The first six verses of chapter 63 are brutal.
It reminds me again that the Bible is not full of child-friendly material; it is full of real life messiness. Think about it: even the most popular children stories are…well, disconcerting at best.
–Joseph and the coat of many colors. As a boy, he’s thrown in a pit by his brothers. A deep dark hole. Then they decide it would be better to sell him into slavery. Absolutely terrible. Then he’s falsely accused of an affair and forgotten in jail.
–Noah and the ark looks like a peaceful picture until you realize the whole world population was killed during the flood. Even being spared in the ark must have been a ruckus to live in, considering it was a jam-packed boat with a bunch of animals and your closest family for a few months. No outdoor time. Rough.
–Daniel and the lions den. Great that he lived through it, but can you imagine the distress of sleeping with hungry lions for a night?
–The Good Samaritan. The man was beaten to a bloody pulp, left for dead before he was ever helped by the Samaritan. It was a crime scene.
–And Jonah…well, we all know how bad a fish can smell on the outside. Can you imagine the insides?
I think about these things. Thus I can’t just gloss over these opening verses, like nothing big is happening.
Throughout the other three chapters, we see pictures and declarations of justice for the wicked, mercy for the chosen, and restoration for Israel. 65:13-16 summarize it well.
You might also notice a number of popular verses in these final chapters of Isaiah. The new heavens are mentioned; we being the clay and God the potter; Zion being brought forth in a moment.
I find the ending odd. But perhaps it helps the reader take the book of Isaiah with the utmost seriousness. For it’s not only poetry, but truth as well. Truth with consequences.