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The plan of the Book of Isaiah becomes so obvious when one steps back and examines its contents.The judgment of God is so powerfully witnessed in the first part of the book (Isaiah 1-39) but then slowly but fully unfolds God's redeeming grace in the last part of Isaiah (Isaiah 40-66).
The chart below depicts Isaiah 53 as the focal point of the whole Book of Isaiah. The 27 chapters are equally divided into three sections of nine chapters, each ending with a marker verse depicting the lostness of mankind.
Isaiah 53 stands at the center of the middle section. It is here in Isaiah 53 that God's unexplainable grace is unfolded like a beautiful flower, and yet one that can be so easily passed by in our busy lives.
In the first 39 chapters we have seen a convincing portrayal of the adulterous Israel running off and making alliances with Assyria, Egypt and Babylonia. God persisted after them, but they resisted.
God could not use Israel to be a light to the nations but instead revealed how in spite of them He would find an Israelite who would do all of His will. This Servant, though facing great difficulties to accomplish His calling, would again issue forth hope and light springing up from Israel to all the world.
Chapters 1-39 should not be separated from chapters 40-66 (1). The first section forms the basis for the later. If we wanted to oversimplify this book, we would say the first section reveals the weaknesses of God's people while the last section effectively deals with them.
One may object that God has a lot to say about the world too. This is true. However, Isaiah is not written because of the world but because of those He has graciously chosen out of the world.
In summary, we confess that we simply do not comprehend the wonder that God has spoken to anyone at all. He has exercised His abundant grace by speaking to us.
His Word indeed doesn't help everyone, but then, they don't want to hear Him speak anyway. Those who are looking for help, however, will find abundant help in Yahweh, the Lord of the heavens. No matter how intense the darkness, He is bringing help to those who seek Him.
Below is a chart of the words of judgment in contrast to the words of promise planted through the Book of Isaiah. The dark dripping shadows refer to the number of verses focusing on judgment (2).
Isaiah is a book about our trust, a book about our beliefs. One would expect God's people to follow His leading in life, but right from the beginning, we see a people who do not even know who their God is.
God is not embarrassed about their waywardness and clearly exposes them. No matter how unfaithful they have been, God has put in motion a plan which will not be frustrated by man or nation. His redemptive plan begins to take form right from the beginning of the book, and although it takes a number of unexpected turns, it clearly evolves into a beautiful masterpiece intertwining kingdoms and individuals, rich and poor, the proud and the humble.
Through the prophecies and discourses, God explicitly shows He will shatter the proud and lift up the humble. Although the darkness is so thick, there are the incessant revelations of light which shake apart the fortress of night and establish the kingdom of light.
The small specks of light reflected in the scattered promises throughout Isaiah have unimaginable results. The worthless vineyard (5:6-7) ends up spreading throughout the earth (27:6). The shoot of Jesse springs forth (11:1-2). The helpless infant becomes a sign of judgment (7:14) but also of great salvation (9:6). The repeating judgments of different individual nations (14:31) are consummated in a great final judgment for all the nations (24). And God's promises to a few people of one nation (10:22) are fulfilled in the execution of the great redemptive plan involving many peoples (66:19) and a new heaven and the earth (65:17).
A. Understanding Our Weaknesses (1:1-9)
B. Confronting Our Weaknesses (1:10-31)
C. Slashing Our Pride (2:1-22)
D. Dashing Our Self-Confidence (3:1-4:6)
E. Exposing Our Financial Security (5:1-30)
F. Confirming Gods Help (6:1-13)
A. Examination Of Our Faith (7:1-25)
B. Encouragement To Persevere (8:1-22)
C. The Basis Of Real Hope (9:1-7)
D. False Hope About Sin (9:8-10:4)
E. Source Of Comfort: God (10:5-34)
F. Realization Of Our Hopes (11:1-12:6)
A. Gods Righteousness In Its Severity (13:1-22)
B. Gods Righteousness Infused With Mercy (14-16)
1) Assurance Of God's Love (14:1-27)
2) Protection Of God (14::28-32)
3) Hope Of God (Evangelism) (15:1-16:14)
C. Gods Righteousness: Its Severity Or Mercy (17:1-14)
D. Understanding The God Of Righteousness (18:1-7)
E. Living Righteously In The World (19:1-20:6)
F. Gods Rights Versus The Peoples Rights (21:1-17)
G. The Self Sufficiency Of The World (22:1-27)
H. The Pride Of The Commercial World (23:1-18)
A. The Fact Of Endurance (The Fact) (24:1-23)
B. The Capability Of Endurance (The Experience) (25-26)
1) The Hope Of Gods People Derived In Judgment (25:1-12)
2) Their Confidence Shown In Judgment (26:1-27:1)
C. The Foundation Of Endurance (The Basis) (27:2-13)
A. Pride Of Others (28:1-29)
B. Plans Revealing One's Heart (29-32)
1) Secret Planning (29:1-12)
2) Rejection Of Gods Plan (30:1-33)
3) Establishing Foolish Plans 31:1-32:20)
C. Purpose Of God (33:1-24)
A. Judgment Of The Morally Corrupt (34:1-17)
B. Redemption Of The Faithful (35:1-10)
A. Opposition Designed To Create Deeper Trust (36:1-22)
B. Entering Into This Deeper Trust (37:1-38)
C. Deaths Challenge To Our Trust In God (38:1-22)
D. Success Challenge To Our Trust In God (39:1-8)
A. God Comforts His People (40:1-31)
B. God Befriends His People (41:1-29)
C. God Is Faithful To his People (42:1-25)
D. Taking His Peoples Fear Away (43:1-44:5)
E. Understanding The Presence Of Idols (44:6-28)
F. Gods Unchangeable Plan Of Salvation (45:1-25)
G. Deliverance From False Notions (46:1-13)
H. Taking A Look Into The Future (47:1-15)
I. Professors Of The Faith (48:1-22)
A. Bringing Hope (49:1-5:3)
B. Bringing Comfort (50:4-11)
C. Instilling Awareness Of God (51:1-23)
D. Instilling Anticipation Of Release (52:1-12)
E. Securing Salvation For The Many (52:13-53)
F. Describing Salvation (54:1-17)
G. Responding To Our Lord (55:1-13)
H. Overcoming Exclusionism (56:1-8)
I. His Selectivity (56:9-57:21)
A. Bringing Life Back Into Our Religious Experience (58:1-14)
B. God's Extraordinary Mercy (59:1-21)
C. The Glorious New Community Of God's People (60:1-22)
D. The Foundation Of Hope (61:1-11)
E. The Persistence 0f God's Plan (62:1-12)
F. The High Cost Of Redemption (63:1-6)
G. The Confession God Likes To Hear (63:7-64)
H. Discovering God's Amazing Grace (65:1-25)
I. A Final Explanation and Promise (66:1-24)