Isaiah 59 begins with an affirmation of God’s ability to provide salvation: “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.” (Is. 59:1).  The problem was neither God’s ability to save, nor his inactivity, but rather the sins of the people.  “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.” (v. 2).  

“Repentance does not come easily to any of us, and it is hardest of all for people who have become accustomed to using religion as a cover for their sin.  When their prayers go unanswered, they find it easier to blame God than to take a long, hard look at themselves” (Bible Speaks Today).  We are being held accountable by the words of the prophet.

Isaiah describes what life was like among the Israelites.  Their hands are those of “murderers” (v. 3); their “lips are full of lies and [their] mouth spews corruption” (v. 3). “No one cares about being fair and honest” (v. 4).  Even worse, “The people’s lawsuits are based on lies. They conceive evil deeds and then give birth to sin. (v. 4).  “They think only about sinning.  Misery and destruction always follow them” (v. 7).  They are not able to find peace nor do they know what is just and good (v. 8).  This is a mirror of our culture.

The result was a life stumbling in spiritual darkness.  “So there is no justice among us, and we know nothing about right living.  We look for light but find only darkness.  We look for bright skies but walk in gloom.  We grope like the blind along a wall, feeling our way like people without eyes.  Even at brightest noontime, we stumble as though it were dark” (Is. 59:9-10).  Those who articulate the popular narrative seem to be “groping like the blind along a wall.” 

This spiritual decay moved the people to confess their sin and repent. “For our sins are piled up before God and testify against us.  Yes, we know what sinners we are” (v. 12).  The condition of their nation could well be describing America today.  “Our courts oppose the righteous, and justice is nowhere to be found.  Truth stumbles in the streets, and honesty has been outlawed.  Yes, truth is gone, and everyone who renounces evil is attacked” (v. 14-15). 

God’s response is to assume the guise of a warrior.  “So he himself stepped in to save them with his strong arm, and his justice sustained him” (v. 16).  “He put on righteousness as his body armor and placed the helmet of salvation on his head. He clothed himself with a robe of vengeance and wrapped himself in a cloak of divine passion” (v. 17). 

Men, I write this to give you assurance that our heavenly Father sees the condition of our nation as described by the prophetic words of Isaiah.  As we apply them to our day, it should lead us to daily repentance and motivate us to cry out for mercy.  

At the appropriate time God will intervene in the affairs of our modern age. “The Lord will march forth like a mighty hero; he will come out like a warrior, full of fury.  He will shout his battle cry and crush all his enemies” (Is. 42:13).  At that time, “He will say, ‘I have long been silent; yes, I have restrained myself.  But now, like a woman in labor, I will cry and groan and pant” (Is. 42:14).  Lord, come again! Heal and save!