If prayers are not answered and the salvation we wait for is not wrought for us,
it is not evidence that God is weary of hearing prayer, but that, for some reason, He cannot answer.
Sin hides His face from us, provokes Him to withdraw His gracious presence and suspend the tokens of His favor.
1 Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:
2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
3 For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness.
4 None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity.
5 They hatch cockatrice’ eggs, and weave the spider’s web: he that eateth of their eggs dieth, and that which is crushed breaketh out into a viper.
6 Their webs shall not become garments, neither shall they cover themselves with their works: their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands.
7 Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths.
8 The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace.
9 ¶ Therefore is judgment far from us, neither doth justice overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness.
10 We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes: we stumble at noonday as in the night; we are in desolate places as dead men.
11 We roar all like bears, and mourn sore like doves: we look for judgment, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far off from us.
12 For our transgressions are multiplied before thee, and our sins testify against us: for our transgressions are with us; and as for our iniquities, we know them;
13 In transgressing and lying against the LORD, and departing away from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood.
14 And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.
15 Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment.
16 ¶ And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him.
17 For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke.
18 According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay, fury to his adversaries, recompence to his enemies; to the islands he will repay recompence.
19 So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.
20 ¶ And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD.
21 As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever.
Isaiah 1 – J. Vernon McGee
Isaiah 59:1-15 – Iniquities Separate from God
Israel’s sins, Isaiah 59:1-8. Much of our suffering in life results from our sins, which cut off God’s health and help. Let us not blame Providence, but set ourselves to discover the cause of controversy. When the law courts—the fountains of justice—are demoralized, the community is in a hopeless condition, Isaiah 59:3-4. Instead of stamping out evil in the egg, the sinful heart hatches it out, and it yields the poison of vipers, Isaiah 59:5. Ah, the hapless state of the ungodly! Their feet, and their thoughts, and their paths, are fatal to the peace of others and to their own. The way of peace can be entered only at the Cross, and maintained only by constant watchfulness. See Luke 1:79.
Israel’s confession, Isaiah 59:9-15. Here the stricken people pour out their complaint before God, confessing, first, the bitterness of their sufferings and then the blackness of their sins. The roar of the hungry bear for food and the dove’s mourning for her mate, Isaiah 59:11, are apt descriptions of the complaint of the penitent soul. It is a good sign when a man cannot lift up his eyes to heaven and beats upon his breast, Luke 18:13. —Through the Bible Day by Day
THE ENEMIES OF THE REPUBLIC.
Columbia has need of ships of war but she has need also of watchfulness within, lest, in looking for enemy abroad, she forget that in her very borders there are dark-browed assassins lying in ambush ready to slay her and take Justice and Liberty captive. No evils threaten greater menace to the nation than those which are embodied in the rum traffic and in corporate bribery. The serpent trail of each is seen in council chambers and senate halls. They work in the dark and they work stealthily. They are traitors and public foes. They should be destroyed.
Isaiah 59:15-21 – The Divine Arm Brings Redemption
Israel’s Savior. The Almighty Lover of souls is described as looking round to see if help were forthcoming from any other quarter; and there being none, He girds Himself for the conflict with the enemies of His people. He dons breastplate and helmet, clothing and cloak, and hastens to deliver, Isaiah 59:17. This is surely a portrait of our Lord Jesus, who stands up to plead the cause and to achieve the redemption of the penitent and believing soul. When, the enemy threatens to pour in like a pent-up stream, look to Jesus to raise the standard against him. Let Him fight your battles! Let the blows that are meant for you be caught on His shield!
All parents and grandparents should ponder the precious promises of Isaiah 59:20-21. As God gives us children, let us place our fingers on this sure word of promise and claim that it shall be literally fulfilled in children and children’s children. In thousands of godly families there has been an unbroken succession of piety. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Isaiah 59:21—My Spirit… and my words… shall not depart.
This is a very precious promise, especially to God’s ministers and to all who are using their voice and lips in his holy service. These may claim its fulfillment up to the hilt; and it is no doubt due to some pious ancestor having claimed these words that there is so often a godly succession of ministers in one family bearing the same honored name.
But these words are often quoted promiscuously and carelessly. Notice there are two traits of character distinctly noted and specified.
We must receive the Holy Spirit, and we must utter the words which He puts into our lips. They are one, because when the Holy Spirit fills the soul the lips are touched as with a live coal from off the altar. “They were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak” (Acts 2:4). Oh, bend your head low beneath the anointing of the great High Priest. Let Him breathe on you, and say, Receive the Holy Spirit; and then go out to be a witness for Him. Thou shalt be taught in the same hour what and how.
It is a marvelous thing that God should enter into covenant with man to keep on blessing his seed for his Word’s sake. Yet He does so. He keeps his blessings for thousands of them that love Him and keep his commandments, He punishes only to the third and fourth generation of them that hate Him. Long after you have gone, if only you have earnestly done God’s work in the world, He will be gracious to your children and your children’s children. Not only, as the poet said, “in a dead man’s face” comes out the likeness to one of his ancestors, but in the faces and lives of living men we may trace the influence of their godly forefathers. —Our Daily Homily