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1 The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz concerning Judah and Jerusalem, which he saw during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.
2 Listen, O heavens, and hear, O earth;
For the LORD speaks,
“Sons I have reared and brought up,
But they have revolted against Me.
3 “An ox knows its owner,
And a donkey its master’s manger,
But Israel does not know,
My people do not understand.” (NASB)
Isaiah had an interesting start to his writing career. He oversaw an international crisis. Most of the time, we look at this passage for the historical content. There is actually deeper meaning here. No…I don’t think there is some “hidden oracle” or “special code” here to find treasure.
What I actually see is something very simple…the meanings of the names.
Isaiah – “the one who is safe/salvation”
Amoz – “the one who is strong”
Judah (city) – “praised”, from a root “to throw, cast”.
Jerusalem – probably “foundation of peace”. From “yareh”, perhaps “to be stupified”. From “shalem, “to be complete or sound”, also “peaceful”.
Also – “God of peace”/ “so peaceful it is stupefying”
Uzziah – “my strength is Yah”; from “oz” and “yah”; oz – “strength”; “yah” – God.
Jotham – “the LORD is perfect”.
Ahaz – “he has grasped”.
Hezekiah – “Yah has strengthened”.
Judah – “praised”.
(Source: Bible Hub app)
So….an extrapolation of the names in context might look like this:
“A prophecy from ‘the one who is safe’, son of “the one who is strong”.
And…about the places that were praised and a foundation of peace, …so peaceful it was stupefying.
And…who were ruled by ones who were in the LORD’s perfect grasp and who drew doubly upon his strength.
Judah and Jerusalem were in a rough place in ways. They had been sinning and doing their own thing, but…they thought they had God happy. After all, they had figured out how to do worship perfectly…and still sin. This problem still plagues them today. The Mosaic law is interpreted as they cannot leave their house on the Sabbath or it is considered work. They found a loophole. They put a rope around the whole city and had the Rabbis bless it. Now, the whole city us regarded as one house. Problem solved…not really. They are like a bunch of children. How far can we test the limits, and not get in trouble. Then, when they do get in trouble, they come running to God for help.
Judah and Jerusalem found themselves facing a storm, once again. And God responded the same way He always does when we face a storm…”Peace, be still.” (Mark 4:39, Psalm 65:7, Matthew 8:26, Luke 8:24) In our modern lives, we still use weather terms to describe our trials. We say we are facing the storms of life. It is one of the intriguing connections between life and science to me, because weather forecasters use thermodynamics as part of the work they do.
I see this short passage in the form of two weather phenomenon. One is a pop up storm, and the other is the eye of a hurricane. When we moved to Texas, we had never lived this far West before so everything was new. During our first week, I hear something in the middle of the night that sounds like somebody rolling a metal garbage can behind our place on the sidewalk. I was thinking, “what in the world??” It was my first introduction to a “pop-up” storm in Texas.
Sometimes, we have pop up storms in our lives. Some things cannot be predicted. Financial analysts often speak of having an emergency fund…being prepared. How do we prepare ourselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually for emergencies?
During Hurricane Katrina, the eye of the storm passed over our house. It was the eeriest peacefulness. I had never experienced that. If we can stay with God as He moves, we would never be tossed by storms. As mortals, we are not able to see every movement of God so we get tossed on occasion. Prayer, patience, and faith will get us through these times. When you find those experiences overwhelming, ASK for help. God tells us to ask Him for help. There is no shame in asking for help.
God is our strength, our salvation. He is strong, He is our truest help. He can provide us with shelter and safety in the middle of the storms of life.
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