The book of Isaiah places a distinctive emphasis on the miraculous. It speaks about the miraculous more than any other book of Scripture. Because miracle runs through the whole of the prophecy, careful attention to it, as John Goldingay gives it here, not only unfolds the message of Isaiah but allows the theme to become a detailed commentary on the God of miracles.
Miracle is a tricky word, so Goldingay defines what is meant by the miraculous in Isaiah before considering the miraculous features throughout the book: in testimonies to Yahweh's extraordinary communication with people such as prophets, in reminders of Yahweh's extraordinary acts long ago, in reports of the extraordinary acts whereby Yahweh rescues his people within the book's temporal framework, in promises of Yahweh's extraordinary acts of restoration in the future, and in Yahweh's extraordinary acts toward other peoples.
What of the miracles of long ago? Did God create the world, devastate it and then start it off again, summon Abraham, deliver Israel from Egypt, drown the Egyptian army in the Red Sea, take the Israelites through the wilderness, dispossess the Canaanites, defeat the Midianites? What about the miracles that come after, including those witnessed in the New Testament--especially the raising of Jesus from the grave? Goldingay points to the interweaving of miracle with narrative in Isaiah itself to provide a clue: these are stories about real events which, with the help of the Spirit of God, have become narratives that captivate and edify.
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