Connecting to the Larger Story
As the people were carried into exile in deep despair over the future, the prophets continued to prophesy about God's promise for the future and how God would restore all things.
Important to Note
1) Isaiah prophesied about one who was "anointed" by God for a special purpose - to heal the sick and blind, to proclaim good news, and to release captives, among other things. The Hebrew word for one who is anointed is Messiah. With these prophecies, the people began to look for the Messiah ("Christ" in Greek) who would come to bring God's salvation to them. As the Old Testament draws to a close, the people are waiting expectantly for the coming of the promised Messiah to lead them out of oppression and to establish God's perfect kingdom as David's heir.
2) Isaiah, along with other prophets, foretold the coming year of the Lord's favor and the day of vengeance. The year of favor was to be celebrated as the time when God would restore all things to the way they should have been. Much like the Year of Jubilee that the people had been commanded to observe every fifty years in which all debts were to be forgiven and all property returned to their original owners, the Year of the Lord would see the people reinherit the land promised to them in a perfect kingdom based on God's law. The day of the Lord was, however, seen less with a sense of celebration and more with a sense of terror and apprehension. If the year of the Lord would see all things restored to the benefit of the oppressed, the the day of the Lord would see the overturning of the sinful oppressors and the establishment of justice. While this day would be great to see, there was always a sense of awe and terror at the thought of it because any sin and oppression would be avenged in that day. Another common theme associated with God's coming was the refining of God's people like the refining of gold - by burning and melting away impurities. While the end result may be what the people wanted, it was understood that enduring that day would be both great and terrible.
Thoughts for Reflection
1) What are we waiting for God to do in our world?
2) Is God's judgment a good or bad things (or a bit of both) to us?