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Bible Commentaries

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible
Isaiah 57

 

 

Introduction

Chapter 57 The Leadership Failure Continues But Yahweh will Watch Over His Own.

The resulting picture is now enlarged upon. This is the first of three chapters which depict the resulting sad state of Israel from different angles, and the resultant lack of effectiveness in prayer. But as ever in Isaiah they will finally result in the deliverance of those who look to Yahweh.

The chapter commences with the way in which God’s true people, the ‘righteous ones’, are suffering and then the subsection goes on to deal with the general sins of the leadership and the generality of the people.

Thus in chapter 57 Isaiah especially condemns those who throw themselves into the worship of Canaanite deities, into sexual misbehaviour, and into nature worship; in chapter 58 he condemns those who engage in hypocritical fasting, and in formal religion which has no real concern for people’s good; and in chapter 59 he condemns those who perpetrate injustice, and whose ways harm their fellowmen. We must not, of course, see Judah/Israel as full of people who are all sinning in the same way. There were different degrees of attitudes towards the gods and sexual misbehaviour, and of formalism towards Yahweh and of disobedience to the Law. Some were blatant in their apostasy, others were simply disobedient because they compromised with it, and did nothing about the situation, treating the worship of Yahweh as a formality or seeing it as in fact similar to paganism. But all in one way or another were involved in injustice.

Each of these chapters is also concerned about failure in prayer, which of course goes along with the above. For the emphasis is on the fact that Yahweh only gives ear to a righteous people. Thus in chapter 57 the people call on false gods and their prayer is not answered (Isaiah 57:13), in chapter 58 they fast hypocritically and their prayer is not answered (Isaiah 57:4), although it will be if they repent and begin to walk righteously (Isaiah 57:9), and in chapter 59 their prayer is not heard because their sins are separating them from God (Isaiah 57:1-2). Judah as a whole were therefore at this stage devoid of any hope that their prayers would be heard and answered. They had shut God off and they were shut off from God. They were outwardly without spiritual hope.

And yet in each chapter the way of hope is presented to them. In Isaiah 57:14-19 God will bring back to Himself those whom He has chosen by the action of His sovereign will. This is the Godward side of salvation. In chapter Isaiah 58:6-14 the way is open to those who will repent of their formality and begin to live righteously. This is the manward side of salvation And in chapter 59 Yahweh will come as a mighty warrior both in judgment and in deliverance, and as Redeemer of those who repent (Isaiah 57:16-21), and He will establish His covenant with them for ever.


Verse 1-2

The Sufferings Of The Righteous Under Injustice (Isaiah 57:1-2).

Isaiah 57:1-2

‘The righteous man perishes,

And no man lays it to heart,

And the men of covenant love (chesed) are taken away,

None considering that the righteous is taken away from evil (‘from the face of evil’).

He enters into peace.

They rest in their beds,

Each one who walks in his uprightness.’

The sign of the total failure of the leadership of God’s supposed people is that the very people whom they should have been protecting are the ones who are perishing without anyone taking any notice. He who is righteous, and walking in God’s ways, perishes through injustice and communal violence, while the law ignores the situation. Those who love God and obey His covenant are being arrested and are ‘disappearing’, possibly because they protest at what is happening to the true worship of Yahweh and at the false worship of multitudinous gods.

Nor do men consider the fact that this is because evil men have taken control, so that the righteous are taken away ‘from before evil’. The constant lesson of history is the apathy of the ordinary man in the face of what is going on around him. As long as it does not affect him too deeply he lets things slide, only for him to wake up when it is too late.

But Isaiah gives assurance to the righteous. Whatever happens to them externally they will find peace within themselves and peace with God. In the midst of their experiences they enter into peace. At least they can sleep at nights. Their consciences are untroubled. The thought may also include the idea of the sleep of death. Whether alive or dead they rest in Yahweh in perfect content (Psalms 16:11; Psalms 17:15; Psalms 23:6). Their beds of peace are in contrast with the beds of delusion (Isaiah 56:10) and the beds of adultery (Isaiah 57:7).

Notice the constant movement between singulars and plurals. What he describes is true of each of the righteous, and of all.


Verses 3-14

The Present Behaviour of the Godless; The People Become Like the Leaders That They Support (Isaiah 57:3-14).

There now follows a description of the backsliding of the people into idolatry and the occult. This fits in well with the reign of Manasseh (2 Kings 21:1-9), although it also applied under earlier kings such as Ahaz (2 Kings 16:1-4). Isaiah had not been satisfied with the reign of the godly Hezekiah, how much more devastating for him therefore must have been the beginnings of the reign of Manasseh.

Yahweh’s Castigation of His Unfaithful People (Isaiah 57:3-13).

