Summary: The passage reveals what God will do for those who take refuge in Him. God promises to revive, lead, heal & encourage His humbled people by doing for them what they cannot do for themselves. He enables us to be the righteous people He has called us to be.
ISAIAH 57: 14-21
Here the Lord promises forgiveness and reviving and so much more to His humbled, repentant people. This section many be an elaboration upon the promise in the last part of verse 13. "But he who takes refuge in Me will inherit the land and will possess My holy mountain." [The possession of the land is the historical symbol of the highest blessings God reserves for His obedient believers, here but especially hereafter.-Alexander] The passage reveals what God will do for those who take refuge in Him. God promises to revive, lead, heal and encourage His humbled people by doing for them what they cannot do for themselves. He enables us to be the righteous people He has called us to be. God is a trustworthy refuge for people who truthfully seek Him.
I. REVIVAL PREPARATION, 14-16.
II. PUMMELED FOR GREED, 17.
III. THE HUMBLED HEALED, 18-19.
IV. THE WICKED IN TURMOIL, 20-21.
Verse 14 is a promised straighten and clearing of the way to God. And it will be said, "Build up, build up, prepare the way, remove every obstacle out of the way of My people."
The exhortation to prepare a road for the people of faith recalls 40:3-5 which speaks of a road being prepared for the Lord. The preparation makes it possible for the people to return to God. Whatever prevents them from coming to Him and taking refuge in Him is to be taken out of the way. Now the journey to the Lord by the faithful is to be undertaken.
The familiar language of highway building describes a roadbed being raised up above the surrounding countryside. This solid foundation not only gives it greater permanence but also less severe hills and valleys. All the boulders and ravines will be removed from it so that nothing can stand in the people’s way.
Previously their were obstacles in the way to God . He wanted His people to accept the obstacles in their path and continue to trust their God (8:14). One day ever impediment on their path to the promised land of heaven will be removed. Nothing will be allowed to stand in the way.
The use of stumbling block is significant. Unless you get on the way to God He prepares the stumbling blocks will be agonizingly prolific in your life journey.
[Let me share with you 3 stumbling blocks to look for if you’re going to reach the Christian life while still on journey with God.
(1) An unforgiven offense. Jesus said, "If you do not forgive, neither will your Father...forgive your trespasses" (Mk 11:26). Forgiving others isn’t an option - it’s an order! When the mention of somebody creates resentment in you, pray for them immediately. Say, "Father, I forgive them as You’ve forgiven me. Whatever I ask for myself in blessing, I ask for them in double measure." Go ahead, do it! When you retaliate you deny God the right to show mercy and deal with the situation His way. Quit asking for revenge! You’ve received mercy - pass it on!
(2) An unwise relationship. Paul said, "Bad company ruins good morals" (1 Cor. 15:33). Whoever doesn’t increase you will eventually decrease you. You chose the level of spiritually you want to live on. If you give your time to those who’re not worthy of it, don’t complain. Start becoming more selective! Choose your friends from among those who share your spiritual values and understand your God-given purpose. .
(3) An uncommitted heart. Paul said, "I’m not saying that I have this all together . . . but I’ve got my eye on the goal" (Phil. 3: 13-14 TM). A committed heart is a decided heart; it’s the result of a made-up mind! That explains what sets certain people apart from the crowd. Get involved today in something great! Give yourself to something you really believe in! Make a commitment to God right now - and move forward!]
Verse 15 explains why one can find a prepared way to the Lord. It is one of the greatest one sentence summations of theology in the Bible. For thus says the high and exalted One, Who lives forever, whose name is Holy, "I dwell on a high and holy place, and also with the contrite and lowly of spirit, in order to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.
Repentant people can come to the Lord because of who He is and what He has done.
First, God is the High and Exalted One. Language staggers under the weight of the magnitude of the burden laid upon it to describe our great and mighty God. He is transcendent. He is not part of the space of this world or universe. Nor is He part of time; He lives forever. God dwelt in eternity in the aeons and ages before creation and will dwell in the great consummation of the aeons that are yet to come. He is ageless and unchanging. Nor is He part of our fallenness. He is holy.