(Today’s post by James Rooks)
Often when trying to interpret Biblical passages, we attempt to gather context for people, place, and purpose to better understand what the meaning is. Many times we are able to find personal application, historical understanding, or better knowledge of God’s character. Sometimes we see a passage that seems to speak directly to us a message that is life changing.
Isaiah 59 is one of those chapters that may have multiple applications, but one that should hit its readers right between the eyes. It begins with a reminder of God’s ability to save. “Listen! The LORD’s arm is not too weak to save you, nor HIS ear too deaf to hear you call.” The following verses through verse 15 go on to describe the ‘bad guys’. Every manner of sin and evil is described verse by verse in poetic and sometimes harsh detail. It is quite easy to get caught up in thinking about the bad guys that are being described in these passages. My mind actually started to wonder a few times about who these evil, rebellious people were, and to be honest, a few groups of people came to mind. Isn’t it funny how we always think its the other guy?
Then scriptures like Romans 3:23, a New Testament passage, come to mind that say “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” A passage from Luke 18:19 came to mind as well, when Jesus said to the man who was questioning Him “..No one is good except God alone”. So if I’m not good or blameless, then I must be in the same predicament as those described in Isaiah 59. This is what makes the good news, the Gospel, described by the prophet Isaiah in chapter 59 such GOOD news.
In the same way it was described in Romans 5:8 and prior to that in Isaiah 59, God saw that there was no one on earth able to rescue man from sin; so He came down to rescue us Himself. “Then His own arm brought salvation to Him, and His righteousness upheld Him.” 59:16b. “A Redeemer will come to Zion..” 59:20.
When we look around and see the evil that man is capable of and when we realize that apart from God we too are capable of, it is such good news knowing that God’s arm is strong enough to save. Though we have all rebelled, God saw to it to send a Redeemer to our rescue.
As much as I love a good Biblical history lesson or even a prophetic message to decode, being reminded of the beauty of the Gospel is best of all.