Isaiah 57:3-6

‘But draw near here, you sons of the sorceress,

The seed of the adulterer and the whore,

Against whom do you sport yourselves,

Against whom do you make a wide mouth and draw out the tongue?

Are you not children of transgression,

A seed of falsehood?

You who inflame yourselves among the oaks,

Under every green tree.

Who slay the children in the valleys,

Under the clefts of the rocks,

Among the smooth stones of the valley is your portion,

They, they are your lot,

Even to them have you poured out a drink offering,

You have offered an oblation.

Shall I be appeased for these things?’

Isaiah now indicts the people for their behaviour and calls on them to draw near and consider their ways. The sons of the sorceress are those who indulge in the occult, in contacting the dead, in consulting mediums, in fortune-tellimg and the black arts. The seed of the adulterer and the whore are those who engage in nature religion, in uninhibited sex. They are true children of the ‘virgin’ goddesses whose behaviour is totally licentious. All are given over to what is evil.

But behind these expressions is the parallel idea of unfaithfulness to Yahweh. They are guilty of spiritual adultery, unfaithfulness to the covenant. Whatever makes us go contrary to the will of God is spiritual adultery. Note the twice repeated ‘seed’, the seed of the adulterer and the seed of falsehood. This is in direct contrast with the seed of Abraham (Isaiah 41:8) and the seed of the Servant (Isaiah 53:10). The false seed are in contrast with the true seed.

However, they should recognise that they are cocking a snook (making rude signs) at God. The sporting of themselves, the wide mouth and the drawing out of the tongue are all ways of flaunting their behaviour insultingly before the Righteous One. They are revealing what they are, transgressors and children of deceit, dealers in treachery.

‘You who inflame yourselves among the oaks, under every green tree. Who slay the children in the valleys, under the clefts of the rocks.’ The contradictory nature of what they are doing comes out here in these scenes of adultery and murder. The sexual misbehaviour under the flourishing green trees in the sacred groves is possibly an attempt to arouse life, to stimulate Baal and Asherah into action, to obtain fruitfulness in the fields and fruitfulness in childbearing, but it is also the result of licentious thinking. Their child sacrifices are the very opposite of this, they are the harbingers of death (see Jeremiah 32:25), they result paradoxically in the slaughter of what they seek elsewhere to obtain. No doubt they saw it as the sacrifice of the few for the good of the whole. Ironically ‘the clefts of the rocks’ to which they seek are the very places where they too will flee when the wrath of God is revealed (Isaiah 2:21).

These kinds of worship occurred regularly when Israel/Judah were in a backslidden state, right from when the entry into Canaan took place through to the exile, which seemingly did away with them (there is no evidence for them afterwards). They appealed to the carnal nature of man rather than to the spiritual.

‘Among the smooth stones of the valley is your portion, they, they are your lot. Even to them have you poured out a drink offering, you have offered an oblation.’ There is a play on words here. The smooth stones (chalaq) compare with the portion (cheleq). The chalaq is their cheleq. The meaning of the word translated ‘smooth stones’ is uncertain, but they are clearly in some way connected with the gods to whom these men make their offerings. Possibly smooth stones with suggestive shapes were used as idols, their shape being seen as indicative of a visit from the gods (especially meteorites). But the irony is that they have exchanged their portion from Yahweh for these smooth stones. This is their ‘lot’. It is all that they will have from the land originally given to them by Yahweh, by lot (Joshua 14:1-2 compare Psalms 16:5). They have exchanged what God has allotted to them for these smooth stones. Notice the contemptuous duplication of ‘they’. They have turned from the true worship of Yahweh to the worship of these smooth stones. Well they can have them. And that is all they can have, these miserable stones. (Did John the Baptiser have these words in mind when he declared sarcastically to the Pharisees, ‘God is able of these stones to raise up children to Abraham’?).

And what is more it is to them that they pour out their drink offerings and offer their oblations. What should have been offered to Yahweh in loving gratitude, was being given to smooth stones. What more pathetic picture can there be than that.

‘Shall I be appeased for these things?’ They must recognise that they are going so far that they are in danger that Yahweh will no longer be appeased in any way. This warning, continually ignored, would in the end result in the exile, and the emptying of the land that would follow as the people who remained found refuge elsewhere.

Isaiah 57:7-8

‘On a high and lofty mountain have you set your bed,

There also did you go up to offer sacrifice,

And behind the door and the post have you set up your memorial,

For you have discovered yourself (made yourself known) to another than me, and have gone up.

You have enlarged your bed and made yourself a covenant with them,

You loved their bed where you saw it.’

