Our Only Hope: God Sent a Redeemer - Isaiah 59

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In Isaiah 58:3 we hear a complaint from the people of God. Even though they were fasting and doing all of the outwardly religious things that they believed would please God, He seemed distant. They prayed, but it seemed like He wasn’t hearing their prayers. 

As we keep reading, we hear God’s response. The reason God felt distant, is because the people weren’t worshipping Him with pure hearts. They had an outward religion, but their hearts were wicked.

As we come to Isaiah 59, we hear a lot more about the sinfulness of these people. In verses 1-15a Isaiah makes it clear that their sin has kept them separated from God and far from salvation.

But then something unexpected happens. God sees their wickedness and responds, not with judgement on them, but by sending someone who will defeat sin and deliver His people.

The Big Idea: In Isaiah 59 we are reminded of our sinfulness and of our inability to save ourselves. But we are also reminded that God has sent someone who can set us free from our sin – Christ our Redeemer. 

The Nature of Sin and our Need for a Savior (59:1-15a)

Sin separates us from God (vv. 1-8) - Isaiah makes this clear: The people’s situation isn’t due to any deficiency in God. It is their sin that has created a separation. We born in sin, with hearts that are fully bent toward evil (Rom. 3:10-18), and as long as we remain in our sin we will be separated from God.

  • God’s ability and readiness to save (v. 1)
  • The separation that sin causes (v. 2-3)
  • A description of their sin (v. 4-8)

Sin keeps us far from salvation (vv. 9-15a) - Not only are the people separated from God, but by their own testimony they are far from salvation. They are like blind people, feeling around in the dark. They are lost in their sin and on their own they will never be able to find their way to God. This is true of all of us. On our own we will never overcome our sin or find our way to God – we are far from salvation.

  • A people without justice and righteousness (v. 9a)
  • A blind people, feeling helpless in the dark (vv. 9b-10)
  • A bitter people, far from salvation (v. 11)
  • A guilty people, denying God (vv. 12-13a)
  • A dishonest people, lying from the heart (v. 13b)
  • A people without justice and righteousness (vv.14-15a)

The Nature of God and the Savior He Sent (59:15b-21)

God sends a Redeemer to do the work of salvation (vv. 15b-20) – In verse 15b something incredible happens – God looks on the condition of the people, recognizes their need and takes action to save them. The Lord Himself dresses for battle and prepares to defeat the powers of evil. The Lord Himself will be the Redeemer that His people need – the Redeemer we need so that we can be set free from our sin. 

  • The Lord sees their helpless condition and takes action (vv. 15b-16)
  • The Lord Himself decides to intercede (v. 16)
  • The Lord dresses for salvation and vengeance (v. 17)
  • The Lord will defeat every enemy for glory of His name (v. 18-19)
  • The Lord declares, a Redeemer is coming for His people (v. 20)

sGod is a covenant faithful God (v. 21) – Isaiah makes it clear that these people are wicked and don’t deserve God’s favor – and yet He saves them because of His covenant-faithfulness. God had made a covenant and promised to save His people, and that is exactly what He does. He saves sinners, gives them His Spirit and His Word, and He will continue to be faithful throughout the generations.

  • God made a covenant, and He is keeping His covenant (v. 21a)
  • He will give His Spirit to His People (v. 21b)
  • He will give His Word to His People (v. 21b)
  • And He will be faithful throughout the generations (v. 21c) 

Applying the Text You cannot earn favor with God – Our temptation is to try and clean ourselves up and make ourselves acceptable to God – but we can never do enough to earn God’s favor. Thankfully God has done the work of salvation for us through Christ, repent and trust in Him.

Remember the nature of sin – This passage is good reminder of the nature and consequences of sin. Sin separates us from God and blinds us to our need for Him. Even as those who are in Christ we must recognize the consequences of sin, the destruction it causes and our need to live lives of ongoing repentance.

Consider the many facets of sin – In vv. 9-15 we see a variety of ways our hearts can be tempted to sin. As you look at the sins listed in this section, where are you most tempted to give into sin? Recognize that in Christ you have all that you need to withstand temptation – put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:13-17). 

Stand in awe of Christ – This passage is a great reminder of our incredible need and the all-sufficient work of God through Christ. Take time this week to re-read the passage and give praise to God for the gift of salvation you have received.