Isaiah Chapter 59
Verses 1-21: Chapter 59 continues the judgments enumerated (in chapter 58), regarding Israel’s hypocrisy. God’s hand is not yet beyond the reach of salvation. But their “sins” separated them from His presence, and they are described in detail throughout the chapter.
Isaiah 59:1 “Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:”
“Lord’s hand … His ear”: The Lord’s strength is more than adequate to bring deliverance to captive Israel (50:2). His ear is attuned to the call of His repentant people (58:9; 65:24).
God is always available and fully capable of helping His people. God never moves away from His people, they move away from Him. He hears and answers prayers, but as we learned in the last lesson, the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
This is saying if we, or these of the house of Jacob, are not living right, God might answer “no” to our request.
Isaiah 59:2 “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid [his] face from you, that he will not hear.”
“Iniquities … sins”: Abraham’s physical lineage had not yet experienced the Lord’s deliverance because of the barrier created by their wrongdoing. This is a universal truth applying to all men: sin separates people from God (Rom. 3:23).
We understand fully that God will not force Himself on them. They have separated themselves from God by the evil in their lives. God loves them, even when they are living in sin, but He will not reward them for sinning.
Isaiah 59:3 “For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness.”
Now, we begin to see exactly what their sins are. Their “hands being defiled with blood”, is speaking of their viciousness. They even sacrificed their children to Molech. Some people are likening the abortions today to the sacrificing of children to Molech. Children are a gift from God.
Their “fingers with iniquity” means their work is sinful. They tell lies. Since God is Truth, you can see the problem in this. “Perverseness” in this, has to do with immorality.
Isaiah 59:4 “None calleth for justice, nor [any] pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity.”
It seems this is speaking of false testimony that is given in trials. They are puffed up with pride and will do, or say, anything to save face. They will tell a lie, if it will sway the decision in their favor. It seems their hearts and minds are stayed on evil.
“Conceive” means they manufacture it within themselves. They are evil all the way through. Their evil thoughts become evil deeds, as they act upon them.
Isaiah 59:5 “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.”
“Cockatrice’ eggs … spider’s web”: It is sad when people do evil, but even sadder when they delight in poisoning or ensnaring others with their evil habits (Rom. 1:32). Israel had reached this latter state.
This again, is speaking of the evil imaginations they hatch in their evil minds. They tell one lie upon another to catch a person in their evil web. Those who associate with them become just as evil as they are.
They are so evil; they are like the serpent that deceived Eve. This serpent is symbolic of Satan himself.
Isaiah 59:6 “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.”
“Webs … works”: Just as spiders’ webs are too flimsy to serve as clothing, so were Israel’s evil works. Spiritually, they did not suffice.
They are not weaving material for garments to help someone. They are weaving to trap someone who is unaware, like a spider would. Their works help no one at all. They are works that are useless.
We have seen in our society in recent years, that acts of iniquity and violence destroy, they do not build.
Verses 7-8: “Their feet … they know not … peace”: From Isaiah’s pen, the words focused on the national depravity of Israel that stood in the way of God’s deliverance. Paul showed that what was true of sinful Israel is indicative of the depravity of all mankind (Rom. 3:15-17).
Isaiah 59:7 “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.”
They will do anything to benefit themselves, even killing. They are not seeking a way to make an honest living; they are trying to take shortcuts. They had rather do evil than good.
Their minds are so twisted, they would not do good, even if it were easier. They rush into sin at every chance. They are not part of the solution to the problems. They are the problem.
Isaiah 59:8 “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.”
They do not know God, so they cannot know peace. True peace comes from God. There are two paths you can take in this life. The godly take the straight and narrow path which leads to God. The ungodly wander around on the broad road.
Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide [is] the gate, and broad [is] the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:” “Because strait [is] the gate, and narrow [is] the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
There is no peace for those on this broad road, because this life is all they have. They will not inherit heaven.
