The Word of God is still full of surprises to me, even after 25 years or more of learning and reading it. I have mentioned before (here and here) how my Ladies’ Bible study in Isaiah has been impressing on me just how well the Bible substantiates itself and sets itself apart as a divinely inspired book. Check out what I picked up at today’s study, our last of the semester and a review of all we have learned.
It was the very end of the study today, and we were all just throwing out our last thoughts, when someone said, “I think God could have given us just Isaiah, and that would have been enough.” Then someone else said, “Yeah, did you know that Isaiah is called the ‘mini-Bible’?”
No, I did not, thought I. And this is what I then learned.
There are 66 books in the Bible (I knew that part). The first 39 are the Old testament, which, in general, tells the story of God’s law and resulting judgment on His people. The last 27 books are the New Testament, which tells the story of God sending His Son as a redeemer to buy back His wayward people. It tells of His forgiveness and mercy, and the comfort His people find in Him.
Isaiah is a book of 66 chapters (I knew that, too, just never did the math). The first 39 tell of Judah’s rebellion and God’s resulting judgment on them. The last 27 tell of God’s plan to redeem His people through a suffering servant, and of the mercy, comfort, and peace that will result when His people learn to rely fully on Him and nothing else for their salvation.
Are you amazed yet?
Of course, I had to go home and check this out for myself (you know, like the Bereans). Sure enough, chapter 39 ends up like this:
“5 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, Hear the word of the Lord of hosts: 6 Behold, the days are coming, when all that is in your house, and that which your fathers have stored up till this day, shall be carried to Babylon. Nothing shall be left, says the Lord. 7 And some of your own sons, who will come from you, whom you will father, shall be taken away, and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon. 8 Then said Hezekiah to Isaiah, The word of the Lord that you have spoken is good. For he thought, There will be peace and security in my days.”
In spite of Hezekiah’s relief that this wouldn’t take place in his own lifetime, the outlook isn’t all that cheery there. Then chapter 40 begins like this:
“1 Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. 2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. 3 A voice cries: In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. 5 And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
If you want to read the whole chapter, it just gets better and better. I suddenly feel as though I need to go back and do the whole study again. I am in awe. Each new truth that I discover about how God’s Word holds together as a unit is like a water mark (or whatever they do nowadays that’s even more clever) on money. It’s just too hard to fake these things. It would be enough for me to know God’s hand in my life and His grace in my heart, but I thank Him today, once again, for going so far to satisfy my mind with the reality of His Truth.