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Beginning January 1, we’ll be studying the book of Proverbs for the next 31 days. The new year is a great opportunity to invite your friends, families, and Life Groups to read along with you in 2023. 

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Read Isaiah 59

Sin, Confession and Redemption

59 Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save,
    nor his ear too dull to hear.
But your iniquities have separated
    you from your God;
your sins have hidden his face from you,
    so that he will not hear.
For your hands are stained with blood,
    your fingers with guilt.
Your lips have spoken falsely,
    and your tongue mutters wicked things.
No one calls for justice;
    no one pleads a case with integrity.
They rely on empty arguments, they utter lies;
    they conceive trouble and give birth to evil.
They hatch the eggs of vipers
    and spin a spider’s web.
Whoever eats their eggs will die,
    and when one is broken, an adder is hatched.
Their cobwebs are useless for clothing;
    they cannot cover themselves with what they make.
Their deeds are evil deeds,
    and acts of violence are in their hands.
Their feet rush into sin;
    they are swift to shed innocent blood.
They pursue evil schemes;
    acts of violence mark their ways.
The way of peace they do not know;
    there is no justice in their paths.
They have turned them into crooked roads;
    no one who walks along them will know peace.

So justice is far from us,
    and righteousness does not reach us.
We look for light, but all is darkness;
    for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows.
10 Like the blind we grope along the wall,
    feeling our way like people without eyes.
At midday we stumble as if it were twilight;
    among the strong, we are like the dead.
11 We all growl like bears;
    we moan mournfully like doves.
We look for justice, but find none;
    for deliverance, but it is far away.

12 For our offenses are many in your sight,
    and our sins testify against us.
Our offenses are ever with us,
    and we acknowledge our iniquities:
13 rebellion and treachery against the Lord,
    turning our backs on our God,
inciting revolt and oppression,
    uttering lies our hearts have conceived.
14 So justice is driven back,
    and righteousness stands at a distance;
truth has stumbled in the streets,
    honesty cannot enter.
15 Truth is nowhere to be found,
    and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey.

The Lord looked and was displeased
    that there was no justice.
16 He saw that there was no one,
    he was appalled that there was no one to intervene;
so his own arm achieved salvation for him,
    and his own righteousness sustained him.
17 He put on righteousness as his breastplate,
    and the helmet of salvation on his head;
he put on the garments of vengeance
    and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.
18 According to what they have done,
    so will he repay
wrath to his enemies
    and retribution to his foes;
    he will repay the islands their due.
19 From the west, people will fear the name of the Lord,
    and from the rising of the sun, they will revere his glory.
For he will come like a pent-up flood
    that the breath of the Lord drives along.

20 “The Redeemer will come to Zion,
    to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,”
declares the Lord.

21 “As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the Lord. “My Spirit, who is on you, will not depart from you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will always be on your lips, on the lips of your children and on the lips of their descendants—from this time on and forever,” says the Lord.

Go Deeper

The prophet Isaiah writes consistently of the sin and rebellion of Israel, as well as the hope and provision of salvation that is available to Israel through the Abrahamic Covenant. This story continues through Isaiah 59. The nation of Israel was so depraved that salvation could only come by God’s sovereign enlightening of their eyes. In the first few verses of this chapter we learn that God is powerful enough (His arm is not too short) and He is caring enough (His ear is not dull of hearing) to bring about salvation to Israel. However, their sin has separated them from God. The sins of murder, lying, injustice, and rebellion against their covenant with God. They were blinded by their own sin, walking in deliberate disobedience, and they were simply dead. Israel desperately needed to call out to God for rescue. 

Due to their complete and total depravity, no one but the Lord was capable of saving the nation. There was no way they could pick themselves up by their bootstraps or fumble their way towards obedience. It was impossible for Israel to help herself. 

