Isaiah 1:1, 2
The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah…
The "vision of Isaiah" during the reigns of four kings of Judah (ver. 1), and the declaration (ver. 2) that "the Lord hath spoken" (or speaketh), suggests -
I. THE FACT THAT GOD HAS INTERVENED AND DOES INTERVENE IN HUMAN AFFAIRS.
1. Such Divine intervention ought not to have been necessary. For God has so ordered everything around us, and has so constituted us ourselves, that there were abundant sources of truth and heavenly wisdom without it. All visible nature (Romans 1:20); the bounties of Divine providence (Acts 14:17); the manifestations of Divine pleasure and displeasure in the events and issues of life (Psalm 34:15, 16); the conscience that speaks and strikes within the soul - the moral judgment of which our spiritual nature is capable (Proverbs 20:27; Acts 24:16; Romans 2:15); - these should have sufficed for man's instruction, integrity, perfection. But we find, from the religious history of our race, that these sources of enlightenment and influence have not been sufficient.
2. There has been needed, and there has been granted, special intervention from God. "The Lord hath spoken" to mankind:
(1) From the Fall to the Incarnation, God intervened, "at sundry times and in divers manners" - by such visions as those he gave to Isaiah, and which the prophet communicated to the people; by creating and ordaining men of illumination and leadership, such legislators as Moses and Nehemiah, such kings as David and Hezekiah, such prophets as Elijah and John Baptist; by the institutions and precepts of the Law; by parental chastisements.
(2) At and in the Incarnation itself: when the eternal Father said to the human race, "This is my beloved Son, hear him; "by the words, the works, the sorrow, the death, the resurrection, of that Son of man who was the Son of God.
(3) From the Ascension to this present time: by the Word of his truth; by the ministry of the gospel; by the corrections of his disciplinary hand; by the quickening influences of his Spirit. By these things "the Lord is speaking" to us still, is speaking to us all.
II. HUMAN INGRATITUDE THE OCCASION OF THE DIVINE INTERVENTION. What is it that calls forth the Divine utterance? It is the shameful ingratitude of his own sons. "I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me." There are great and terrible crimes which have to be recorded against the human race; there are evil and shameful wrong-doings which stain and darken many individual lives; but there is one common and inexcusable wrong, to which all people and all souls must plead guilty, one common sin, with which we have all to reproach ourselves, - it is that with which God himself reproaches Israel - heinous and aggravated ingratitude.
1. God has done everything to attach us to himself. He has closely related us to himself; he has made us his children; he has expended upon us the lavish love, the patient care, the multiplied bounties, of a Father's heart, of a Father's hand.
2. We have broken away from his benignant rule. We "have rebelled against him;" our rebellion includes forgetfulness, inattention, dislike, insubmissiveness, disobedience. To whom we owe everything we are and have, to him we have rendered nothing for which he has been looking, everything which has been grievous in his sight.
III. OUR FITTING ATTITUDE WHEN GOD IS SPEAKING. When God speaks, let every voice be hushed; let all things everywhere, even the greatest and most majestic of all, lend their reverent attention. "Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth." There are
(1) those who mock;
(2) those who are deliberately deaf, who close their ears by filling them with noisy activities or absorbing pleasures;
(3) those who are persistently unconcerned;
(4) those who pay a passing and fruitless consideration;
(5) those who bring a reverent and obedient inquiry. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.