July 19, 2008

salvation in isaiah

i am still intermittently studying Isaiah. last year when i chose to start on Isaiah, i wanted to do some digging and chewing, and i have. sometimes this study is tough going: the gap between Isaiah and I (culture, language, era, background, etc.) is so great and so new that it seems like i'm plugging away at "insignificant" details of seemingly little spiritual relevance (like trying understand the reference to "wine on the lees" in 25:6). at times i do a lot of digging, only to come up with information that seems un-revolutionary. i want to
(1) objectively understand the original intent of the author (this is first and hardest), but i know that i also need to
(2) personally (subjectively) apply spiritual truths to my life.
i try to both use some pre-chewed materials (commentaries, study Bible) as well as a concordance to try to help me bridge the gaps and understand the text, i also try to do some serious observing of the text and cross referencing (if possible!) without a lot of leads.it is easy to lose sight of the big picture (especially since i'm slowly acquiring it and quick to forget it--such is life!). the other night i stepped back and looked at one of the grand themes of the entire prophecy, salvation. here are a few stage 1 objective facts:
  • the theme of Isaiah is "salvation is of Jehovah/the Lord". this is also what Isaiah's name means.
  • Isaiah's prophecy mentions the word "salvation" 26x while all the other Biblical prophets together only use the word 6x
  • the term salvation is used much more in the second portion if Isaiah, chapters 40-66, where the theme is comfort (whereas the first portion of Isaiah deals more with judgment). it has been suggested that Isaiah's two sections could be called man's need for salvation and God's gracious provision of salvation.
  • God is closely linked with salvation (12:2, 25:9, 49:6, 56:1)
  • often the word salvation is closely accompanied by the word righteousness (51:5-8, 56:1, 59:9-11, 60:17-18, 61:10, 62:1-2) or the idea of strength (12:2, 17:10, 26:1, 33:6, 63:5-6)
the way two believers apply those same truths to their lives (stage 2) could be very different, although they observed the same text.

i need to learn a good balance between what i am broadly terming the two stages. moving too quickly to stage two results in incorrect understanding and application. this is dangerous, because if we think incorrectly we will act incorrectly. conversely, if i never move on to stage 2, i commit spiritual abortion. the living and active Word cannot just be academic: it needs to bear fruit in the way i live. as i try to persevere through the harder parts of the text, the Lord blesses me with new understanding. may my living also be new.

"God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid." Isaiah 12:2

No comments:

Post a Comment