Isaiah was a prophet who lived about 700 years before Jesus. God used Isaiah to both convict the Israelites of their sin and reassure them of His unending love. Isaiah said:
The Spirit of God , the Master, is on me because God anointed me. He sent me to preach good news to the poor, heal the heartbroken, Announce freedom to all captives, pardon all prisoners. God sent me to announce the year of his grace— a celebration of God’s destruction of our enemies— and to comfort all who mourn, To care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion, give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes, Messages of joy instead of news of doom, a praising heart instead of a languid spirit. Rename them “Oaks of Righteousness” planted by God to display his glory. They’ll rebuild the old ruins, raise a new city out of the wreckage. They’ll start over on the ruined cities, take the rubble left behind and make it new. You’ll hire outsiders to herd your flocks and foreigners to work your fields, But you’ll have the title “Priests of God ,” honored as ministers of our God. You’ll feast on the bounty of nations, you’ll bask in their glory. Because you got a double dose of trouble and more than your share of contempt, Your inheritance in the land will be doubled and your joy go on forever. (Isaiah 61:7 MSG)
Isaiah tells of trouble that will come if the Israelites do not repent. He comforts them with the truth that, even if enemies attack and destroy their homes, God will be with them to rebuild after the destruction. He knows that God cares too much to leave them to their sinful ways.
You may be thinking: “Great. I now know a little more about Isaiah and God’s interactions with His people nearly 3000 years ago. Not sure how that helps me… today, in the middle of this mess.”
This may assist you: The Bible is not a history book. It does use history as a backdrop to teach us about the nature of our God, but it is much more than that. It shows us how to live with hope and courage using examples of God’s love and caring.
Did you know that Isaiah also prophesied about Jesus? You’ve probably heard of John 3:16. Here’s Isaiah’s version:
Out of that terrible travail of soul,
he’ll see that it’s worth it and be glad he did it.
Through what he experienced, my righteous one, my servant,
will make many “righteous ones,”
as he himself carries the burden of their sins.
Therefore I’ll reward him extravagantly—
the best of everything, the highest honors—
Because he looked death in the face and didn’t flinch,
because he embraced the company of the lowest.
He took on his own shoulders the sin of the many,
he took up the cause of all the black sheep. (Isaiah 53:11-12 MSG)
The hope for you in the first passage, Isaiah 61:7, is that, no matter your situation, no matter the pain you’ve endured, no matter the mess you’ve made, God will rebuild your life out of the wreckage. He will take the rubble and make it new if you trust in Him. He promises care, not mourning; joy, not doom; praise, not depression. I know that God rebuilds what is lost. Turn to Him and begin again.