They were in desperate need of divine intervention. Towards the end of this chapter, we hear Isaiah prophesy of the future redemption that awaits Israel through the Messiah, their Redeemer. God will not forsake His covenant with His people, though they continually forsake Him, for He is a covenant-keeping God. 

We are totally depraved apart from the Holy Spirit intervening our lives with a grace irresistible. Only God can forgive sin and transform the human heart. Only God can bring the dead to life. Only God can redeem the unrighteous to righteous. His glory is revealed through judgment against His enemies and His glory is simultaneously revealed through Jesus bringing about redemption to His people through their repentance and faith in Him. It isn’t possible for us to pick ourselves up by our bootstraps. We need a powerful and caring God to save us. He has made a way through the finished work of the cross. All we need to do is simply die to our flesh so He can live in us. 


  1. Is your life marked by rebellion or repentance? 
  2. In what ways do you try to “pick yourself up by your bootstraps”, either through performing good works, trying to earn favor from God, or trying to solve your own problems)? What keeps you from surrendering to your loving Father and asking Him to intervene? 
  3. How can you practice obedience today and turn to Jesus? 

By the Way

Check out this similarities between this passage and Jeremiah 31:31-34:

“‘Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.’”

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3 thoughts on “Isaiah 59”

  1. Through all our cycles of stumbling, blundering and rebelling, much like the Israelites we’ve separated ourselves from God. There is nothing worse than being cut off from Him. Inside each of us is a God shaped vacuum intended only for him to fill. Any other thing will be a poor substitute leaving us painfully lacking and empty. Hence the Redeemer “stepped in to save them with his mighty power and justice”(v16). Truthfully we need to be rescued from ourselves, so that we could turn from our sinful ways. What he offers in exchange is an eternal covenant with him, a kinsman Redeemer through his Son, and the Holy Spirit to guide us! The final verses are so impactful as he addresses the benefit of a legacy of pleasing God. “My Spirit will not leave them, and neither will these words I have given you. They will be on your lips and the lips of your children and your children’s children forever. I, the Lord have spoken”(v21). Generations await on the other side of our obedience!

  2. “The purpose of life is a life of purpose” so says a poet Robert Byrne. What is our purpose? To love and serve God. We exist to know Christ and to make Him known. Vs 21 is telling us, them to have God’s words on your lips so that it is on the lips of your children and your children’s children. Even when we make mistakes, sin, God is ready to forgive when we willingly turn and go from that sin. Hesed Love He has for us, unfailing, steadfast, faithful, loyal, reliable, compassionate, undeserved, convent, kind, generous, essential, precious, peaceful, and more. We are LOVED, wanted and desired. If we can but wrap our minds around some portion of this we can jump in and serve God. It begins with us, our family around us, then continues outward.

    God thank You that I know You are my purpose. Thank You filling the void inside the world can nor could ever fill. Thank You for fighting back the enemy as he is poking at me these last few days. God I am putting on my amour to stand firm. Thank You for opportunities to speak about You to others and the boldness. Thank You for continuing to let me see through Your love goggles those around me. Thank You for Your words coming out of my mouth in Jesus name amen.

  3. Just think, in 4 days we will celebrate the truth of this prophecy some 700 yrs later. Thank you, Jesus! V16 “He saw that there was no one,
    he was appalled that there was no one to intervene;
    so his own arm achieved salvation for him,
    and his own righteousness sustained him.”
    There was no one left to send, to teach, to bring justice—except Jesus, the Messiah! Everything we need to battle sin by confessing to receive redemption.

    It almost sounds like departing words in the last verse where God was pleased with Isaiah for his obedience and faithfulness, and so He blessed him. I feel like we’ve gotten to read a glimpse of the beginning when God started to plan for Him to come to earth…that in Isaiah it’s where the thought began. When God knew just at the right time, when the lineage of Christ came to completion, He would find a virgin and a man who would chose to die to self and be disgraced all to glorify God and His Son! Wow! What a perfect timing to read Isaiah this Christmas! Thank you, BRP! Great commentary!

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