Kingdom was named Israel and sometimes Ephraim. Judah was the name of the Southern Kingdom. Isaiah’s primary message […]

Stories of Three Vineyards

Reading Time: 6 Minutes When I read Isaiah 27, I was reminded of two other vineyard stories in the Bible. The first is a parable of disappointment and destruction. Isaiah sang a song for his Beloved. He told of hard work on the part of the vine-dresser. He cleared stones, built a wall, constructed stone […]

Faith and Suffering

Reading Time: 5 Minutes It was ages ago, but I still remember one of my favorite professor’s message about faith in a chapel talk. His text was Jesus’ famous teaching about faith moving mountains. Jesus said, “For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to […]

A Peaceful and Smooth Walk

Reading Time: 5 Minutes One early morning I met my summer job employer at his farm. One of the cows had pink eye and needed treatment. My task that morning was to round up the cow and bring her to the vet. I tromped through what seemed like knee-high, wet grass to the far end […]