Isaiah 58-66 heralds the coming of the Lord and the completion of the restoration of God’s people. In chapters 58-59, the prophet articulated the need for Israel to repent in light of its spiritual and religious hypocrisy. What were the consequences of their sin?
To begin with, there was the consequence of unanswered prayer (59:1-2). Isaiah 59:1-2 says, “See, the Lord’s hand is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. 2Rather, your iniquities have been barriers between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.”
Dr. John MacArthur writes, “Abraham’s physical lineage had not yet experienced the Lord’s deliverance because of the barrier created by their wrongdoing. This is a universal truth applying to all men—sin separates people from God (cf. Rom. 3:23).”
Second, there was the consequence of spiritual and emotional despair. The unrighteousness within the nation was a direct result of their own personal unrighteousness. Isaiah 59:9 says, “Therefore justice is far from us, and righteousness does not reach us; we wait for light, and lo! there is darkness; and for brightness, but we walk in gloom.”
Thirdly, there was spiritual blindness. The people walked about as if they were blind. Isaiah 59:10 says, “We grope like the blind along a wall, groping like those who have no eyes; we stumble at noon as in the twilight, among the vigorous as though we were dead.” This certainly parallels John 9.
Fourthly, there was frustration on the part of the people because of injustice. In amplifying what we already read in Isaiah 59:9, vs. 11 says, “We all growl like bears; like doves we moan mournfully. We wait for justice, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far from us.”
What is the only cure for sins consequences? Isaiah 59:12-15 provides the answer. “12For our transgressions before you are many, and our sins testify against us. Our transgressions indeed are with us, and we know our iniquities: 13transgressing, and denying the Lord, and turning away from following our God, talking oppression and revolt, conceiving lying words and uttering them from the heart. 14 Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands at a distance; for truth stumbles in the public square, and uprightness cannot enter. 15Truth is lacking, and whoever turns from evil is despoiled. The Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice.”
Confession of one’s sin and repentance from the same is the simple, but significant, cure to the consequences of sin. It is the only cure for deliverance from the penalty of sin, but also it is the only cure from the power of sin. What was true for Israel 2.700 years ago, remains true for the church today.
Soli deo Gloria!