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Hope Dawns Through the Redeemer - A Commentary on Isaiah 59
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Hope Dawns Through the Redeemer – A Commentary on Isaiah 59

Introduction

Isaiah 59 continues Isaiah’s emphasis on righteous living, explaining how sin hinders intimacy with God while repentance restores relationship. Though the people’s wickedness has separated them from the Lord, Isaiah prophesies future atonement through the Messiah who will come to redeem, judge, and restore.

Despite present distance caused by disobedience, God promises hope of restoration through the coming Redeemer. He remains committed to make His salvation known to all nations through the emergence of a faithful remnant. Isaiah calls wayward people to repent and return to the Lord who promises to redeem all who turn to Him through the messianic Servant.

As we study this illuminating chapter, may God give us humility to confess any sin that obstructs our fellowship with Him. By God’s grace, let’s walk in repentance and righteousness until the arrival of Christ’s perfect kingdom of justice, light and truth.

Key Takeaways:

  • Sin cuts us off from intimacy with God and prevents Him hearing our prayers
  • God remains faithful even when His people are unfaithful
  • There is hope of redemption through the coming Messiah’s atoning work
  • The Redeemer will establish perfect justice, salvation and truth on earth
  • God promises to make His glory known globally through a faithful remnant
  • We must repent of wickedness for relationship with the Lord to be restored
  • Righteous living andjustice flow from those redeemed by the suffering Servant
  • The Messiah brings light to those in darkness through His compassion
Hope dawns through the redeemer - a commentary on isaiah 59

Commentary on Isaiah 59

Sin as Barrier to God (59:1-8)

1 Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save,
or his ear dull, that it cannot hear;
2 but your iniquities have made a separation
between you and your God,
and your sins have hidden his face from you
so that he does not hear.
3 For your hands are defiled with blood
and your fingers with iniquity;
your lips have spoken lies;
your tongue mutters wickedness.
4 No one enters suit justly;
no one goes to law honestly;
they rely on empty pleas, they speak lies,
they conceive mischief and give birth to iniquity.

5 They hatch adders’ eggs;
they weave the spider’s web;
he who eats their eggs dies,
and from one that is crushed a viper is hatched.
6 Their webs will not serve as clothing;
men will not cover themselves with what they make.
Their works are works of iniquity,
and deeds of violence are in their hands.
7 Their feet run to evil,
and they are swift to shed innocent blood;
their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity;
wasting and destruction are in their paths.

8 The way of peace they do not know,
and there is no justice in their paths;
they have made their roads crooked;
no one who treads on them knows peace. (Isaiah 59:1-8 ESV)

These verses explain how disobedience cuts people off from intimacy with God. Though the Lord remains perfectly capable to save, sin obstructs relationship like a veil separates His face from being seen (v.1-2).

Isaiah details appalling examples of deceit, violence and injustice perpetrated brazenly by the people (v.3-8). They resembles poisonous vipers spreading destruction, knowing nothing of righteousness and peace.

Sin’s devastating effects appear not in limiting God’s power, but obstructing human receptivity to receive from Him. It precludes true peace and rest in the soul. Darkness envelops those rebelling against the light.

Confession of Wickedness (59:9-15a)

9 Therefore justice is far from us,
and righteousness does not overtake us;
we hope for light, and behold, darkness,
and for brightness, but we walk in gloom.
10 We grope for the wall like the blind;
we grope like those who have no eyes;
we stumble at noon as in the twilight,
among those in full vigor we are like dead men.
11 We all growl like bears;
we moan and moan like doves;
we hope for justice, but there is none;
for salvation, but it is far from us.

12 For our transgressions are multiplied before you,
and our sins testify against us;
for our transgressions are with us,
and we know our iniquities:
13 transgressing, and denying the LORD,
and turning back from following our God,
speaking oppression and revolt,
conceiving and uttering from the heart lying words.

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14 Justice is turned back,
and righteousness stands far away;
for truth has stumbled in the public squares,
and uprightness cannot enter.
15 Truth is lacking,
and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. (Isaiah 59:9-15a ESV)

In response to this gloomy portrait of wickedness, Isaiah leads the nation in a sobering corporate confession of the bitter fruits of sin. Though longing for light, they walk in darkness. Justice and righteousness remain distant dreams rather than realities (v.9-11).

