Recently in my bible readings I have been greatly enjoying Isaiah by the Day by the late and great Alec Motyer. Dr Motyer made the study of Isaiah his life’s work, and this book takes you through 71 daily readings. Each day has a short introduction, his own translation of the passage, with notes on the text, finished off with a short devotional.
This is no dry study, but rather a translation and commentary informed by years of pastoral work and teaching, and above all love of the Word, and the Saviour of which it speaks. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Here is one thought on Isaiah 51:17 – 52:12 from recent days which I found especially helpful. Read it, and be encouraged and inspired to search Isaiah for yourself.
The great objective — fight, too — of the Christian life is to be what we are. Not seeking or striving after some future blessing but exploring and experiencing ever more fully the complete salvation given to us in Jesus. Does not the Bible call him our ‘righteousness, sanctification and redemption’ (1 Cor. 1:30)? What more is there? Does not the Bible say that the Father has blessed us (past tense) with every spiritual blessing in Christ (Eph. 1:3)? So what more is there to give? Salvation is like a great hamper filled full of every possible blessing of God, and our task is to discover — personally, progressively, ceaselessly —what has thus been given to us once for all. Suppose someone is pronounced ‘cured’ after a long, weakening illness. Convalescence lies ahead with the constant choice between acquiescing in the body’s experienced feebleness, or acting resolutely, maybe even painfully, certainly progressively on the expert diagnosis, and slowly entering into new-found health. That is where we meet Isaiah today. In effect he is saying wrath is over (v. 17), holiness is yours (v. 1), new life awaits (v. 11), so wake up to what you are and have, and gird your loins for a new Exodus. Believe that his wrath is a thing of the past, dress yourself in your new robe of righteousness, start walking the separated pathway. Yahweh has himself taken away his wrath (v. 22), himself accomplished the total work of salvation (v. 10), and himself will accompany you protectively on your journey (v. 12). Let us ask ourselves why Romans 8:30 says that the Lord ‘glorified us’, using the same past tense as when it says he ‘justified’ us? Or why does Ephesians 2:6 speak of us as already seated in the heavenly places? Or Colossians 3:1 that we ‘were raised with Christ’? This is a divine expert diagnosis like the doctor’s pronouncement ‘you are cured’. We feel our weakness; we are summoned to lay hold on our strength.