Read 200.) Isaiah 57:1 thru 59:21. We approach the conclusion of Isaiah’s life and ministry. His ministry began about 750 BC, but ended, depending upon sources, sometime around 686 to 681 BC, lasting nearly 65-70 years! Chapter 57 opens and continues for the first 13 verses with another condemnation of surviving Israel for their forgetting and forsaking of the Lord, having turned unto idols; even unto the sacrificing of some of their own children! The tone changes with verse 14, and the Lord proclaims who it is that is accepted of Him. And, who is that person; the one who is contrite and lowly. We use terms meek, humble and unassuming. These are the opposite of the proud, who are loud about themselves.
Chapter 58 takes us to a couple of topics not often addressed, fasting and prayer. What instruction might we take away about these things? The first element is obviously true sincerity! A genuine desire to seek out and to find God is prerequisite. This chapter has been referred to and titled, God’s Chosen Fast, from the words of verses 5 and 6. And, what causes such fasting and prayer to be effectual? What demonstrates that one is truly sincere? It goes right back to the previous chapter, expressing contriteness and lowliness; and here, the actions that we have come to call social justice. Verses 8 and 9 then express the response that the Lord would bring, as do verses 11, 12 and 14. But, this is all clearly conditional. The Lord wants to be and to do all that He says unto Israel here, but with use of the word, “If,” 5 times in verses 9, 10 and 13, these blessings from the Lord are a conditional response, that would be based upon their repentance from their wickednesses, and a national reforming of themselves, that would result in the actions of social justice listed here. We would all do well to ask ourselves which of these two we are most like, and how we might be more like that which He has said that He desires.
Chapter 59 is then a restatement of God’s prescription for His people Israel, that He might come back to them, and super-abundantly bless them… If only they had been willing! Thru His prophet, Isaiah, He begins to list their sins, and the result that has come from them, with verses 1 thru 8. Personal consequences are described with verses 9 thru 11, but then… a manner of confession is made unto the Lord with verses 12 thru 15. Then watch! Beginning at verse 16, and because of Israel’s ‘confession’ of their many sins unto the Lord, He commences to prophesy of that Day when He, Jesus, will return to save surviving remnant Israel on the last day of the Tribulation, in which He comes to inaugerate His 1,000-year Millennial reign upon the earth, and to save those who repent; confessing in the manner as was recorded in verses 12 and 13! Then, beginning with verse 21, and will continue all thru the next several chapters, God reveals thru Isaiah what He is going to do, beginning with that Day that Israel will repent and return back unto Him! This is also what the Book is all about!
Harold F Crowell