Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Isaiah, Chapter 59

I apologize once again for how late this is going up today. Last night my parents were forced to put my grandmother in the hospital. This meant I had to pay a visit to my home town today, and an already hectic life took another crazy turn. I admit right now that I am struggling at the end of my already limited strength, but I still come here because I know that God is in full control.

It is times where we are tested by so many things that sin becomes a strong temptation. Isaiah 59, today's lesson, deals with that sin. It also deals with the confession and redemption of that sin. Redemption has been a recurring theme throughout the book of Isaiah. We have seen it in the repeated promises of Christ being sent as a redeemer for all mankind. We are far from perfect once we are redeemed. It is our human nature, because of sin, that it becomes a repeating cycle even after we are redeemed. This chapter teaches us that even in this cycle we have a choice. We can choose to follow God and change in light of our sin and redemption, or we can choose to ignore it and God will ignore us.

1 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.

 3 For your hands are stained with blood,
       your fingers with guilt.
       Your lips have spoken lies,
       and your tongue mutters wicked things.

 4 No one calls for justice;
       no one pleads his case with integrity.
       They rely on empty arguments and speak lies;
       they conceive trouble and give birth to evil. --
Isaiah 59:1-4

This does not mean God refuses to hear our prayers if we sin. Like all things with God, it depends on where our heart is when we approach Him. This section is a warning against taking God for granted and not changing our ways once we repent. We accomplish nothing if we repent but don't change our ways. This is like running headfirst into a wall. The only thing it accomplishes is likely a bloody nose. In some cases it is even worse because we are thumbing our nose at God by asking Him to forgive us when we have no intention of changing our ways.

This is an area of my life where I have often struggled. It's not just one way either, but several ways. It took me years of battling my anger before I realized that I needed to change something about it rather than ask for forgiveness from my actions. An alcoholic accomplishes nothing if he asks for forgiveness from drinking unless he actually stops drinking from it. The actions here are twofold. God promises that He will never walk away from us. He will never take away His forgiveness. We must still do our part, however, and commit ourselves to a relationship with Him.

21 "As for me, this is my covenant with them," says the LORD. "My Spirit, who is on you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will not depart from your mouth, or from the mouths of your children, or from the mouths of their descendants from this time on and forever," says the LORD. -- Isaiah 59:21

This represents that covenant with us. We saw in verses 16-17 that God came as a redeemer Himself in the form of Christ. He came because there was no other that could come in His place. We have seen these characteristics, which are given to Christ here, before when Paul uses them too describe how we must put on the full armor of God. It is because of this covenant in verse 21 that we can put on the full armor of God and face our own sin.


  1. How do you deal with the temptation of sin?
  2. In what ways have you failed to move past sin and repentance before?
  3. Why does God allow us leeway for failure after forgiveness?

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