Isaiah 59:9 “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.”
This is a confession of their unsaved condition.
John 11:10 “But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.”
Jesus says: walk in the Light.
John 8:12 “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”
The secret to all of this, is repenting and coming to God, so that the Light will guide you.
Verses 10-11: “Grope … stumble”: Here is a picture of men seeking unsuccessfully to escape their depraved condition through their own strength. They wind up growling and lamenting their inability to gain salvation (Deut. 28:29).
Isaiah 59:10 “We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if [we had] no eyes: we stumble at noon day as in the night; [we are] in desolate places as dead [men].”
They have eyes to see, but they do not see. Their sin has blinded them. Their spirit is dead.
Isaiah 59:11 “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.”
They are in desperate need of a Savior. God could not wait until they, or we, deserved to be saved, because they could not pull themselves out of the darkness. God sent His Son to bring the Light to the world, so that whosoever would could be saved.
When the Light of Jesus shines in your life, it does away with all darkness. They just need Jesus, their Messiah to come and awaken them.
Verses 12-14: “transgressions … iniquities”: The prophet supplies the answer to the nation’s frustrations: their sins and transgressions remain as an obstacle to God’s deliverance. Though their external rituals may be proper, their impure motives remain as a hindrance between God and His people. (Matt. 12:34; Mark 7:21-22). The presence of iniquity eliminates righteousness.
Isaiah 59:12 “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;”
Even if they did sacrifice for their sin, it was covered and hidden for a year by the blood of an animal. The blood of an animal could not clear their consciences. Their sins were still there.
It took the precious blood of Jesus, the Christ, the Son of the Living God to abolish sin. He defeated sin on the cross at Calvary. The only solution for them, or us, is to accept Jesus as our Substitute because He paid the price for our sin, then be washed in the blood of the Lamb, and be set free from sin.
Isaiah 59:13 “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.”
The heart of the carnal man is desperately wicked. The mouth speaks whatever is in the heart. Before a man is saved, his language is X-rated.
Luke 6:45 “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.”
Isaiah 59:14 “And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.”
This is just saying, with evil men there is no justice. They lie and cheat to get whatever they want. There is no such thing as a fair trial, when you have evil witnesses.
Verses 15-16: “The Lord saw … no intercessor”: The Lord was aware of Israel’s tragic condition and of the absence of anyone to intervene on His behalf.
The Lord took it on Himself to change Israel’s condition through the intervention of His Suffering Servant (53:12).
Isaiah 59:15 “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.”
“Maketh himself a prey”: In an environment where evil prevailed, anyone who departed from it became a victim of his environment because he did not fit in.
Those, who are living evil lives, try to destroy anyone who tries to break away and do right. One of the reasons for this is because the evil ones are afraid their evil ways will be found out.
God helps those who try to break away from evil. God will fight on your behalf, if you make a stand for God.
Isaiah 59:16 “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.”
No man came forward to try to straighten this out. We do not know why, but perhaps from fear, no man stepped forward to work for God in this matter. God had sent judges, and prophets, but the evil ones had killed them.
“There was no man” who could do this, so there had to be the Arm of God to be the Savior. Jesus Christ is the Arm of God. He is the Savior. For there are three that bear record in Heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one (1 John 5:7).
He not only had righteousness; He is Righteousness.
Verses 17-18: “Garments of vengeance … recompense to His enemies”: In the process of delivering the faithful remnant of Israel, the Lord executes decisive judgment against all rebellious nations (“islands”), as well as the wicked Israelites (63:1-6).
Isaiah 59:17 “For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance [for] clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak.”
“Righteousness like a breastplate … helmet of salvation”: Figuratively speaking, the Lord armed Himself for the deliverance of His people and for taking vengeance on enemies who would seek His destruction. Paul drew on the terminology in describing a believer’s spiritual preparation for warding off the attacks of Satan (Eph. 6:14, 17, 1 Thess. 5:8).
