Isaiah wrote in the 8th century B.C. to a troubled Israel. Isaiah was bold and didn’t back down from preaching hard messages that the people didn’t like. Prophets’ callings were not easy. Unlike preachers of today, they were not hired as motivational speakers. The role of a prophet was to warn–certainly anything but a glamorous role.
During the 8th century when Isaiah preached, Israel was a pagan group of wild people. Morale was low and oppression was high. Streets were no longer safe for children to play. Worship to foreign gods was commonplace. High places built to foreign gods littered towns and cities throughout Israel. It certainly was a strange time to be alive. Yet Isaiah preached in the midst of many trials. He witnessed the fall of the northern ten tribes to Assyria. Twice the Assyrians came and attacked Jerusalem while Hezekiah was king. Isaiah, as a mouthpiece of God, told Hezekiah to stand strong.
It worked, and near the end of Isaiah’s life he finally witnessed a win. Isaiah’s message from God is clear and concise to the remnant who were still faithful: “Listen to me, you who know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear not the reproach of man, nor be dismayed at their revilings. The moth will eat them up like a garment, and the worm will eat them like wool, but my righteousness will be forever, and my salvation to all generations” (Isaiah 51:7, 8 ESV).
This is a powerful message to the few people who were discouraged and who certainly worried for their children who were growing up in an extremely pagan and violent environment. Isaiah’s message was timely and powerful. Righteousness and salvation are forever. Righteousness cannot be stripped away from others, so Isaiah encourages them to remain steadfast. This is definitely an important message during times of discouragement.