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Bible Commentaries
Isaiah 59

Bell's Commentary on the BibleBell's Commentary

Verses 1-21

    1. Spiritual Separation! (1-8)
    2. Short Handed! (1-3)
    3. Yes, someone is short handed…but it isn’t the Lord!
      1. The reason why Israel had not been saved & rescued from Babylon was NOT due to the Lord’s inability to save them.
      2. God’s hand is unable to work when our hands are defiled w/sin.
        1. Our Prayers fall flat; our Power runs dry in our lives & ministries.
        2. It’s our arm that’s to short & our ear that is heavy!
    4. (2) Don’t miss the sins that “separate” humans from God! (vs.1-8)
    5. Ps: This happens every time we choose self-rule over God’s-rule!
      1. It’s learning to live/work in Partnership with Jesus! [have you?]
      2. “A surrendered life doesn’t keep you insulated from life’s pain & difficulties, but knowing Him brings joy that none of life’s suffering could ever overwhelm!” (Rebecca Pippert)
    6. Snake Eggs! (4,5a)
      1. No Justice! (4)
        1. Read: A Modern Red Riding Hood
      2. Lies – A lie is not just a sound in the air or a sentence on paper. (Warren Wiersbe; pg. 488; With the Word.)
        1. It has a life of its own & gives birth to all kinds of trouble.
        2. Try to live on lies, & they will poison you.
        3. When lies finally “hatch” they will bite you & may kill you.
        4. James 1:15 “when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.”
      3. Instead of stamping out evil in the egg, the sinful heart acts as an incubator & hatches it out, then raises it up, plays with it, only to get bitten by it & die in the end!
    7. Spider Webs! (5b-8)
    8. Trying to hide behind lies & hypocritical religious works is like hiding behind a feeble spider’s web!
    9. What a portrait of the hypocrite’s religion! (Adapted from Spurgeon’s M & E Aug 8th Morning.)
      1. [1] It is meant to catch prey.
        1. The Pharisee fattens his ego on 1 proselyte.
        2. Foolish persons are easily entrapped by the loud
          1. The Spider fattens himself on flies. professions of pretenders.
        3. Q: Have we built ourselves a web to catch other believers into our own personal convictions?
      2. [2] It is a marvel of skill.
        1. So the hypocrite makes a boldface lie…appear to be truth.
      3. [3] It comes from the creatures own bowels.
        1. The bee gathers from flowers. The spider spins out her material to any length.
        2. So the hypocrite finds their trust & hope in themselves.
      4. [4] Yet, her web is very frail.
        1. It is no match for the servant’s broom.
        2. All hypocritical cobwebs will soon come down.
      5. [5] There are no cobwebs in our Fathers House.
        1. Those who spin them will be destroyed forever.
      6. Make sure your soul is resting on something more sure than a spider’s web!
    10. (7,8) These verses characterize the depravity of man.
      1. See Romans 3:15-17.
    11. (8) Their feet, thoughts, path are fatal!
      1. The way of peace can only be entered into at the cross!
        1. See Lk.1:79.
    12. Spiritual Blindness! (9-15a)
    13. (9-12) Note the personal pronouns as Isaiah identifies w/the nations in confessing its sinfulness. [“us” 2x’s, “we” 10x’s, “our” 4x’s]
    14. (11) The growling of a bear, the moaning of a morning dove are apt descriptions of the complaint of the repentant soul!
      1. It is a good thing when man can’t even lift up his eyes to heaven & can only beat upon his breast…“the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’”
    15. (9,10) It’s high noon, & yet it’s dark out.
      1. The 4 traffic officers “Justice, righteousness, truth, & equity” are standing far off because the people will not let them exercise authority.
    16. No Intercessor? (15b-21)
    17. So God looks all around for one person to intercede for his people, but finds none…so he does the work himself.
      1. Heb.7:25 “Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”
      2. "What is meant by intercession?" it’s "Speaking a word to God for others."
      3. Q: Are you an intercessor?
      4. Q: Are you concerned about the “traffic jams” that hinders God’s work & robs God of His glory?
    18. Spurgeon understood this when he wrote, God will bless Elijah & send rain on Israel, but Elijah must pray for it. If the chosen nation is to prosper, Samuel must plead for it.If the Jews are to be delivered, Daniel must intercede.God will bless Paul, & the nations shall be converted, but Paul must pray “Let me have your prayers, & I can do anything! Let me be w/o my people’s prayers, & I can do nothing!”
    19. Picture an inexhaustible supply and an almost unlimited demand:
      1. The demand is the lost state of these tens of thousands of souls -- their ignorance, their superstition, their sinfulness, the need for their bodies, their minds, their souls.
      2. The supply is the grace of God to meet this need which will be brought down to them by the persevering prayers of one of God's children.
      3. All we need to do is to bring the supply and demand together!
    20. (16b,17) Like a warrior going out to battle, the Lord girds Himself for the conflict!
      1. Straps on His Breastplate of Righteousness; dons His Helmet of Salvation; Clothed Himself with Garments of Vengeance and HisCloak of Zeal. [This is Jesus!]
    21. (18,19) He will rescue Israel from captivity in Babylon. He will deal with His enemies.
      1. The gentile nations will fear Israel’s God when He comes against them like a rushing river & a powerful wind(?).
        1. ESV “for he will come like a rushing stream, which the wind of the LORD drives.”
      2. Let the blows that are meant for you be caught on His shield!
      3. Let Him fight your battles!
    22. (20) Israel will repent(turn from) meeting the condition for the Lord to rescue them.
    23. (21) This will ultimately be fulfilled at the 2nd coming of Christ when the millennial kingdom is inaugurated.
      1. Rom.11:25-27 “blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins”. [Paul quotes Is.59:20,21a]
    24. The Lord was powerful enough to save Israel, but the nation’s sins were the cause of Israel’s suffering in captivity.
    25. Q: Tonight, who is God calling you to be an intercessor for?
      1. Read Stanley Jones: Bible Illustrator
        1. [Topic: Prayer - Subtopic: intercessory - Index: 1785]
    26. Stanley Jones writes about a crucial moment in his life when he found himself on his way to what could have been a spiritual disaster: For months after my conversion, I was running under cloudless skies. And then suddenly I tripped, almost fell, pulled back this side of the sin, but was shaken and humiliated that I could come that close to sin. I thought I was emancipated and found I wasn't. I went to the class meeting -- I'm grateful that I didn't stay away -- went, but my music had gone. I had hung my harp on a weeping willow tree. As the others spoke of their joys and victories of the week, I sat there with the tears rolling down my cheeks. I was heartbroken. After the others had spoken, John Zink, the class leader, said: "Now, Stanley, tell us what is the matter." I told them I couldn't, but would they please pray for me?
      Like one man they fell to their knees, and they lifted me back to the bosom of God by faith and love. When we got up from our knees, I was reconciled to my heavenly Father, to the group, and to myself. I was reconciled. The universe opened its arms and took me in again. The estrangement was gone. I took my harp from the willow tree and began to sing again -- the Song of Moses and the Lamb, especially the Lamb. The cross was my refuge and my release. That was a very crucial moment in my Song of Ascents, the moment when I lost my music. My destiny was in the hands of that group. I was a very bruised reed; suppose they had broken me? I was a smoldering wick; suppose they had snuffed me out? Just a criticism: "I told you so. Too good to be true. He was riding for a fall." But they never uttered a criticism, or even thought of one, as far as I could see. The reaction was nothing but redemptive love. That group became redemptive. I saw and experience the power of redemptive love incarnate in a group.

