Messages of the prophets approrpriately called "burdens," but burdens worth bearing.
Certainly Isaiah good example of the burden of being a prophet, for all sorts of reasons:
1. Things could so easily be different. Chapter 2: if only (as will eventually happen) the Jews turn to their God, swords into plowshares, all nations would profit.... Instead, land is full of idolatry and warfare.
2. Those people that are supposed to help are part of the problem rather than the solution. Isaiah 3:12--your leaders lead you astray.
3. One has to constantly confront those whose values are turned around (Isaiah 5:30--Woe to them that call evil good and good evil.")
4. Knowing ahead of time the disasters that await is extremely disturbing. (Shearjashub: a remnant shall return: only 1/10! And you're reminded of it every time you call your son.)
5. People don't want to change. Ahaz told by Isaiah not to worry about Syria/Israel in his foreign policy. Both nations will be detroyed. And Isaiah offers proof! Whatever sign you want. And Ahaz response? I don't want a sign. I don't want to hear from God! Lord chooses a sign: virgin shall conceive, etc.
* What exactly is the sign here?
(Two things: immediate. Rezin and Pekah die within a year or so. Their nations are doomed. But also something else going on, as we see from next section of Isaiah.
Chapters 8-12. Isaiah commanded to write in a scroll, to write about Mahershalalhashbaz ("haste to the spoil"). Note that it is a "great" scroll, and that Isaiah has two witnesses to his recorded testimony. Later (8:26), Isaiah is told to bind up the testimony. (Note also Isaiah 30:8-10).
*What's going on here? Well, Isaiah has a prediction for the immediate future. Before his son can say mommy and daddy, Israel is going to be detroyed. He wants it confirmed that he has made this prediction--perhaps so that the rest of the prophecy will be preserved and attended. See, Israel to be destroyed. Judah to suffer almost to the point of destruction. And in the midst of this, we have a child named "Immanuel" God is with us. And Isaiah wants them to turn to God rather than Egypt or Assyria or anything else. (Stupidity of dealing with Assyria: Isaiah 28:15, covenant with death.) But there doesn't seem to be a choice. Isaiah says there is. Trust in God alone...
And what will happen? Isaiah 9: "Unto us a child is born..." and then later in Chapter 11, more of these same (And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots..." (read 11:1-9). All people...
Notice another part of Isaiah's burden. This is not a man who would be content to see his people prosperous and the rest of the world go to hell. His God is the god of all, and very bad the state of other nations...
Notice chapters 13 onward...Burdens of Babylon, Moab, Egypt, Ammon, Assyria, Damascaus, Ethiopia
(Discuss Babylon burden especially/note how impressive/ Lucifer passage.)
Look at Isaiah's ultimate prediction: 19:24-25. Egypt and Assyria and Israel all God's people!
Despite message of God's judgement, hope: one of things that makes burden worth bearing.
And certainly moments of triumph is Isaiah's life:
Isaiah 36-39 Reign of king Hezekiah. Sennecharib invasion. God strikes Sennecharib's army, and Sennecharib himself assassinated. Hezekiah going to die/sun-dial goes backward!
Yet Isaiah knows it won't last. (Hezekiah showing off to Chaldaeans--Isaiah's prediction.)
But, ultimately, it all works out in the end.
Final chapters of Isaiah, beginning with ch. 40, in some ways similar to earlier part of book. Amplification of themes already introduced. But balance shifts: fewer reminders of judgement of God and more promises of hope. Message of hope one of things made Isaiah's burden worth bearing.
(Small groups: positives. Things that make Isaiah's prophetic work joyful.)
Isaiah 40 (Comfort ye my people/vs. 31, They that wait upon the Lord).
Isaiah 42 (Behold my servant...bring forth judgement to gentiles).
Isaiah 45 (Cyrus, God's annointed)
Isaiah 51: 11 "Therefore the redeemed..."
Isaiah 52:15 God's servant marred...
Isaiah 53: suffering servant
Isaiah 55: Ho every one that thirsteth..
Isaiah 59: 15, no intercessor: so Lord himself intervenes
Isaiah 60: Arise, shine for the light is come..."
Isaiah 61: "Spirit of the Lord is upon me..."
Isaiah 65:17/66:22-24 "New heavens and new earth."