Not satisfied with their behaviour in the valleys and in the clefts of the rocks, they have made themselves beds in the high mountains, and offered sacrifices there to false gods, pushing the reminders of the covenant with Yahweh behind their doors where they would not be seen. The high places were often situated in the tallest mountains, which were especially seen as the abode of the gods. The high and lofty mountain here is in direct contrast to the holy mountain on which the worshippers of Yahweh are found (Isaiah 56:7), and the high and lofty One Who inhabits eternity (Isaiah 57:15), Who dwells above all. So they spurned the holy mountain of Yahweh, choosing rather the mountain of the gods. And there too did they engage in their unrestrained adultery. And there too they bound themselves to these gods and goddesses rather than to Yahweh. The most significant thing about their religion is their beds. These lascivious activities can be contrasted with those who make themselves joyful in His house of prayer (Isaiah 56:7).

The setting up of the memorial (reminder) behind the door and post may indicate an idolatrous symbol set up to remind them of their gods and goddesses when the door was closed, but it is more probable that it suggests that they have taken their ‘memorials to Yahweh’ (Deuteronomy 6:9), which declared their part in His covenant, and have hidden them behind the door, rather than having them on the outside of the door, which latter would signify proclaiming their faith in Him. They no longer want to be seen as those dull Yahwists. This would tie up with the fact that they are stated to have ‘gone up’ and ‘made themselves known’ to other than Yahweh. Instead of spiritual response to Him they prefer physical response to false gods. So this contrasts the hiddenness of any ‘faith’ in Yahweh they had left, with their blatant idolatry on the mountain tops where all could see their faith in the gods. While they have not quite given up on Yahweh, they have relegated Him to a hidden corner.

‘Enlarging the bed’ possibly means engaging in intercourse with even more persons than previously, that is with cult prostitutes, sexual association with whom in their eyes bound them by covenant to the gods and goddesses involved. ‘Loving their beds’ indicates the enthusiasm with which they threw themselves into such activities.

Isaiah 57:9

‘And you went down to the king with oil (ointment),

And increased your perfumes,

And sent your ambassadors far off,

And debased yourselves even to Sheol.

We must interpret the first line in line with the third. Thus the king is a foreign king, possibly the king of Babylon or similar, to whom oil was sent as a gift through ambassadors who went ‘far off’ (Hosea 12:1). And when they came before him they ‘went down’, that is, humbled themselves. What a contrast we have here. Having ‘gone up’ to their sexually perverted gods, into physical ecstasy, they ‘went down’ to a foreign king in deep humiliation. They were slaves both to sex and to power. It was a matter of trusting in anything but Yahweh.

Olive oil was produced in abundance in Palestine and was a regular export (compare Hosea 12:1; 1 Kings 5:11; Ezekiel 27:17). The perfumes probably refer to their beautifying themselves so as to be pleasing to the king. So their idolatrous behaviour went hand in hand with resort to foreign alliances, to a trust in foreign kings which would only fail them.

Debasing themselves even to Sheol is probably Isaiah’s description of the depths to which they were willing to humiliate themselves before that great and mighty king, a humiliation which would finally result in death and the grave for many. Compare also Isaiah 28:15 where making a treaty with Egypt was seen as the equivalent of making a treaty with Sheol. However some see it as indicating attempts to consult the dead.

The shallowness and folly of this up and down experience is apparent. It is all effort. Up into the high mountains where they obtained their temporary reward, and then the long journey ‘down’ to far off kings ending in a deep humbling before them. And this in contrast with those who could go up into Yahweh’s High and Holy place (Isaiah 57:15), and Whose covenant with them was testified to on their very doors.

Thus Judah is back on the old track, engaging in foreign alliances instead of trusting in Yahweh, and abasing themselves to foreign kings instead of before Yahweh. Or it may be that the whole reference is simply a reference to their abasement before their Overlord, the king of Assyria. That too was their lot because they had forsaken Yahweh.

Isaiah 57:10

‘You were wearied with the length of your ways,

Yet you did not say, “There is no hope.”

You discovered a livening of your strength (literally ‘the life of your hand’),

Therefore you were not sick.’

The journeys to foreign nations seeking alliances were long and weary (compare Isaiah 30:6), and took much time, but they did not give up on them. They were in direct contrast with the way of Yahweh (Isaiah 11:16; Isaiah 19:23; Isaiah 35:8). Yet somehow they found strength and therefore resisted sickness and depression. ‘The life of your hand’ is in contrast with the life that comes from Yahweh, and might indicate the taking of oral drugs to strengthen their resolve. Or it may mean dredging up their own resources and a relying on adrenalin. And as they travelled they encouraged themselves with hope. Thus they walked in the wrong way, they encouraged themselves with false hopes, and they used self-help instead of leaning on Yahweh. And it would all be to no avail.

