Friday, May 22, 2015

Sin Is Preventing God’s Blessings

Isaiah 59:1-20

“Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” (Isaiah 59:1-2)

Threatened by the Assyrians and in fear of defeat, Judah was desperate for help.  Israel had already been conquered.  God reminds them, nothing had taken away his strength.  He still had the power to save them if he chose to do so.  The problem was that they had deliberately and intentionally broken their covenant with Him for so long.  Most contracts define the penalties for failure to fulfill their contract by either party, and the covenant with Israel was no exception.  Because of their breaking the covenant, God was applying the prescribed penalties.  He refused to honor his part any longer until they started doing theirs.  He lists his complaints.

 “For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness.  None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity.  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.  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.  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.  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.” (Isaiah 59:3-8)

Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy go into detail as to Israel’s responsibilities under the covenant.  A major part of the Law related to how they were to treat other people.  They had ignored God’s laws, killing and allowing murderers to go free, lying and deceiving each other, and deliberately doing things he had forbidden.  There was no real concern for justice for the victim or insistence on having the truth made public.  Instead they spent their time conspiring how they could get the advantage.  Their conspiracies were like a spider’s web, intended to catch anything that came in contact with it.  They don’t understand that some of the things they are protecting are not spider eggs, but the eggs of poisonous snakes.  When the eggs break open, those snakes will attack anything that gets close.  The webs will not contain them or be valued as clothing and they will not hesitate to eat the spiders that took care of them. 

The people who have been raised in these webs of intrigue have no consideration for those who protected them, or their standards.  They actively and intentionally commit violence and wickedness, seizing every opportunity to maim or kill people.  They devote their energies to figuring out how to injure others and vandalize their property.  They have no thought for the rights of others or of getting along with them, and anyone who associates with them lives in constant danger. 

“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.  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.  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.” (Isaiah 59:9-11)

As a result of their actions. There is no justice or resolution of issues between them.  While they expect everything to work out, it is like they are fumbling around in the dark feeling their way along like a blind man and stumbling over every problem regardless how obvious the solution might be to others.  They are as alone and isolated as a dead person, and their threats and calls for help bet no response.  There is nobody or nothing coming to their rescue. 

“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; 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.  And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.  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.” (Isaiah 59:12-15)

Because they have for rebelled so many times and made no effort to change, lying to and about God and refusing to obey or keep their covenant, they are no longer experiencing the freedom and peace they once had.  Truth and equality no longer exist and anyone who tries to do right becomes a victim of wicked.  God is very upset that there is no effort to make things right. 

“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.  For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak.  According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay, fury to his adversaries, recompense to his enemies; to the islands he will repay recompense.  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.  And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD.” (Isaiah 59:16-20)

Because God saw that their e was no effort to make things right and that those who tried to do right were victimized, he has provided a savior to save those who are righteous.  While he provides salvation and righteousness to protect his people, there is also vengeance against those who attack them.  Each person will receive fitting rewards or punishment for what they have done.  His judgment will be a time of terror and fear.  When they try to attack and overrun his people Christ himself will protect those who have turned from their sin to Him.  Revelation 19 describes his coming and defense of his people.  

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