An old puritan preacher once asked two very profound questions: “Does God speak? And if so, what does God say?” Profound indeed!
As Isaiah opens his prophecy, we’re told that his ministry spanned the reigns of 4 kings of Judah. During this period of time, no doubt many proclamations were given, letters dictated and delivered and speeches given (God knows politicians like to give speeches!)
Isaiah himself had a lot to say during these many years as well (His is the longest prophetic book in the Bible). He was a prophet of God with a tremendous calling to bring the hearts of God’s people back to the Lord.
All that said, it becomes immediately obvious who’s voice is preeminent:
vs. 2: “Hear, oh heavens, and give ear, O earth! For the Lord has spoken…”
I am amazed at how often, and how clearly the Lord spoke to His people in Scripture; leading them, teaching them, instructing some in such minute detail as to leave us with the impression that these followers of old were hearing from the Almighty as we would hear someone across the table. How can it be that we seem to hear Him so little?
I’m reminded of the scene at the mount of Jesus’ Transfiguration; how in the presence of Moses and Elijah, three of Jesus’ disciples (Peter, James and John) were so awestruck as to be speechless – almost. One spoke up (you can guess), calling for monuments to be erected for Jesus, and His two guests (who represented the Law and the Prophets). Well intentioned as they may have been, Peter’s words can’t truly capture the meaning of the moment, and even carry a caviat, declaring that: ”…he did not know what to say.” (Mark 9:6). In that moment, the Lord spoke from heaven, encouraging Jesus’ followers not to speak, but to listen (vs. 7): ”…hear Him” the Father would say, referring to the Son – as if to say: ”Listen…and listen to the voice that matters most.” After all, it was His word that brought about the creation (Jn. 1:1-3/Gen. 1:3-30), and opened the door for our re-creation (Jn. 19:30). That being the case, isn’t it worth hearing what else He has to say?
Does God speak? The answer is a resounding “Yes.” The answer to the old puritan preacher’s second question is a treasure to be discovered by those who can heed the words of another prophet, who said: “The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before Him.”