Isaiah 59 Commentary

Isaiah 59 Commentary

It is interesting to see how Isaiah addresses himself to you, to them, and finally to us. It is about your iniquities; their evil deeds; and us looking for justice but finding none.

The passage’s ‘we’ and ‘us’ may refer to the remnant. The ‘you’ and ‘your’ may refer to you the reader, the listener, the sinner, or simply an audience that Isaiah interacts with. Interestingly, part of the listening audience is the LORD God, as in “for our offenses are many in your sight.”

All of this creates a huge amount of confusion when the reader wants to be part of the story. The reader can decide to be on the pulpit with Isaiah and enjoy the ‘us and them’ shield. And it is all fine until Isaiah says, “our offenses are ever with us, and we acknowledge our iniquities.”

It is no longer about them. It is also about us uttering lies our hearts have conceived.

In this way, Isaiah 59 mirrors the earlier collection of visions against Israel but also against the nations. It was eventually against the entire world. Chapter 59 talks about you, them, and us. Our iniquities have created a barrier between God and us. We live in darkness. We no longer know our way.

There is a sense in which you feel Isaiah is lamenting the fate of the remnant as a consequence of the wickedness of others – the ‘them’ of the chapter. In that case, this picture would help us appreciate the pain and suffering that the Body of Christ is subjected to because of global wickedness.

We can return to the global situation involving you, us, and them. What is the reaction of the Creator God? Well, the LORD looked and was displeased. He was appalled that you, them, and we all got together and sinned and there was none to intervene. So the LORD decided to do it Himself – the Branch, Immanuel, and lately, the Servant.

He would bring justice and righteousness. Redemption would come to Zion, but only to the repentant. Probably verse 21 is referring to the repentant, the remnant – yes, them and others in each generation. “My Spirit, who is in you, will not depart from you.”

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Published by Joseph Malekani

Joseph Malekani is a born-again Christian with a strong PAOG/Baptist background. He is heavily involved in student ministry with ZAFES – an IFES movement with focus on student ministry in Zambia. He is married to Audrey and they have two lovely children.

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