The prophet Isaiah is the person we commemorate today, and we take our devotion from Introduction to the Books of the Bible.
The name borne by this great prophet—Isaiah—signifies “Jehovah’s Salvation.” Isaiah calls himself the son of Amoz (not Amos); but who Amoz was is not recorded. Jerusalem was the home of Isaiah and the scene of his labors. He received his prophecies “in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah” (Isaiah 1:1), that is, from about 760 to about 710 BC. Micah and Nahum were his contemporaries.
Isaiah is properly placed at the head of the list of Old Testament writing-prophets, for he is the greatest of them all, the prince of prophets. Not only the volume of his prophecies, but the great variety, beauty, and force of his style and also the fullness of his predictions respecting the Messiah give this highly gifted person preeminence among the Hebrew prophets. Isaiah is called the Evangelist of the Old Testament. His book is quoted 120 times in the New Testament.
Christ declares that the Scriptures of the Old Testament testify of Him and exhorts us to search for Him there (John 5:39). Particularly do the Old Testament prophets testify of the Savior. St. Peter writes: “Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories.” (1 Peter 1:10–11). Of all these prophets no one spoke so fully and so clearly of Christ and His work of redemption as did Isaiah. He portrays the Messiah’s wonderful person, describing Him as both divine and human and calling Him Immanuel, that is, God with us, God in our flesh. He says that His name shall be called Mighty God (Isaiah 9:6), that He should be born of a virgin (7:14), and that He should be a descendant of David (11:1). He graphically describes Christ’s states of humiliation and exaltation, His sufferings, and the glory that should follow (chap. 53). He plainly points out that Christ’s sufferings and death were to be vicarious (that He would suffer in our stead; 53:5), for the purpose of saving us from the guilt and punishment of sin. He predicts the growth and extension of Christ’s kingdom or of the Christian Church. All these things regarding the Messiah and His kingdom, Isaiah describes so vividly and graphically that an uninformed person might be led to think that he lived in the New Testament and had seen them with his own eyes. Chap. 53 is the most beautiful pearl in his crown of Messianic prophecies (Acts 8:26–40).
Devotional reading is adapted from Introduction to the Books of the Bible, pages 82–83 © 1929 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Isaiah, mighty seer in days of old,
The Lord of all in spirit did behold
High on a lofty throne, in splendor bright,
With robes that filled the temple courts with light.
Above the throne were flaming seraphim;
Six wings had they, these messengers of Him.
With two they veiled their faces as was right,
With two they humbly hid their feet from sight,
And with the other two aloft they soared;
One to the other called and praised the Lord:
“Holy is God, the Lord of Sabaoth!
Holy is God, the Lord of Sabaoth!
Holy is God, the Lord of Sabaoth!
His glory fills the heavens and the earth!”
Hymn text is from LSB 960. Text © 1941 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.