Isaiah Chapter 1
Chapter 1 starts off by pointing out the ways to get right with God and stay that way (justification and sanctification), and then takes a drastic turn in describing the bleak future accompanied by the terrible coming judgment.
Chapter 1:7-9, if taken historically, must be written after the dangers of the war with Syria and Israel had been averted. They were, however, very conscious of the nightmare and bloodshed that they had just gone through. Chapter 1 records events after the events of chapters 2-5 and the connected chapters 7-12. Why is this placed first then? This is simply because it was the first to be committed to writing. Delitzsch thinks chapter 1 serves as an introduction, a preface, to the addresses and historical accounts in chapters 2-12, Chapters 2-5 is called the Book of Hardening and chapters 7-12 is called the Book of Immanuel.
Chapters 2-5 as well as chapter 6 clearly belong to the year of Uzziahs death and Jothams reign (759- 743 B.C.). Judah never had it so well outwardly.
Because of their false glory, pride, independence from God, they left God and the idols increased. King Uzziah acted presumptuously in the temple and therefore King Jotham had to help Uzziah because of his resulting leprosy.
Victories, buildings, and troops all demonstrate the height of the Judean kingdom. At the end of this period, however, in accordance with the prophecies, we have seen hostilities with Syria, with Damascus as its capital, and Israel, with Pekah as its capital, begin.
Chapter 6 confirms Isaiahs authority to the people. As he speaks, he assures them of the truth of the message. The purpose of these first harsh chapters was to soften their hearts and so that they might seek cleansing. These messages, however, formed the place to build hope for the future nation of Israel and others as they sought God.
Application and Further Study
One can see the influence of Gods message in these chapters. Israels hope does not rest in the near future for they will suffer Gods judgment. But in the distant future there is hope. At that point the remnant will again fall into Gods favor.
Chapter 1-6 is directed against a wealthy, greedy and materialistic society not very different than ours. Devotion to God was neglected. Other gods which better suited their lifestyle were adopted.
We are now living in a materialistic society. How are we facing the dangers of serving other gods? In what form do these gods take place?