Summary: Sin separates from God, be it the sin of a person or of a nation. God demands righteousness on the part of the people with whom He enters into covenant relationship. The fault of rejection is not the Lord’s but His peoples’ choice of the ways of sin.
ISAIAH 59: 1-8
SYMPTOMS OF A SOCIETY’S SINFULNESS
There are always reasons if God’s promises are not being fulfilled. It is not because God cannot fulfill His Word or does not want to fulfill His Word. Here God states He is not fulfilling His promises and delivering His people because their evil deeds had created a separation between them. Sin separates from God, be it the sin of a person or of a nation. God demands righteousness on the part of the people with whom He enters into covenant relationship. The fault of rejection is not the Lord’s but His peoples’ choice of the ways of sin.
I. SEPARATED BY SIN, 1-2.
II. RAMPANT VIOLENCE & INJUSTICE, 3-4.
III. HATCHING SPIDERS & WEAVING WEBS, 5-6.
IV. SOCIETY’S SETTLED BEHAVIOR, 7-8.
The prophet responses to the people’s complaint that God was gone or unable to hear and answer their prayers in verse 1. Behold, the Lord’s hand is not so short that it cannot save; Nor is His ear so dull that it cannot hear.
The people are asking why God does not seem to answer their prayers. Why do they have no sense of His presence and power in their personal lives and in their society? Why is God not keeping all the wonderful messianic promises (such as 58:8-9, l0b-12, 14)? The answers that they have been accepting - that God is not strong enough (His hand is too short), or that He is not really paying attention (His ear is too heavy)- are incorrect. God’s promises are prevented from being kept by one thing only: flagrant sin. [Oswalt, NIC Isaiah, 513].
The prophet reminded the nation that the Lord could save them in spite of their difficult circumstances. He is powerful enough-His arm (v.16; 40:10) is not . . . short. And He is caring enough-He is not dull of hearing. There must be some other reason God has not delivered His people from their circumstances.
The real reason God seemed distant and unconcern is given in verse 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.
The prophet explains why the prayers of the people are not answered and why God seems so far away. It is because of their sinfulness. Those sins are a barrier (separation) between the people and God.
The Lord could save them but the nation’s sins had separated them from Him (Ps. 66:18; Prov. 28:9), from His face or presence. Though He could hear them, He chose not to listen.
Sin prevents prayer from being answered (Ps. 66:18). If we think we can have a relationship with God while living in sin, we are badly mistaken. Sin separates us from God (1 Jn. 1:6; Jer. 5:25; Hab. 1:13).
Surprising things can happen in a courtroom. A judge might throw out strong evidence against a defendant even a tape-recorded confession - if the proper rules of jurisprudence were violated in obtaining it. Even if he hears the confession, he disregards it. In a sense, a breach of the rules makes it nonexistent.
A similar thing can happen with prayer. Although God knows our every thought, He may disregard our prayers and petitions if we have allowed sin to destroy our fellowship with Him. The Bible says that God is not obligated to hear us if: