Sunday Sermons

Sunday Sermons

Isaiah 59


59:1: The reason many people have not realized God’s blessings and salvation has never been the lack of power or desire on God’s part. Neither is He deaf or ignorant of their needs. Indeed, He has both revealed His omnipotence and omniscience and His desire to bless them. There should be no question about God’s desire for us (1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9). 59:2 God could save them from any circumstances, the problem is that these people who are claiming that they want God’s intervention or help are actually rebels against God and His Law. Sin does cut off the communication between man and God (Proverbs 28:9), and prevents prayers from being answered (Psalm 66:18). “The prophet who could speak words of great comfort and encouragement could also confront his hearers with their sins and make them face unpleasant spiritual and moral facts” (Gaebelein, p. 325). How often do people, even some Christians, blame God for not answering their prayers, when the real problem does not reside in any lack of ability on God’s part, but rather with our refusal to depart from our sins (James 4:1ff).

59:3 Here specific sins are revealed. God never makes false accusations, nor does He remain distant for no good reason. Their hands were stained with blood, that is, they were guilty of all manner of injustices (Isaiah 1:15,21), and they spoke lies and plotted future sins. 59:4 No one was standing up for God’s truth. “They initiated lawsuits, but not with integrity. None pled the cause of truth”(Jackson, p. 118). Here is a description of moral apathy among a people, and what happens in the court system when people no longer care about justice but just want an immediate reward for themselves. “They trust in confusion”: Unbelievers, who have no desire for repentance, prefer moral confusion, they want everything to be a gray area and the more they can muddy the moral water the better (John 3:19ff). The unrepentant sinner is very comfortable with the idea of no absolute truth and situation ethics, for in such a climate he can remain free from human condemnation and hide from the guilt of his or her own conscience. “They conceive mischief”: They actually plan to sin, compare with Micah 2:1-3.

59:5 “They hatch adders’ eggs”: “Sin multiplies as if they were breeding it. The conduct of the people is equivalent to hatching poisonous snake-eggs; those who eat such will die” (Jackson, p. 118). “Lies and lack of moral integrity and/or righteousness are bound to poison a society and ultimately bring it to death” (Hailey, p. 479). Sin that is not forsaken will only breed other sins, especially when people try to defend their behavior.

59:5 “Weave the spider’s web...” 59:6 “Their webs will not become clothing, nor will they cover themselves with their works”: This may refer to the practice of trying to ensnare and entrap the innocent. Their best laid plans for evil will fail. It could also mean that such webs are woven in order to conceal their sin, but God sees everything. “The metaphors seem to imply that what these evil people produce seems at first wholesome and constructive, only to be revealed for what it really is later. Evil is ultimately counterproductive, not only for its victims, but for its perpetrators. Sin is self-destructive”(Gaebelein, p. 326).

59:7 “Their feet run to evil and they hasten”: Here is an eagerness and rush to sin and to sin often. “Their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity”: Compare with Genesis 6:5. As a result, only devastation and destruction awaits them. They destroy others and they will be destroyed in the end. “The wicked do not enter leisurely into evil”(Hailey, p. 480), and most people do not end up in sin by accident.59:8 “They do not know the way of peace”: As a result “peace” eludes them, for a life of sinning makes peace impossible. Rebellion against God is never the path to world peace, must less peace with one’s fellow men. “There is no justice or sense of right in their life; they themselves have made their paths crooked. Those who enter such a life shall find not peace but its opposite – discord, turmoil, and strife” (Hailey, p. 480). Carefully note that these people were not born this way, rather they have made their paths crooked. Even though people resist following truth, it remains truth, real peace cannot be found apart from God. See Isaiah 57:21.

The Consequences

59:9 “Therefore”: Because the people are not seeking God, what follows are the consequences they were experiencing:

“Justice is far from us”:

“Sin has left its dire effects. There is no justice, no righting of the existing state of affairs” (Hailey, p. 480). The justice under consideration would include God’s saving justice, that is, God’s deliverance from their enemies. Notice that life is not better and neither does utopian happiness arrive when God’s law is ignored, to the contrary, life becomes miserable in any culture. This would also include “justice” from their fellowmen. Sinners are often shocked that their movement away from God, and the following of their own ideas have failed to bring about a better world.