The people acknowledge multiplied rebellion against the Lord marked by oppression, lies, and denial of truth (v.12-15a). With poignant honesty, Isaiah admits they have all turned away from God’s righteous path.

True repentance requires unsparing admission of guilt. We must follow Isaiah’s model of contrition, laying bare our wickedness before the Lord to receive mercy.

Hope Through the Redeemer (59:15b-21)

15b The LORD saw it, and it displeased him
that there was no justice.
16 He saw that there was no man,
and wondered that there was no one to intercede;
then his own arm brought him salvation,
and his righteousness upheld him.
17 He put on righteousness as a breastplate,
and a helmet of salvation on his head;
he put on garments of vengeance for clothing,
and wrapped himself in zeal as a cloak.

18 According to their deeds, so will he repay,
wrath to his adversaries, repayment to his enemies;
to the coastlands he will render repayment.
19 So they shall fear the name of the LORD from the west,
and his glory from the rising of the sun;
for he will come like a rushing stream,
which the wind of the LORD drives.

20 “And a Redeemer will come to Zion,
to those in Jacob who turn from transgression,” declares the LORD.
21 “And as for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the LORD: “My Spirit that is upon you, and my words that I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, or out of the mouth of your offspring, or out of the mouth of your children’s offspring,” says the LORD, “from this time forth and forevermore.” (Isaiah 59:15b-21 ESV)

Though the people’s sin justly angered God, He remains committed to provide future redemption through His messianic Servant, the divine Redeemer (v.15b-16).

The Lord will establish perfect justice on earth through judging the wicked and saving Zion (v.17-19). This leads to global worship of God’s glory through both Jews and Gentiles (v.19b).

Verse 20 promises the Redeemer will come to all who turn from sin. God will preserve a faithful remnant as recipients and proclaimers of His lasting word (v.21). Messiah brings light!

Despite present gloom, Isaiah ignites enduring hope in the coming Redeemer who will righteously judge and redeem. God remains faithful to creation purposes.

Detailed Commentary on Isaiah 59

Now let’s reflect verse-by-verse on how Isaiah 59 balances confronting sin with maintaining hope:

Sin as Barrier to God (59:1-8)

1 Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; (Isaiah 59:1)

The chapter opens affirming God remains fully capable to save and hear His people, despite their perception to the contrary. The problem is not divine weakness, but human sin.

God’s attributes never change. He stands ready at all times to show mercy to those who humbly seek Him. The hindrance is hard hearts, not a hard God.

2 but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear. (Isaiah 59:2)

Verse 2 explains sin cuts people off from intimacy with God like a thick veil or impassable chasm separating two parties. Iniquity causes presumed divine “inability”.

Our behavior never alters God’s omnipotence, but disobedience damages our receptivity to experience His loving presence and power.

3 For your hands are defiled with blood and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies; your tongue mutters wickedness. (Isaiah 59:3)

The prophet accuses Israel of appalling sins including murder, injustice, deceit and vocalized wickedness. Unconfessed sin stains our hands before a holy God.

Though harsh, Isaiah’s language reflects true love, warning urgently of actions provoking God’s discipline. Transparent confrontation serves redemption.

4 No one enters suit justly; no one goes to law honestly; they rely on empty pleas, they speak lies, they conceive mischief and give birth to iniquity. (Isaiah 59:4)

Verse 4 condemns the lack of truth and integrity in Israel’s legal system. Widespread injustice and deception reveal a sick society in rebellion against God’s righteous standards.

From courtrooms to classrooms, maintaining justice and truth remains essential. Believers must stand boldly for righteousness in public spheres.

5 They hatch adders’ eggs; they weave the spider’s web; he who eats their eggs dies, and from one that is crushed a viper is hatched. (Isaiah 59:5)

This vivid metaphor compares the people’s schemes to deadly snakes and spiders. What they hatch brings forth destruction instead of life. Violence replicates violence.

Evil designs never accomplish lasting good. They fail to build up society. Only just and compassionate policies aligned with God’s word can bless a nation.

6 Their webs will not serve as clothing; men will not cover themselves with what they make. Their works are works of iniquity, and deeds of violence are in their hands. (Isaiah 59:6)

Isaiah emphasizes the utter futility of wickedness for providing cover or benefit to society. Evil deeds weave a poisonous shroud rather than protective covering.

Sin often boasts productivity, yet achieves only greater vulnerability. God designed His commands to bless; rejecting His ways brings desolation.

