Summary: God’s victory over sin (59:15b-21) is not provided until genuine repentance is entered. The outpouring of God’s grace in our lives awaits our humble honest admitting to the hideousness of our sins & our powerlessness to save ourselves from them.
ISAIAH 59: 9-15a
AN HONEST CONFESSION
This section continues describing the people’s sin, but now its seriousness, their helplessness to change, and the effects of their sins become realized by people. Isaiah has just boldly confronted the people (59:1-8) with their sinfulness. The people start to awake up and begin to realize their rebellious wick condition and the effect their sin has had on them and society. Once they understand the damage their sin is causing they can become sorrowful for it. Isaiah can then pour out their confess of sin to God.
God’s victory over sin (59:15b-21) is not provided until genuine repentance is entered. The outpouring of God’s grace in our lives awaits our humble honest admitting to the hideousness of our sins and our powerlessness to save ourselves from them.
I. A REALIZED CONDITION, 9-11.
II. A HEARTFELT CONFESSION, 12-15b.
As a result of Isaiah’s preaching the people begin coming to their senses. This new awareness permits Isaiah to confess their condition beginning with verse 9. Therefore justice is far from us, and righteousness does not overtake us; We hope for light, but behold, darkness, for brightness, but we walk in gloom.
The prophet now changes to first person plural pronouns (us, we, our) to show his identification with the tragic condition of the people. Therefore indicates results of the people’s sin. Isaiah acknowledges that he too is being impacted by the results of his society’s sinfulness. Along with the people Isaiah feels the responsibility and pain of their sinful condition.
Isaiah lists the miserable conditions that existed within Israel or in any society that has forsaken God. If society is not experiencing justice or righteousness, it is because the people have not behaved in a just or righteous manner.
Society was hoping for light, for clarity, for revival, but they dwelt in darkness. They desired to live in brightness of soul but lived gloom.
Verse 10 continues the admission of their condition. We grope along the wall like blind men. We grope like those who have no eyes. We stumble at midday as in the twilight, among those who are vigorous (we are) like dead men.
They have been trying to gain insight into or understand the reason for their life through their own efforts, but now admit their blindness as to what gives life meaning. A blindness that is so serious that its as if they don’t even have eyes. It is a plain recognition that their attempts and efforts to find real life have failed and that it must come from outside of themselves. Only when that awareness dawns will they have hope for life beyond this life.
In giving the best of their effort and strength, like a midday sun, they still don’t accomplish what they desire. Even the best and brightest are groping for a way out. This is a fulfilment of Deut. 28:29.
They saw no way open of relief, nor knew what to do to find it or to bring it about. If we shut our eyes against the light of divine truth, it is just that God hides from our eyes the way of peace and deliverance and, if we use not our eyes to see as we should, it is just for God to let us be as if we had no spiritual insight.
The conditions Isaiah confronted in his country were strikingly similar to those that surround us today. Violence, deceit, injustice, and self-destructive conduct abounded (Isa. 59:3-8). In looking for solutions to their problems, the people resembled a person without eyes, stumbling about in darkness.
Today the public is REACTING TO CRIME by demanding action. Some politicians advocate gun control; others urge all law-abiding citizens to have a gun and know how to use it. All the while we are spending billions to enlarge our prisons. The problem is that these efforts only deal with the symptoms; they don’t cure society’s illnesses.
Today, as in Isaiah’s time, the real problem behind the ills of society is rebellion against the Lord. If people repent, He will show mercy. If they don’t, God will bring judgment.
As Christian citizens, we should promote what God says is right and just, but we can do much more. Because we know that God is in control, we can proclaim the good news of His salvation. We may not be able to effect great changes in our society; but we can be God’s instruments in delivering individuals from eternal destruction. Instead of going with the crowd, we are to show the way.
Verse 11a employs two figures that describe the physical-psychological impact of their condition. All of us growl like bears, and moan sadly like doves.
The impatience, frustration and stress of their situation escapes them like growling bears or moaning doves. The second part of verse 11 describes the failed society. We hope for justice, but there is none, for salvation, but it is far from us.