Summary: Who or what is truly defeating Israel? Sin. Sin is the great enemy that defeats them & hold them captive, keeping them from living the life of righteous. Sin is the undefeated enemy against whom God comes to make war.
ISAIAH 59: 15b-21
THE ARMORED ALMIGHTY
The people have just acknowledged and confessed their personal and corporate [national] sins. God now responses with a promise of salvation and transformation. God is a mighty warrior who will come and defeat Israel’s enemies.
Who or what is truly defeating Israel? What is preventing God’s light from dawning on them and His word from residing within them? Sin. Sin is the great enemy that defeats them and hold them captive, keeping them from living the life of God, from being just and righteous. Sin is the undefeated enemy against whom God comes to make war.
God’s victory will be offered as a covenant to the people who repent of their sins. These offsprings of God will speak the words that God places in their mouth as His Spirit empowers them.
I. NECESSARY INTERVENTION, 15b-16a.
II. THE INTERVENTION, 16b-20.
III. THE VICTOR’S COVENANT, 21.
Their tragic condition was not unknown to God as the second part of verse 15 reveals. Now the Lord saw, and it was displeasing in His sight that there was no justice.
Now the LORD saw. The great hope for the world is that our Lord sees! He is not too distant nor too insensitive to man’s situations nor to our need. He sees the world and assesses it. Not only does He see, He cares. The lack of justice among His people "was evil in His eyes."
What God creates and plans is good (Gen. 1). But His people were involved in evil from which they could not extract themselves. If His people were unable to stop their sinning, then God must act.
In verse 16 God looks for one He may use to deliver His people from the inundation of their sin. And He saw that there was no man, and was astonished that there was no one to intercede.
Seeing the seriousness of His people’s need He looks for One who could intervene. God searched for any one who could intercede and "restore the proper way" to His people. God said the same thing in Ezekiel 22:30. He looks to those who intercede on behalf of His people in any and every age.
God was appalled that all were caught in sin’s grasp. Despite God’s horror over their sin He has compassion for those in sin.
II. THE INTERVENTION, 16b-20.
Israel was without a champion so God committed Himself to be their champion and bring salvation to them. (16b) Then His own arm brought salvation to Him, and His righteousness upheld Him.
Israel was totally incapable of helping herself out of her sin. Only a righteous God could help them. This is true of salvation in any era. No one can save himself. Only God can forgive sin and change a person’s heart.
Since this task is impossible for fallen man, God must rescue His people from their sin. With His power (by His . . . arm; 59:1, 40:10) God provided salvation for him (for Israel personified as a man?). God Himself, as the Messiah would personally step in to help (Rom. 11:26-27). His intervention would be to destroy sin’s power over His people.
Because of the people of God’s willful, persistent rebellion they become unable to take action against their sins. Sin separates us from God and then sin pours in to fill the void left when God’s truth no longer fills our life. God though longs to bring His salvation to us.
So God armors Himself for the battle against sin in verse 17. He put on righteousness like a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on His head; and He put on garments of vengeance for clothing and wrapped Himself with zeal as a mantle.
Like a warrior God prepares to fight for His people. Righteousness is His breastplate-coat of mail and salvation is His helmet. In Ephesians 6:13-17 believers are instructed to put on the Lord’s armor. Once armored God cloaks Himself in a tunic of vengeance. God’s wraps Himself in zeal for right as a covering against all who oppose His will and His purpose.
The God who supplies righteousness and salvation for His people also will zealously execute vengeance on His enemies. Verse 18, According to their deeds, so He will repay. Wrath to His adversaries, recompense to His enemies. To the coastlands He will make recompense.
God will repay the debt resulting from their sinful deeds. In wrath God will recompense His enemies according to their actions whether they be close or at the end of the seas.
(Jer. 25:29; Ezek. 9:6: 1 Pet. 4:17).
Verse 19 tells some results of God’s fierce action. So they will fear the name of the Lord from the west and His glory from the rising of the sun, For He will come like a rushing stream which the wind of the Lord drives.