7 Their feet run to evil, and they are swift to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths. (Isaiah 59:7)

The people’s feet “run to evil”, eagerly pursuing violence and bloodshed. Their thoughts overflow with wicked schemes. Sinful passions rule their hearts.

Where our affections go our actions follow. We must constantly renew our minds and guard our hearts to avoid conformity to the world (Romans 12:1-2).

8 The way of peace they do not know, and there is no justice in their paths; they have made their roads crooked; no one who treads on them knows peace. (Isaiah 59:8)

In summary, the nation’s sin prevents them knowing true peace or justice. Rejecting God’s straight path, they walk in crookedness and unrest.

Sin promises but never imparts the soul prosperity found only in Christ. The path of disobedience leads ultimately to futility and misery rather than life.

Confession of Wickedness (59:9-15a)

9 Therefore justice is far from us, and righteousness does not overtake us; we hope for light, and behold, darkness, and for brightness, but we walk in gloom. (Isaiah 59:9)

In light of widespread sin, justice and righteousness remain elusive hopes rather than realities. Darkness pervades those craving light. Gloom engulfs all.

When God’s people disregard his commands, they reap the bitter fruits of godlessness. Backsliding blocks blessings and progress.

10 We grope for the wall like the blind; we grope like those who have no eyes; we stumble at noon as in the twilight, among those in full vigor we are like dead men. (Isaiah 59:10)

Using vivid metaphors, Isaiah depicts the people groping aimlessly like blind men, lacking moral clarity and spiritual discernment. Darkness at noon symbolizes losing one’s way in rebellion.

When believers compromise truth, confusion and weakness result. Our obscured vision causes stumbling. Obeying God’s word provides light on the path.

11 We all growl like bears; we moan and moan like doves; we hope for justice, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far from us. (Isaiah 59:11)

Israel resembles snarling bears and moaning doves, angry at injustice yet helpless to correct it. They long for righteousness and salvation, but it remains distant.

How often people lament social problems spawned directly by their own godlessness! We must first model righteousness to transform culture. Light overcomes darkness.

12 For our transgressions are multiplied before you, and our sins testify against us; for our transgressions are with us, and we know our iniquities: (Isaiah 59:12)

In verse 12 the prophet acknowledges their sins are multiplied and obvious before God who sees all. Honest confession precedes potential deliverance.

Coming before God with transparency regarding sin is critical for restoring fellowship with Him. We must turn from denial and admit our faults.

13 transgressing, and denying the LORD, and turning back from following our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart lying words. (Isaiah 59:13)

Isaiah details the sins of Israel: rejecting God, rebelling against Him, oppressing others, and speaking deception. Wickedness flows from wicked hearts.

Where Christ reigns in the heart, righteous deeds follow. Where sin occupies the heart, lawlessness results. As Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinks within himself, so he is.”

14 Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands far away; for truth has stumbled in the public squares, and uprightness cannot enter. (Isaiah 59:14)

Due to rampant sin, justice, righteousness and truth remain excluded from society while evil flourishes in the public square. Darkness prevails widely.

When God’s people tolerate immorality, society suffers. The church must uphold God’s standards of righteousness and truth for the common good.

15 Truth is lacking, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. (Isaiah 59:15a)

Where truth is scarce, those practicing righteousness are vulnerable to evildoers. Holding to integrity requires courage when corruption abounds.

Amidst deception, clinging to righteousness and speaking truth display Christ’s light. God’s word must define justice over fickle cultural tides.

Hope Through the Redeemer (59:15b-21)

15b The LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice. (Isaiah 59:15b)

Though God is rightly displeased with sin, the next verses express hope in His redemptive response. Wrath mingles with mercy in the heart of God.

Even in righteous anger, the Lord remains committed to restore and forgive those who have rebelled against Him. He loves consistently.

16 He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intercede; then his own arm brought him salvation, and his righteousness upheld him. (Isaiah 59:16)

Seeing humanity’s corporate failure, God takes the initiative to provide redemption. With no faithful intercessor, the Lord’s own power upholds and saves.

This verse ultimately points to Christ, the incarnation of God’s righteousness. He alone could intercede perfectly for sinners.

