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The righteous man perishes, and no man lays it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, and none is considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come ( Isaiah 57:1 ).
There are many who see this verse as a description of what happens at the rapture of the church. As the merciful are taken away and no man considering the fact that they have been taken away from the evil that is to come, from the period of the Great Tribulation that is coming.
He shall enter into peace: they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness. But draw near hither, ye sons of the sorceress ( Isaiah 57:2-3 ),
And so God speaks about the merciful being taken away, but now His dealings with those who were worshipping false gods, false idols. "Draw near," He's going to lay it upon them now, "ye sons of the sorceress."
the seed of the adulterer and the whore ( Isaiah 57:3 ).
Now this is, of course, talking in spiritual terms. The adulteress, the whore-that would be pagan religious system, pagan worship, the worship of Baal, Molech. You see, these people were to be married unto God. They were looked upon as the wife of God. God said, "I've joined Myself unto you." And He uses the figure of a husband and a wife. And their love was to be to God exclusively. Their devotion unto God exclusively. But they were worshipping other gods. They were worshipping the gods of the pagans, the gods of Baal and Molech and Ashtoreth and all. And they were worshipping all of these other gods. And so God said, "Look, you're supposed to be married to Me. If you're out there cavorting and worshipping with these other gods, then that's adultery." And so God speaks of it in a spiritual sense. The worship of the idols, the worship of the other gods were looked upon by God as they're following after adultery or whoredom.
Against whom do you sport yourselves? ( Isaiah 57:4 )
And that is, again, a term that is used of intimate relationship. And thus they were having, in a sense, intimate relationships with these other gods.
against whom make ye a wide mouth, and draw out the tongue? are ye not children of transgression, the seed of falsehood, inflaming yourselves with idols under every green tree, slaying the children in the valleys under the clefts of the rocks? ( Isaiah 57:4-5 )
It seems unthinkable to us in this age in which we live-I guess it doesn't-that parents would take their little babies and throw them into the fire, which was a part of the worship of Baal and of Molech. If you go over to Jerusalem to the Museum of Natural History, in one area they have a case filled with little idols that have been uncovered in the land. I saw one of the idols of Baal, a little iron figure with arms out and hands in an upturned position like this. And in their worship of this idol, they would heat it until it would turn a glowing red-hot color from the heat, and then they would place their live babies in these little outstretched arms. And they would be consumed in the fire as they worship the god. These are the things that God is speaking out against. Practices that His people followed as they thought so little of life that they were willing to sacrifice their own babies unto their gods.
In the archaeological diggings they have found in the jars that were built into the walls of the homes, skeletons of babies that were buried alive as you would build a house for an offering unto the god. These were the practices that God said were an abomination unto Him. The things that God was forbidding, these were common practices of the people around them. You say, "Well, Chuck, I am abhorred by that thought, a sacrifice of baby. Who could ever think of killing a baby?" Well, I'm afraid that unfortunately here in the United States a million of them are being sacrificed every year. When does life begin?
So God speaks out against them. How they had "inflamed themselves with their idols under every green tree, slaying your children in the valleys under the cleft of the rocks."
Among the smooth stones of the stream is thy portion; they, they are thy lot: even to them hast thou poured a drink offering, thou hast offered a meat offering. Should I receive comfort in these? Upon a lofty and high mountain you have set up your bed ( Isaiah 57:6-7 ):
That is, a bed for an adultery, because they would make the places of worship up on the tops of the mountains like the pagans.
even thither you went to offer your sacrifices. Behind the doors also and the posts have you set up your remembrances: for you have discovered yourself to another ( Isaiah 57:7-8 ),
That is, you've uncovered yourself. You've made yourself naked, in a sense, before other gods.
you've gone up; you have enlarged your bed, you've made a covenant with them; and you loved their bed where you saw it. And you went to the king with ointment, and did increase your perfumes, and did send your messengers far off, and you did debase yourself even to hell ( Isaiah 57:8-9 ).
And so God is speaking out against the fact that these people had turned away from Him and had turned unto the practices of the heathen around them in the worship, in the developing of other little idols and gods and their worship of them.
Thou art wearied in the greatness of thy way; yet you said not, There is no hope: thou hast found the life of thine hand; therefore you were not grieved. And of whom hast thou been afraid or feared, that you have lied, and have not remembered me, nor laid it to your heart? have not I held my peace even of old, and you have not feared me? I will declare thy righteousness, and thy works; for they shall not profit thee. And when you cry, let your companies deliver thee; but the wind shall carry them all away; vanity shall take them ( Isaiah 57:10-13 ):
And so God speaks out against the people. And when you cry, your gods will not be able to deliver you. They will be carried away themselves by the wind. They are empty.
But now in sharp contrast,
he that puts his trust in me shall possess the land, and shall inherit my holy mountain; And he shall say, Cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way, take up the stumbling block out of the way of my people. For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones ( Isaiah 57:13-15 ).
So God declares now His dwelling place. It is high. It is holy. Those that will dwell with Him are those that are humble and those of a contrite heart.
For I will not contend for ever, neither will I always be angry: for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made. For the iniquity of his covetousness was I angry, and I smote him: I hid, and I was angry, and he went on frowardly in the way of his heart. I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners. I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the LORD; and I will heal him ( Isaiah 57:16-19 ).
So even though they had forsaken God and gone in these abominable practices of the heathen, yet God promises His restoration.
But to the wicked, they are like the troubled sea, which cannot rest, whose waters cast up the mire and the dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked ( Isaiah 57:20-21 ).
A person who lives in wickedness, his life is like a stormy sea. Just casting up dirt and filth. No rest. Constant turmoil. Constant troubling of the man who has set his heart against the Lord. "
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Isaiah 57". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 15 / Ordinary 20