Scripture reading – Isaiah 59; Isaiah 60

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Our Scripture reading is Isaiah 59-60. Today’s Bible study is taken from Isaiah 59, which serves as an indictment concerning Judah’s sins and the effect and consequences of wickedness on society.

Isaiah 59

A Message of Hope (Isaiah 59:1-2)

Isaiah had prophesied the imminent judgment of the LORD for the sins of Judah. Isaiah 59, however, began with an invitation and message of exhortation: “1Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; Neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: (Isaiah 59:1). Judah’s sins, however, had alienated God, and Isaiah warned: “Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (Isaiah 59:2).

Tragic? Yes, but Isaiah 59:2 indicated the spiritual condition of all sinners! The psalmist confessed the same and wrote, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear me” (Psalm 66:18). Paul reminded believers living in Rome, “There is none righteous, no, not one…23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Isaiah Romans 3:10, 23).

An Ugly Portrait of Man’s Sinful Condition

An Ugly Portrait of Man’s Sinful Condition (Isaiah 59:3-9)

Lest any be tempted to dismiss the evidence of Judah’s wickedness, Isaiah painted a picture of that nation’s culture that sounds like the news headlines of our world.  

Murder and violence (“hands…defiled with blood,” Isaiah 59:3a), lies and slander (Isaiah 59:3), injustices, deception, and dishonesty (Isaiah 59:4). Their words were like poison (Isaiah 59:5). They lived under the delusion that the webs they had spun with their lies might conceal their sins (Isaiah 59:6). Judean society was violent (Isaiah 59:6c). They were contemptuous of “innocent blood” (Isaiah 59:7a). Evil ponderings consumed “their thoughts” (Isaiah 59:7c). They were guilty of “wasting [i.e., violence] and destruction” (i.e., to trample on other’s rights; Isaiah 59:7b). There was no peace or justice in the land (Isaiah 59:8).

The Effect of Sin Upon a Nation (Isaiah 59:9-11)

What becomes of a nation when its citizens turn from the LORD? What consequences befall a society when its people reject the Law and Commandments (Exodus 20)? The answers to those questions are revealed in Isaiah 59:9-11 and throughout history.

When a nation and people reject God’s Law and Commandments, society descends into chaos, and anarchy reigns. Lawlessness (“judgment is far from us,” Isaiah 59:9); despair (for “we grope for the wall like the blind,” Isaiah 59:10a); spiritual blindness (“we stumble at noonday as in the night,” 59:10b); hostility (“we roar all like bears,” Isaiah 59:11a); and depression (“mourn sore like doves,” Isaiah 59:11b) pervade. There is no justice, hope, or salvation (Isaiah 59:11c).

Isaiah’s Spiritual Diagnosis (Isaiah 59:12-16)

Like a surgeon, the prophet cut to the heart of Judah’s spiritual degeneracy and moral depravity. He identified with Judah’s transgressions and confessed the nation’s sins (Isaiah 59:12). They were a nation of hypocrites, “conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood” (Isaiah 59:13). They rejected the truth (Isaiah 59:14). They not only failed to abide by God’s truth, but they also persecuted any who departed “from evil” (Isaiah 59:15).

The Coming of the Redeemer

The Coming of the Redeemer (Isaiah 59:15-18)

Isaiah warned that “the Lord saw it [Judah’s sins], and it displeased him that there was no judgment [justice]” (Isaiah 59:15). “There was no man” to intercede for Judah (Isaiah 59:16a).  Therefore, Isaiah promised that the LORD would bring salvation and provide a Redeemer (Isaiah 59:16b).

Reminiscent of Paul’s challenge to believers in Ephesians 6:13-17, the LORD declared that He would come as Redeemer and “put on righteousness as a breastplate, And an helmet of salvation upon his head; And he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, And was clad with zeal as a cloke” (Isaiah 59:17). Not only would the LORD come as Redeemer, but He would also be a righteous Judge and reward the people and nations “according to their deeds” (Isaiah 59:18).


Closing thoughts –

Who was this One whose coming would be as God’s Redeemer and a Righteous Judge? He is the LORD Jesus Christ, whose substitutionary atonement was described in Isaiah 53:12, where we read: “He hath poured out his soul unto death: And he was numbered with the transgressors; And he bare the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:12b).

We conclude today’s devotion with Isaiah’s assurance that “the Redeemer shall come to Zion” (i.e., Jerusalem, Isaiah 59:20). The LORD has established His covenant with Israel, though only a remnant will believe. To them, He promised, “My spirit that is upon thee, And my words which I have put in thy mouth, Shall not depart out of thy mouth, Nor out of the mouth of thy seed, Nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the Lord, From henceforth and for ever” (Isaiah 59:21).

Friend, we have seen in our study and observed in our world the terrible consequences when a nation turns from the LORD and rejects His Law and Commandments. Although the prophet foretold God’s judgment, He also reminded the nation that the LORD is both Judge and Redeemer. He is gracious and willing to forgive those who come to Him (Isaiah 59:16).

Won’t you receive Christ as your Savior, Redeemer?

Copyright © 2024 – Travis D. Smith 

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