17 He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head; he put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and wrapped himself in zeal as a cloak. (Isaiah 59:17)

Utilizing battle imagery, verse 17 symbolizes how God arms Himself to establish righteousness. He dons vengeance and zeal against wickedness alongside salvation and redemption for the faithful.

At the cross, Jesus bore God’s wrath so believers could be spared. For unbelievers, He comes as conquering king to judge rebellion and vindicate the saints.

18 According to their deeds, so will he repay, wrath to his adversaries, repayment to his enemies; to the coastlands he will render repayment. (Isaiah 59:18)

God’s judgment repays the disobedient according to their guilt. His wrath falls on unrepentant sinners while His people receive grace. Ultimately no evildoer escapes.

Hell showcases God’s justice, the cross His mercy. But unrighteousness provokes holy wrath. We must preach both salvation and coming judgment.

19 So they shall fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun; for he will come like a rushing stream, which the wind of the LORD drives. (Isaiah 59:19)

When the Lord acts in power, all nations will know and fear Him. His glory as righteous judge and mighty savior will shine from east to west. None can stop His purposes.

As the gospel goes global, increasingly diverse peoples submit to Christ in reverent worship. All glory and authority belong to the risen King of Kings.

20 “And a Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who turn from transgression,” declares the LORD. (Isaiah 59:20)

This famous messianic prophecy promises the divine Redeemer will come to provide salvation. But only those repenting of sin will participate in redemption.

Jesus fulfilled this as the Redeemer and only mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5-6). Salvation requires turning from sin to trust in Christ.

21 “And as for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the LORD: “My Spirit that is upon you, and my words that I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, or out of the mouth of your offspring, or out of the mouth of your children’s offspring,” says the LORD, “from this time forth and forevermore.” (Isaiah 59:21)

God pledges to preserve a faithful remnant who proclaim His word from age to age. The Messiah’s redeeming work ensures God’s truth remains known despite sin.

We now proclaim the gospel by the Spirit’s power as recipients of the New Covenant. Through His mercy, light keeps dawning amidst darkness until Christ returns.

Key Themes and Connections

Reflecting on Isaiah 59, we see key theological themes:

Sin’s Tragic Consequences

  • Isaiah highlights how sin blocks intimacy with God, prevents justice/righteousness, breeds deceit, fuels violence, and spreads darkness/gloom.
  • Disobedience hurts relationship with God and results in damage rippling through society. Obeying God’s word prevents vast sorrow.

Need for Repentance

  • Restoring fellowship with the Lord requires unsparing admission of guilt, both personal and collective. We must renounce specific sins.
  • Like Isaiah, acknowledging the bitter fruits of wickedness leads to revival. Light dawns when we cease denying truth about sin.

God Judges Sin But Saves Sinners

  • Amidst righteous anger at injustice, God remains committed to redemption through the Messiah. Wrath mingles with mercy.
  • Hell justly punishes sinners who spurn Christ while the cross expresses God’s love for the lost. We must preach both realities.

Salvation Comes Through the Redeemer

  • Isaiah promises hope of redemption will come through the divine Servant and Messiah sent to Zion. This finds fulfillment in Jesus.
  • Jesus alone could solve humanity’s sin problem through the cross. Salvation requires relying fully on Christ’s redemptive work.

God Upholds His Word

  • Despite widespread rebellion, God promises to sustain a faithful remnant to proclaim His true word from generation to generation.
  • We now testify to the gospel by the Spirit’s power as New Covenant believers. No darkness can extinguish God’s truth.

Conclusion

Isaiah 59 highlights the importance of confessing and renouncing sin to restore intimacy with God. Where transgression abounds, gloom and destruction follow. But when in humility we turn from wickedness, light dawns as relationship is renewed by grace.

This chapter calls believers to model repentance and righteousness that our communities may be blessed rather than torn apart by injustice and deceit. God desires to spread hope worldwide through ambassadors of His love, truth and justice. May we shine as lights for His glory!

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Pastor duke taber
Pastor Duke Taber

Pastor Duke Taber

All articles have been written or reviewed by Pastor Duke Taber.
Pastor Duke Taber is an alumnus of Life Pacific University and Multnomah Biblical Seminary.
He has been in pastoral ministry since 1988.
Today he is the owner and managing editor of 3 successful Christian websites that support missionaries around the world.
He is currently starting a brand new church in Mesquite NV called Mesquite Worship Center, a Non-Denominational Spirit Filled Christian church in Mesquite Nevada.