“We hope for light, but behold darkness”:

Compare with Deuteronomy 28:15,29. Sin brings misery, unhappiness, frustration, confusion, chaos, and gloom. With all their rebelling, life is not better, it is worse.

59:10 This is a very realistic picture of a culture apart from God, with each person groping for an answer. When God is ignored people are left to grope in the dark, for man is blind apart from God. 59:11 Here is frustration, anger, and malcontent. 59:12 They stubble and moan because they are suffering the consequences of rebelling against God. “Their transgressions are not hid; they are plainly evident, known to God and man: we know them. Thus, the people are without excuse for not correcting their errors” (Hailey, p. 481). Compare with Romans 1:32. 59:13 Their sins were numerous: they denied the Lord, were oppressing the innocent, were guilty of revolting against God, and in their hearts they were conceiving more evil (Matthew 7:20-23). Observe how the sinner is haunted by his or her past.

59:14-15 Things have become so bad that anyone who might stand for what is right is in danger of losing their life. “Like a soldier felled in battle, so truth is fallen in the street, cast down by those who should have upheld it” (Hailey, p. 482). One of the warning signs in a culture is when godly people are harassed for their rejection of evil. Remember, “hatred of the consequences of sin and its destructive effects on one’s own life are not necessarily evidence of true repentance” (Gaebelein, p. 326). “As a result of such corruption, those who attempted to live right became victims of the ungodly in society”(Jackson, p. 119).

59:16 There was no man who could intercede for the nation, Israel was completely unable to save herself. “Who would arise to right the wrongs being visited upon the afflicted? Who would be an intercessor? There was no one to do it” (Jackson, p. 119). Yet God would bring salvation and deliverance by His own power.

59:17-18 Presented here is a description of the armor of God prior to Ephesians 6:10-18. God will come as both a Savior and as a Judge. He will save His own and deal zealously with those who remain His enemies. God will even deal with individuals who have opposed Him in distant places (“coastlands”). “In this battle there will be a fair and just judgment for all. They will receive according to their attitude toward God and the deeds which follow therefrom” (Hailey, p. 483).

59:19 “God’s great acts of judgment upon evil will cause men from around the world to reverence Him. His wrath will come against His enemies like a rushing, overflowing stream” (Jackson, pp. 119-120).59:20 Yet some will repent, a Redeemer will come to Zion. Paul quotes this passage in Romans 11:26-27. Notice that the Lord is a Redeemer to those who turn from their transgressions, while to others He is a Judge that will condemn. Isaiah notes that the Redeemer will come to Zion, which Jesus did, and Paul notes that the Redeemer will come from Zion, which He also did when the Jews rejected the gospel and the message was then sent to the Gentiles.

59:21 The covenant under consideration is the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34), the covenant that offers forgiveness of sins (20). This covenant will be accompanied by the coming of the Holy Spirit (Joel 2:28-30; Acts 2:17ff).

59:21 “Nor from the mouth of your offspring’s offspring... from now on and forever”: This verse reveals that the word of God in its purity will always exist (1 Peter 1:23-25) and that in every generation there will be the faithful remnant of believers (Romans 11:1ff; Daniel 2:44; Hebrews 12:28). “Spiritual Israel, the church, will be forever proclaiming the words which God has made known through His Holy Spirit” (Jackson, p. 120). “There will always be a seed (remnant) holding faithfully to His word, passing it on from one generation to the next” (Hailey, p. 485).

At times people worry about where the church was in the dark ages or if the church will exist in future generations, yet we forget that in the Old Testament period there was a tremendous amount of apostasy and unfaithfulness, yet God always sustained His faithful remnant (Romans 11:3-4), even when it looked as if (from a human perspective) such a remnant did not exist. Just because we may not be able to find, at times, a historical record mentioning the existence of a faithful remnant in a particular period of history, does not mean that no faithful people existed, for God has always had His faithful servants (Romans 11:5). Let’s determine to be that faithful remnant, and to lead the next generation to be the future remnant.