The prophet Isaiah communicated to the people of God about many issues of faith in God and also concerning the promise of the future, specifically the arrival of the Messiah Jesus into this world. The people of God often looked at the impressive nations round about them and would begin to lose their true faith. They would begin to lose their direction and really their spiritual identity. The Jews would see the physical power, militaries, and sometimes the wealth of the nations near them and the result would often be the loss of their faith in God. Isaiah was telling the people of God to look at that which was important and essential for them spiritually. “Listen to me, you who follow after righteousness, you who seek the Lord. Look to the rock from where you were hewn and to the hole of the pit from which you were dug” (Isaiah 51: 1). Isaiah was encouraging the people of God to remember their history and how God had made them into a great nation and starting with only two people of great faith, Abraham and Sarah. “Look at Abraham your father and Sarah who bore you, for I called you alone, and blessed him and increased him” (Isaiah 51: 2). How easy it was for the people of God to forget about the past and how they came to be a nation from only Abraham and Sarah and the great faith they had in their hearts. From this message of Isaiah they are some very important spiritual lessons for the present times.
The lesson for each one individually is that one should never forget what God has done in their life. Where would anyone one of us be with God and the gospel of Jesus Christ, and how would it have been for us if we had not come to know God’s plan of salvation through the gospel (Romans 1:16)? There were brethren in the first century that allowed the influences of the world to cause them to forget what God had really done for them just as the people of God during Isaiah’s day did. This was not only true in the centuries before Christ and in the first century, but it is also true in the twenty-first century. The earth life is not easy and there are many obstacles facing the Christian that destroy faith. They are basically summed up in what John wrote; “For all that is in the world; the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and he pride of life…” (1 John 2:16). When a Christian departs spiritually from God’s way then they have basically forgotten the spiritual stone from which they have come. Peter wrote referring to Jesus as the rock and Christians as living stones; “Coming to him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house…through Jesus Christ” (1 peter 2:4-5). Individually, we must remember that all of God’s spiritual blessings are found in Christ (Ephesians 1: 3).
The lesson for the church or a local congregation is that one should never forget what God established in his Word and that it is the foundation of faith (Jude 3). Just as the people of God during Isaiah’s day were looking at the nations around them and comparing themselves by those nations, although not according to God’s will, the same thing often happens in the Lord’s church in the twenty-first century. It is true that in matters of expediency and opinion that the Lord’s church and the religious world will often do things in a similar way because precisely it is a matter of opinion and expediency, but in matters of revealed faith (2 Timothy 3:16-17) the Lord’s church needs to look to the stone, the rock, the Lord’s Word. Isaiah prophesied, “Listen to me, you who follow righteousness, you who seek the Lord. Look to the rock from where you were hewn and to the hole of the pit from which you dug” (Isaiah 51: 1). As the physical nation, Israel, forgot that God had made them into a spiritual nation from faithful Abraham and Sara. The spiritual nation of God today, the church of Christ, can not forget what Jesus did (Matthew 16:18, Acts 20:28).