Isaiah 58:1-13 and 59:1-2
This section is divided into three parts:
1) God’s expectations for true worship and religious expression (58:1-14)
2) God’s evaluation of the people who are failing these expectations (59:1-15)
3) God works on the people’s behalf so that they are corrected and able (59:15-21)
Three steps: The standard is set, the people fail, God heals the people.
Isaiah is to shout and sound forth like a trumpet in the faces of the people concerning their failure.
“Trumpet” is “sopar” which was used to direct the community
“Me” is emphatic and the point is stressed as if God were saying, “Me they seek? Of all things they are seeking Me!?”
They appear to be sincere but the word “like” is used. It is only an appearance, a facade. It is the best man can do and it is not very convincing.
Now the people speak concerning their religious activity.
They are as disappointed with the results as God is.
These people have gone without food but God has not responded. They feel cheated.
But, also, God feels cheated.
True repentance or true fasting is not to get God to do something or to remove punishment.
True repentance can only come when a person realizes they are wrong and are convicted in their soul of their guilt. It is an admission that God is right and they are wrong. They want to come back in line with God’s will for the sake of being back in line with God. If they begin to fast, repent or do any ritual in order to manipulate God they have entered into a form of false religion that may in a moment become witchcraft.
The people say they are fasting for one reason, but they really are motivated by another.
This verse describes simply the outward appearance which count for nothing.
Jesus said when you fast to put oil on your head and wash your face so that it will not be obvious to men (Matthew 6:16)
God doesn’t care about the fact that you haven’t eaten or are walking with your head bowed.
Psalm 51:16-17 God does not want sacrifices but a broken and contrite heart.
These verses include three sets of “if-then” statements of cause and effect:
Set of Verses
These verses describe what God wants for “fasting”
Set of Verses
- loose chains of injustice
- untie cords of
-share food with hungry
-clothe the naked
-care for your family
-light will break forth
-healing will appear
-righteousness go before you
-Lord be your rear guard
-You call, Lord answers
-Respond to your cry for help
Do away with:
- yoke of oppression
-work for hungry (not self)
-satisfy oppressed (not self)
-light will rise
-night be like noon
-Lord will guide you
-Lord will satisfy your needs
-Lord will strengthen body
-be like watered garden
-be like spring always full
-known as a restorer
-keep from breaking Sabbath
-don’t do as you please on Sabbath
-call Sabbath delight, honorable
-Don’t go your own way
-Don’t speak as you please
-Don’t speak idle words
-you will find joy
-ride on the heights
-feast on Jacob’s inheritance
Their religion had become a method of self-service and
Satisfying the needs of others is not a priority in a religion based on self-service.
The problem with you prayers not being heard and your needs not being met is not because God can not do something.
The problem is sin of the people.
“iniquities have separated you from your God”
a) The word “separated” is the word for “barrier” and is used only one other time in the OT
b) Genesis 1:6, “Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water.”
c) Point: God is holy and sin will always be separated from God. If we live in sin we are living behind a barrier away from God.
Gives a list of the sins that are forming the barrier.
Hands to the fingers
Lips to the tongue
Actions come from the Words
This verse describes a society that is empty of justice in the courts, because society is empty of the concept of justice in the hearts of the people.
The leaders concept of justice is to explain their case and their motivations with no integrity (they deceive and do not reveal the whole truth)
“Rely on empty arguments” is what we call in politics “spin”.
“Spin” is also known here as “lies”
These “empty arguments” and “spinning the truth” conceive “trouble” and “give birth to evil” in society.
The legal system is only there to help the strong get stronger.
Society is without justice and a collapse is near.
Describes the results in the social fabric
All social restraints are gone.
The hopelessness of men left with out justice and truth personally and as a culture.
God, the mighty warrior, will arise again.
This time it is not to deliver from
Who is this enemy? It is sin. It is the people’s inability to live a godly life. It is man himself who can not honor God.
Sin is the final enemy and with the defeat of sin is the victory over death.
“one to intervene” is fulfilled in Isaiah 53. There was no national leaders to fill this gap.
“appalled” is not a word for “surprised” as if he couldn’t believe no human stepped in to help.
“appalled” speaks of his holy horror of sin and its devastating results on mankind.
The armor of God is developed in Ephesians 6:13-17
Equipment of Salvation:
a) breastplate of righteousness
b) helmet of salvation
Weapons of Destruction for enemies:
a) garments of vengeance
b) cloak of zeal
“repay” is the verb “salam” and comes from “salom” or peace
God’s will give “peace” to those who fear him but he will “bring peace” or “settle the accounts” with his enemies.