A Modern Red Riding Hood

Once upon a time, in a far away country, there lived a little girl called Red Riding Hood. One day her mother asked her to take a basket of fruit to her grandmother, who had been ill and lived alone in a cottage in the forest.

It happened that a wolf was lurking in the bushes and overheard the conversation. He decided to take a short-cut to the grandmother's house and get the goodies for himself.

The wolf killed the grandmother, then dressed in her nightgown and jumped into bed to await the little girl.

When she arrived, he made several nasty suggestions and then tried to grab her. But by this time, the child was very frightened and ran screaming from the cottage.

A woodcutter, working nearby, heard her cries and rushed to the rescue. He killed the wolf with his ax, thereby saving Red Riding Hood's life. All the townspeople hurried to the scene and proclaimed the woodcutter a hero.

But at the inquest, several facts emerged:

  1. The wolf had never been advised of his rights.

  2. The woodcutter had made no warning swings before striking the fatal blow.

  3. The Civil Liberties Union stressed the point that, although the act of eating Grandma may have been in bad taste, the wolf was only "doing his thing" and thus didn't deserve the death penalty.

  4. The SDS contended that the killing of the grandmother should be considered self-defense since she was over 30 and, therefore, couldn't be taken seriously because the wolf was trying to make love, not war.

On the basis of these considerations, it was decided there was no valid basis for charges against the wolf. Moreover, the woodcutter was indicted for unaggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Several nights later, the woodcutter's cottage was burned to the ground.

One year from the date of "The Incident at Grandma's," her cottage was made a shrine for the wolf who had bled and died there. All the village officials spoke at the dedication, but it was Red Riding Hood who gave the most touching tribute.

She said that, while she had been selfishly grateful for the woodcutter's intervention, she realized in retrospect that he had over-reacted. As she knelt and placed a wreath in honor of the brave wolf, there wasn't a dry eye in the whole forest.

Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Isaiah 59". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/isaiah-59.html. 2017.
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