Isaiah 57

1 The righteous perish, and no one lays it to heart. Merciful men are taken away, and no one considers that the righteous is taken away from the evil. 2 He enters into peace. They rest in their beds, each one who walks in his uprightness. 3 “But draw near here, you sons of a sorceress, you offspring of adulterers and prostitutes. 4 Whom do you mock? Against whom do you make a wide mouth, and stick out your tongue? Aren’t you children of disobedience, and offspring of falsehood, 5 you who inflame yourselves amongst the oaks, under every green tree; who kill the children in the valleys, under the clefts of the rocks? 6 Amongst the smooth stones of the valley is your portion; they, they are your lot. You have even poured a drink offering to them. You have offered an offering. Shall I be appeased for these things? 7 On a high and lofty mountain you have set your bed. You also went up there to offer sacrifice. 8 You have set up your memorial behind the doors and the posts; for you have exposed yourself to someone besides me, and have gone up; you have enlarged your bed, and made you a covenant with them. You loved what you saw on their bed. 9 You went to the king with oil, and increased your perfumes, and sent your ambassadors far off, and degraded yourself even to Sheol. 10 You were wearied with the length of your ways; yet you didn’t say, ‘It is in vain.’ You found a reviving of your strength; therefore you weren’t faint. 11 “Whom have you dreaded and feared, so that you lie, and have not remembered me, nor laid it to your heart? Haven’t I held my peace for a long time, and you don’t fear me? 12 I will declare your righteousness; and as for your works, they will not benefit you. 13 When you cry, let those whom you have gathered deliver you; but the wind will take them. A breath will carry them all away: but he who takes refuge in me will possess the land, and will inherit my holy mountain.” 14 He will say, “Build up, build up, prepare the way! Remove the stumbling-block out of the way of my people.” 15 For thus says the high and lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also who is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite. 16 For I will not contend forever, neither will I be always angry; for the spirit would faint before me, and the souls whom I have made. 17 I was angry because of the iniquity of his covetousness, and struck him; I hid myself and was angry; and he went on backsliding in the way of his heart. 18 I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts to him and to his mourners. 19 I create the fruit of the lips: Peace, peace, to him who is far off and to him who is near,” says the LORD; “and I will heal them.” 20 But the wicked are like the troubled sea; for it can’t rest, and its waters cast up mire and mud. 21 “There is no peace”, says my God, “for the wicked.”

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1-2

The righteous are delivered from the sting of death, not from the stroke of it. The careless world disregards this. Few lament it as a public loss, and very few notice it as a public warning. They are taken away in compassion, that they may not see the evil, nor share in it, nor be tempted by it. The righteous man, when he dies, enters into peace and rest.

Verses 3-12

The Lord here calls apostates and hypocrites to appear before him. When reproved for their sins, and threatened with judgments, they ridiculed the word of God. The Jews were guilty of idolatry before the captivity; but not after that affliction. Their zeal in the worship of false gods, may shame our indifference in the worship of the true God. The service of sin is disgraceful slavery; those who thus debase themselves to hell, will justly have their portion there. Men incline to a religion that inflames their unholy passions. They are led to do any evil, however great or vile, if they think it will atone for crimes, or purchase indulgence for some favourite lust. This explains idolatry, whether pagan, Jewish, or antichristian. But those who set up anything instead of God, for their hope and confidence, never will come to a right end. Those who forsake the only right way, wander in a thousand by-paths. The pleasures of sin soon tire, but never satisfy. Those who care not for the word of God and his providences, show they have no fear of God. Sin profits not; it ruins and destroys.

Verses 13-21

The idols and their worshippers shall come to nothing; but those who trust in God’s grace, shall be brought to the joys of heaven. With the Lord there is neither beginning of days, nor end of life, nor change of time. His name is holy, and all must know him as a holy God. He will have tender regard to those who bring their mind to their condition, and dread his wrath. He will make his abode with those whose hearts he has thus humbled, in order to revive and comfort them. When troubles last long, even good men are tempted to entertain hard thoughts of God. Therefore He will not contend for ever, for he will not forsake the work of his own hands, nor defeat the purchase of his Son’s blood. Covetousness is a sin that particularly lays men under the Divine displeasure. See the sinfulness of sin. See also that troubles cannot reform men unless God’s grace work in them. Peace shall be published, perfect peace. It is the fruit of preaching lips, and praying lips. Christ came and preached peace to Gentiles, as well as to the Jews; to after-ages, who were afar off in time, as well as to those of that age. But the wicked would not be healed by God’s grace, therefore would not be healed by his comforts. Their ungoverned lusts and passions made them like the troubled sea. Also the terrors of conscience disturbed their enjoyments. God hath said it, and all the world cannot unsay it, That there is no peace to those who allow themselves in any sin. If we are recovered from such an awful state, it is only by the grace of God. And the influences of the Holy Spirit, and that new heart, from whence comes grateful praise, the fruit of our lips, are his gift. Salvation, with all its fruits, hopes, and comforts, is his work, and to him belongs all the glory. There is no peace for the wicked man; but let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him, and to our God, and he will abundantly pardon.

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