About this book
Isaiah spoke for the Lord to the people of Judah during the reigns of four kings of Judah. Over this period of about forty years, the Assyrian empire was expanding. Nations joined together to fight Assyria, but Assyria finally conquered Israel and most other nearby countries. Thousands of people were led away as prisoners. And although the kingdom of Judah wasn't completely conquered, it had to pay heavy taxes.
The messages in this book can be divided into three parts. The first part (1—39) is especially concerned about the Lord's holiness and his power as king of the whole earth. As a holy king, the Lord was angry about evil in Judah. Government officials were corrupt; violence and injustice were everywhere. The Lord said he was going to make Assyria and Babylonia punish the people of Judah and other nations. But the Lord offered his people hope for the future, if they turned back to him and trusted him to protect their nation.
In the second part (40—55) the Lord spoke to people who had been punished (40.1,2). They were discouraged, and he offered them hope. But the Lord wanted them to understand that idols have no power, and that he alone is the true God. If the people of Israel turned back to him, then he would rescue them from Babylonia and the other nations where they had been scattered. They would return to their own land, and he would bless them and make them prosperous. The Lord was able to make this tremendous promise to his people because he created and rules the entire earth.
In the third part (56—66) the Lord promises an especially bright future for those who are faithful to him. And in this section, people from all nations are included, not just the people of Judah. These promises are like windows that allow a glimpse into a future time when the Lord will create a new world full of joy and free from suffering:
I am creating new heavens
and a new earth;
everything of the past
will be forgotten.
Celebrate and be glad for ever!
I am creating a Jerusalem,
full of happy people.
I will celebrate with Jerusalem
and all its people;
there will be no more crying
or sorrow in that city.
A quick look at this book
1. Introduction (1.1-31)
2. Messages about Judah and Israel (2.1—5.30)
3. Events from Isaiah's ministry (6.1—9.7)
4. More messages about Judah and Israel (9.8—12.6)
5. God will punish other nations (13.1—23.18)
6. Messages of hope for the Lord's people who are suffering (24.1—27.13)
7. The Lord will punish his rebellious people (28.1—31.9)
8. The Lord will punish Edom and bless Jerusalem (32.1—35.10)
9. Assyria, Babylonia, King Hezekiah, and Isaiah (36.1—39.8)
10. The Lord will rescue his people (40.1—48.22)
11. The Lord's servant (49.1—53.12)
12. The Lord will keep all his promises (54.1—55.13)
13. All nations will be part of God's people (56.1-8)
14. Leaders unfaithful to God will be punished (56.9—59.21)
15. The future glory of Jerusalem (60.1—62.12)
16. God's wonderful new creation (63.1—66.24)