A Study in the Word – Isaiah 59:1-21


Only confession of their sinful plight can help sinners. When they finally acknowledge to God what they have done to themselves, God will redeem them. He is fully able to pull them up to the higher plane of holiness and He is perfectly willing to do so (59:1). Nevertheless, their sins have made a “separation” between them and God (59:2a), a word used in Genesis to divide light from darkness (Gen. 1:18).

If the “hand” indicates God’s willful action to save, the hands of Israel show their determination to lie and shed blood (59:3). They bear false witness in court and create chaos. They spend “their time plotting evil deeds and then doing them” (59:4, NLT). Poisonous spiders and snakes illustrate the depth to which they have sunk (59:5-6). Whatever they do brings havoc and ruin to others (59:7). The path of iniquity they know quite well, but “No one who walks that path will ever be safe” (59:8, GNB).

A few seem to grasp the severity of sin. They compose a lament that accurately portrays their depraved state; their mask of pretense has come off. God has offered light; still, they “walk in gloom” (59:9). They admit their deathlike blindness and desperate need of a guide for life (59:10). Their ways have distorted the ways of justice and salvation (59:11). Confession of sin is their only hope. The prophecy of Isaiah began by stating Israel does not know their God (1:3), but they admit they know their sin well enough (59:12). They confess to “talking perversely and defiantly” by deliberately lying (59:13, Moffatt). They have blocked out from their lives the fine qualities of God (59:14). “There is so little honesty that anyone who stops doing evil finds himself the victim of crime” (59:15a, GNB).

None of this escapes the notice of Yahweh (59:15b). He finds no one in Israel to stand for His cause, so He takes matters into His own hands as a warrior (59:16-17). His strategy involves recompence for evil wherever it is found (59:18). His wrath will be like a storm surge crashing against all who so deliberately oppose Him (59:19).

What of the faithful remnant? Theirs is to experience the coming of the Redeemer (59:20). God’s Spirit will establish a covenant with the remnant that will ensure the promises of total salvation will come true for them “from henceforth and for ever” (59:21, KJV).

Dr. David Moore is a Baptist preacher in Pampa and an online instructor in Bible and theology for Taylor University and Nations University. Email: dm5867se@outlook.com.