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FRAMEWORKS: Isaiah 59: Sin, confession and redemption


v.1,2 Your sins have pushed God away

v.3-15 The sins spelled out

v.16-20 The actions God will take

v.21 Final affirmation for the prophet


[Preliminary notes: This chapter continues to catalogue the sins of the nation. God has been distanced [v.1,2] but their sins are obvious [v.3-15] and for this the Lord warns He is about to rise up against them [v.16-20] bringing hope only to those who will repent [v.20]. The chapter ends with a word of encouragement for the prophet himself [v.21] that may, perhaps, be also applied to those who repent and heed the Lord's warnings.]



v.1,2 Your sins have pushed God away


v.1 God CAN be there for you…

v.1  Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save,
    nor his ear too dull to hear.

v.2 … BUT your sins have shut Him off from you

v.2  But your iniquities have separated
    you from your God;
your sins have hidden his face from you,
    so that he will not hear.


v.3-15 The sins spelled out


v.3 Those sins are obvious

v.3  For [i] your hands are stained with blood,
[ii] your fingers with guilt.
[iii] Your lips have spoken falsely,
[iv] your tongue mutters wicked things.
v.4   [v] No one calls for justice;
[vi] no one pleads a case with integrity.
[viii] rely on empty arguments, they utter lies;
[ix] conceive trouble and give birth to evil.

v.5 They create poison and flimsy assurances that only harm the people

v.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.

v.6 They use their flimsy assurances to make themselves look good, but they're evil

v.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.

v.7 They constantly look to do wrong and cause harm to others

v.7  Their feet rush into sin;
    they are swift to shed innocent blood.
They pursue evil schemes;
    acts of violence mark their ways.

v.8 Peace & justice are absent from their distorted ways

v.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.


v.9 Instead of justice and righteousness there is only darkness

v.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.

v.10 So it's like everyone is blind, weak, spiritually dead

v.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.

v.11 They make noises but no good comes

v.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.


v.12-15 He sees all their wrongs

v.12  For [i] our offences are many in your sight,
[ii] our sins testify against us.
[iii] Our offences are ever with us,
    and we acknowledge our
[iv] iniquities:

v.13   [v] rebellion and treachery against the Lord,
[vi]  turning our backs on our God,
[vii] inciting revolt and oppression,
[viii] uttering lies our hearts have conceived.

v.14  So [ix] justice is driven back,
[x] righteousness stands at a distance;
[xi] truth has stumbled in the streets,
[xii] honesty cannot enter.

v.15   [xiii] Truth is nowhere to be found,
[xiv] whoever shuns evil becomes a prey.

The Lord looked and was displeased
[xv] there was no justice.


v.16-20 The actions God will take


v.16 God was shocked that there was no one to stand against all this…

v.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.

v.17 …so He Himself gets ready to wage war…

v.17  He put on righteousness as his breastplate,
    and the helmet of salvation on his head;
he put on the garments of vengeance
    and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.

v.18 …so He will pay back those sinners

v.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.

v.19 The world will see and stand in awe…

v.19  From the west, people will fear the name of the Lord,
    and from the rising of the sun, they will revere his glory.
For he will come like a pent-up flood
    that the breath of the Lord drives along.


v.20 …but He will come as a Redeemer for those who will repent

v.20  ‘The Redeemer will come to Zion,
    to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,'
declares the Lord.



v.21 Final affirmation for the prophet


v.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 for ever,' says the Lord.



Continue to Chapter 60