Isaiah 59

1 Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it can’t save; nor his ear dull, that it can’t hear. 2 But your iniquities have separated you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. 3 For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity. Your lips have spoken lies. Your tongue mutters wickedness. 4 No one sues in righteousness, and no one pleads in truth. They trust in vanity, and speak lies. They conceive mischief, and give birth to iniquity. 5 They hatch adders’ eggs, and weave the spider’s web. He who eats of their eggs dies; and that which is crushed breaks out into a viper. 6 Their webs won’t become garments. They won’t cover themselves with their works. Their works are works of iniquity, and acts of violence are in their hands. 7 Their feet run to evil, and they hurry to shed innocent blood. Their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity. Desolation and destruction are in their paths. 8 They don’t know the way of peace; and there is no justice in their ways. They have made crooked paths for themselves; whoever goes in them doesn’t know peace. 9 Therefore is justice far from us, and righteousness doesn’t overtake us. We look for light, but see darkness; for brightness, but we walk in obscurity. 10 We grope for the wall like the blind. Yes, we grope as those who have no eyes. We stumble at noon as if it were twilight. Amongst those who are strong, we are like dead men. 11 We all roar like bears, and moan bitterly like doves. We look for justice, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far off from us. 12 For our transgressions are multiplied before you, and our sins testify against us; for our transgressions are with us, and as for our iniquities, we know them: 13 transgressing and denying the LORD, and turning away from following our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood. 14 Justice is turned away backward, and righteousness stands far away; for truth has fallen in the street, and uprightness can’t enter. 15 Yes, truth is lacking; and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. The LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice. 16 He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor. Therefore his own arm brought salvation to him; and his righteousness sustained him. 17 He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head. He put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a mantle. 18 According to their deeds, he will repay as appropriate, wrath to his adversaries, recompense to his enemies; he will repay the islands their due. 19 So shall they fear the LORD’s name from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun; for he will come as a rushing stream, which the LORD’s breath drives. 20 “A Redeemer will come to Zion, and to those who turn from disobedience in Jacob,” says the LORD. 21 “As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the LORD. “My Spirit who is on you, and my words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, nor out of the mouth of your offspring, nor out of the mouth of your offspring’s offspring,” says the LORD, “from henceforth and forever.”

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

Verses 1-8

If our prayers are not answered, and the salvation we wait for is not wrought for us, it is not because God is weary of hearing prayer, but because we are weary of praying. See here sin in true colours, exceedingly sinful; and see sin in its consequences, exceedingly hurtful, separating from God, and so separating us, not only from all good, but to all evil. Yet numbers feed, to their own destruction, on infidel and wicked systems. Nor can their skill or craft, in devising schemes, as the spider weaves its web, deliver or save them. No schemes of self-wrought salvation shall avail those who despise the Redeemer’s robe of righteousness. Every man who is destitute of the Spirit of Christ, runs swiftly to evil of some sort; but those regardless of Divine truth and justice, are strangers to peace.

Verses 9-15

If we shut our eyes against the light of Divine truth, it is just with God to hide from our eyes the things that belong to our peace. The sins of those who profess themselves God’s people, are worse than the sins of others. And the sins of a nation bring public judgments, when not restrained by public justice. Men may murmur under calamities, but nothing will truly profit while they reject Christ and his gospel.

Verses 16-21

This passage is connected with the following chapters. It is generally thought to describe the coming of the Messiah, as the Avenger and Deliverer of his church. There was none to intercede with God to turn away his wrath; none to interpose for the support of justice and truth. Yet He engaged his own strength and righteousness for his people. God will make his justice upon the enemies of his church and people plainly appear. When the enemy threatens to bear down all without control, then the Spirit of the Lord shall stop him, put him to flight. He that has delivered, will still deliver. A far more glorious salvation is promised to be wrought out by the Messiah in the fulness of time, which all the prophets had in view. The Son of God shall come to us to be our Redeemer; the Spirit of God shall come to be our Sanctifier: thus the Comforter shall abide with the church for ever, John 14:16. The word of Christ will always continue in the mouths of the faithful; and whatever is pretended to be the mind of the Spirit, must be tried by the Scriptures. We must lament the progress of infidelity and impiety. But the cause of the Redeemer shall gain a complete victory even on earth, and the believer will be more than conqueror when the Lord receives him to his glory in heaven.

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