Isaiah 59 - Overcomer
Sins causes separation – God doesn’t want to be separate.
59 Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. 2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.
This is a bounce back to Isaiah 58:3. We fasted and were super religious, so why aren’t you doing what we want. God’s arm didn’t suddenly become too short to save. He isn’t less able than He ever was. Sin separates us from God. It is a mercy when we are unashamed and we try to get near to God through ritual, tradition, and religiosity instead of repentance and relationship that He turns His holy face away from us. Sin and holiness don’t mix. The radiance of God’s face and the absoluteness of His word are our undoing if we don’t repent and receive His lavish forgiveness. God is always good, even when He hides His face from us. If He does that it is for our protection.
We claim to be righteous, but what is the truth?
3 For your hands are stained with blood, your fingers with guilt. Your lips have spoken falsely, and your tongue mutters wicked things.
This goes back to Isaiah 1:15. They are stained with the blood of children sacrificed to Moloch, the prophets that they murdered, and by conspiring against each other.
4 No one calls for justice; no one pleads a case with integrity. They rely on empty arguments, they utter lies; they conceive trouble and give birth to evil.
The kings and priests have distorted the law to their advantage and victimized the poor and faithful.
5 They hatch the eggs of vipers and spin a spider’s web. Whoever eats their eggs will die, and when one is broken, an adder is hatched.
6 Their cobwebs are useless for clothing; they cannot cover themselves with what they make. Their deeds are evil deeds, and acts of violence are in their hands.
These are great metaphors for evil deeds and lies. The product of evil is evil. There is never enough evil to cover it up and hide it forever. It eventually exposes itself for what it is.
7 Their feet rush into sin; they are swift to shed innocent blood. They pursue evil schemes; acts of violence mark their ways. 8 The way of peace they do not know; there is no justice in their paths. They have turned them into crooked roads; no one who walks along them will know peace.
They have no peace and they commit evil because evil has no sense of peace and it has no sense of consequences. Their feet rush into sin because they can’t see past the instant of the sin. They are swift to shed innocent blood because when they slaughter the faithful and godly and remove their voices from among them they don’t hear any voice of condemnation or conviction. Yet, without the example of the godly, the ungodly will continue to make chaos their road.
The prophet makes the confession that Israel should have made for itself.
9 So justice is far from us, and righteousness does not reach us. We look for light, but all is darkness; for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows. 10 Like the blind we grope along the wall, feeling our way like people without eyes. At midday we stumble as if it were twilight; among the strong, we are like the dead. 11 We all growl like bears; we moan mournfully like doves. We look for justice, but find none; for deliverance, but it is far away.
12 For our offenses are many in your sight, and our sins testify against us. Our offenses are ever with us, and we acknowledge our iniquities: 13 rebellion and treachery against the Lord, turning our backs on our God, inciting revolt and oppression, uttering lies our hearts have conceived. 14 So justice is driven back, and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter.
15 Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey.
The Lord looked and was displeased that there was no justice.
Somehow, the voice of God must have made an impact somewhere at some time because they realize that they are stumbling, growling, moaning, and like dead things. They can’t find justice or deliverance because they destroyed the voices of justice and buried the one who delivers them from their history and from their daily lives.
16 He saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene; so his own arm achieved salvation for him, and his own righteousness sustained him.
Literally, there was no man. It is an important distinction. Many commentators want to say there was no champion, but that is a stretch in the other direction. The point is what is fulfilled in Romans 15:12-21 and 1 Corinthians 15:21 – just as through one man sin entered the world and death through sin, so also the resurrection of the dead comes through one man. The confession says “I am the man that sinned.” The response says that a sinless man has to save me.
17 He put on righteousness as his breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on his head;
Sounds like Ephesians 6 – the armor of God.
he put on the garments of vengeance and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak. 18 According to what they have done, so will he repay wrath to his enemies and retribution to his foes; he will repay the islands their due. 19 From the west, people will fear the name of the Lord, and from the rising of the sun, they will revere his glory.
The day of the Lord will happen. There will be a judgment day. But they will revere his glory couldn’t be more true. At the name of Jesus every knee will bow and tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. The glory of God is Jesus and the glory of Jesus is the cross.
For he will come like a pent-up flood that the breath of the Lord drives along.
20 “The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,” declares the Lord.
21 “As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the Lord. “My Spirit, who is on you, will not depart from you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will always be on your lips, on the lips of your children and on the lips of their descendants—from this time on and forever,” says the Lord.
God’s intervention – Ephesians 6:10-18, Jeremiah 31:34
So, we start to see the type of covenant that the redeemer intends for the whole world. The redeemer comes to Zion and it those in Jacob, but the result is that the Abrahamic covenant will be fulfilled by a new covenant that transforms the condition of people from those who fail in righteousness into people who are filled with the Holy Spirit and have righteousness living within them. The only way to overcome the yetzer hara – evil inclination, and be people of the yetzer tov – good inclination, is by the power of the ruach ha kodesh – the Holy Spirit who lives in us because of the one man that could make that happen.