The next iteration of our epic story is the writings of the prophets. Our hero, God, communicated with people who spoke warnings of coming judgment and warnings of things that needed to be corrected in the culture. They became the voice of God to power. The sixteen books are arranged after the wisdom literature by the four Major prophets (longer books) followed by the twelve Minor prophets or smaller books. It is believed by Christians that many passages speak to the coming of the Messiah, Jesus.
Isaiah 51-53 is our reading today. Isaiah is the most quoted book in the New Testament. Isaiah lived in the 8th century BC during the reign of several kings, before and after the Babylon exile. During the exile, the people must have been very discouraged. Many of us are discouraged as this pandemic stretches on and new versions of the virus appear. Can a vaccine truly protect us? Is God committed to protecting us? Isaiah points the people to their history. God made a promise to one man and his wife, Abraham and Sarah, and God has faithfully been bringing his promise to fruition. God is on our side even in the midst of political problems, medical problems and all the other problems we face. God is for us. Interestingly Isaiah does not go to the image of a conquering hero who defeats the foe in battle but rather talks of a “suffering servant” who walks with us in our troubles. (53:5) The epic villain will be defeated but in a totally unexpected way, the cross.
When I think of Isaiah, I think of Isaiah 41:10, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” What a beautiful promise! What are you fearing today? Are you dismayed? God has promised to strengthen us and hold us up in our trials. It does not mean the trial will not hurt and it does not mean we will be millionaires after but we will not be alone and he will help us find a way through. The story is not finished yet! Take heart.