This past weekend we began our study through the Old Testament book of Isaiah. It promises to be an amazing journey for us as we see the glory and character of God more clearly, understand His plan of redemption more completely, and see Jesus more fully. In the sermon, we set the groundwork that is necessary to help us begin our journey. We discussed how Isaiah (and any Old Testament prophet) has both an immediate context (ancient Israel, specific geography, specific political pressures, etc) and an ultimate context (pointing toward Jesus and the final day of judgment and God’s eternal kingdom). Both of these contexts are necessary if we are going to understand and apply the book of Isaiah to our lives.
Interpreting and Applying Isaiah
We spoke about the path of interpretation and application that we must travel as we study this book: from (1) the biblical text, to (2) ancient Israel which was the immediate context, then (3) through Jesus who is the ultimate context, and finally (4) down to our lives as those who have trusted in Christ. The following graphics (compliments of the Simeon Trust) illustrate this path, as well as the dangers of taking any shortcuts.
- If we go only from the text to Ancient Israel, then our study will be merely academic and focused on learning details about the original audience.
- If we go from Ancient Israel and apply the message straight to us, then we will end up with a moralistic study the simply emphasizes sin, obedience, and judgment with the basic message being “don’t be like the Israelites”.
- If we go from the text straight to Jesus (ignoring the immediate context) then we will end up with an overly-spiritualized study assuming that every concept and idea somehow points to Jesus.
For next week we will cover Isaiah 1:1-20 if you want to read ahead. God has great things in store as we begin this journey together!