Jesus did not need armor like the kings wore in battle. His armor for His breast was righteousness. He is the Head of the church. He brought salvation to all who would believe. He is the Head; the believers in Christ make up the body.
The only weapon He used was the two-edged sword, which is the Word of God. His sword came from His mouth.
The Bible says that vengeance belongs to God, He will repay. He worked tirelessly, so that all who would believe would be saved. He worked 6 hours on the cross to complete His work on the earth. When the six hours were over, He said, “It is finished”.
Isaiah 59:18 “According to [their] deeds, accordingly he will repay, fury to his adversaries, recompense to his enemies; to the islands he will repay recompense.”
Jesus is the righteous Judge of all the world. God’s fury is reserved for those who totally reject Him. “Recompense”, in this verse, means “to pay back in return”. We do not save ourselves. It is by the grace of God, we are saved. He saves us, even though we do not deserve to be saved.
Isaiah 59:19 “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.”
“Shall they fear”: All surviving peoples throughout the world are to have added reason to worship the Lord, seeing how He defeated all enemies by the power of His Spirit in bringing salvation to His people Israel. All over the earth, submission to Him is to be the only path to survival in the coming kingdom.
Fear, in the verse above, could be thought of as reverence to God. The Gentile world will depend on the name of Jesus to save them. This just means when the great armies of the world come against the believers, Jesus will raise a standard against Satan and the world.
The Spirit of the Lord is greater than anything the world, or Satan, can bring. Jesus won the victory over Satan, and over sin, on the cross of Calvary. All we Christians have to do is believe in Jesus and His resurrection, and tell everyone we see.
Verses 20-21: “The Redeemer shall come … for ever”: The Messiah, the Suffering Servant, will redeem Zion and all faithful Israelites.
This unalterable promise to the nation was the basis for Paul’s reassurance of the future salvation of Israel (Rom. 11:26-27).
Isaiah 59:20 “And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD.”
Salvation through Jesus Christ is available to both Jew and Gentile. Zion is the church of the Lord Jesus Christ here.
Romans 3:30 “Seeing [it is] one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.”
Isaiah 59:21 “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.”
“My covenant … for ever”: Because God’s New Covenant with Israel is “everlasting” (55:3; Jer. 31:31-34), God’s Spirit and His words are to remain objects of their attention continually.
This is that everlasting covenant that God made with man.
Galatians 3:16 “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.”
You see in Christ we inherit the promises both Jew and Gentile.
Galatians 3:29 “And if ye [be] Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
We are to take no thought what we are to say. God will fill us with the correct thing to say, as we need it. He is with us, and in us.
Colossians 1:27 “To whom God would make known what [is] the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:”
Isaiah Chapter 59 Questions
- Quote Isaiah 59:1 and tell what does this mean to us?
- Whose prayers availeth much?
- What has separated them from God in verse 2?
- God loves them, but He will not reward them for ____________.
- Their hands are defiled with what?
- Their tongue had muttered __________________.
- What was a terrible way they had shed blood?
- What is “perverseness” in this Scripture?
- What is verse 4 speaking of?
- Describe what verse 5 is really saying.
- The serpent is symbolic of __________.
- Why are they weaving, if not to make a garment?
- Just how far will they go with their evil?
- They are not a solution to the problems, they are the __________.
- Where does true peace come from?
- Verse 9 is a confession to what?
- Who is the Light of the world?
- They have eyes to see, but they do not ______.
- What happens when the Light of Jesus shines in your life?
- What is the only solution for them or us?
- He that departeth from evil maketh himself a _________.
- What man could straighten this out?
- God had sent whom, that they killed?
- What was the armor Jesus wore?
- Fear in verse 19, could be what?
- Who raises a standard against Satan for the believer?
- What is Zion in verse 20?
- What does verse 21 say God’s covenant with us is?
- If ye be Christ’s, then are ye _____________ seed.
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