Isaiah 57:11

“And of whom have you been afraid,

And in fear, that you lie?

And you have not remembered me,

Nor laid it to your heart.”

Yahweh then questions them as to whom they are in awe of, or who has put the fear in their hearts that makes them lie and behave deceitfully (instead of fearing Him as they should). This may indicate being deceitful to the people, and to themselves, deceiving them and themselves with false promises of hope where there was no hope. Or the lies may have been to the king to whom they went, as they promised what they would not give. Or it may signify their deceitfulness towards Yahweh, still outwardly seeing themselves as the people of the covenant but looking to anyone but Him. The result was that they did not remember Yahweh, nor lay to their hearts the uselessness of looking elsewhere. They should have been afraid of Yahweh Who was totally reliable, but because they feared others it resulted in lies and deceit all round. The important emphasis is on the fact that they are living on an unstable foundation of deceit in all directions.

Isaiah 57:11-12

“Have I not held my peace even for a long time,

And you do not fear me?’

I will declare your righteousness, and as for your works,

They will not profit you.”

He recognises that the reason why they do not fear Him is because He has given them a long period of peace, for it is when God’s judgments are in the earth that the people learn righteousness (Isaiah 26:9). It is part of the contradiction of human nature that when things are going well God is forgotten. Well, now He will expose them. He will declare what type of righteousness they really have, and what kind of works they are really doing. We must translate the verb as ‘expose’ and put ‘righteousness’ in inverted commas as indicating wrong behaviour, for His aim is to show them for what they are. And let them also recognise the fact that all their ‘works’ will not profit them. This may refer to the work of seeking foreign alliances, or the work of appeasing the king of Assyria, or to the hard work of making their hand-made gods, the works of their hands (Isaiah 1:31; Isaiah 2:20; Isaiah 31:7; Isaiah 44:10-17), or simply works performed to salve the conscience. These works all demonstrate what type of ‘righteousness’ they really have.

Isaiah 57:13

“When you cry out,

Let those whom you have gathered deliver you,

But the wind will take them,

A breath will carry them all away,

But he who puts his trust in me will possess the land,

And will inherit my holy mountain.”

So let them recognise that when the time of need comes and they ‘cry out’ for help, He will not help them. Let them then look to those that they ‘have gathered’, either their treaty-friends or their gods. But such will prove useless. They will be carried off by the wind, blown away as though they were nothing. For there is only One Who is reliable and dependable. It is those who trust in Him who will possess the land and inherit God’s holy mountain.

So there is a strong contrast here between those who trust in idols and those who truly trust in Yahweh. Those who trust to the gods of smooth stones will have them as their portion, they will be their lot (Isaiah 57:6), but those who trust in Yahweh will have the land of God’s choice as their lot and the holy mountain as their portion. They will inherit all the promises of God, both fruitful existence and spiritual access into the presence of God. ‘Possessing the land’ did not mean just owning it. It meant enjoying it to the full and obtaining its fullest benefit. ‘Inheriting the holy mountain’ meant having full availability of the way to God and finding full spiritual satisfaction as a result. Thus trusting in Yahweh was the guarantee of wellbeing and rightness of spirit.

All this would find literal fulfilment, first in the judgments of the coming days, and then in the response of the holy seed in the land and the literal return of His faithful people from worldwide to the land, and the establishing of those faithful to Yahweh under such as Haggai and Zechariah, Zerubbabel and Joshua, Nehemiah and Ezra, and many others who would follow. It would find even greater spiritual fulfilment in the consequences of the coming of Jesus when all that the land and the holy mountain meant would become the portion of His followers, spiritual prosperity and access into the presence of God in His ‘holy mountain’, the mountain of Yahweh’s house (Isaiah 2:2-3; Isaiah 56:7), and the latter would reach its final conclusion in the new heaven and the new earth when all the blessings of God would be theirs (Revelation 21:1 to Revelation 22:5).

For this inheritance compare Isaiah 60:19-21; Isaiah 61:7; Isaiah 65:9, where it is planted by Yahweh and is for ever, when the sun ceases to be necessary and Yahweh is the everlasting light of His people, and they experience everlasting joy. This can only be speaking of the everlasting kingdom.

We must keep in our minds all along that Isaiah’s prophecies contain many strands. They speak of trends and various events to come, unlimited as to time, and not necessarily all directly connected. It is not a matter of ‘now’ and ‘the end time’ it is a matter of ‘now’ and ‘all that will follow, whether near or far’.


Verses 14-21

Yahweh Will Make A Way Back To Himself And Will Restore Those Whom He Chooses To Himself In Spite of Their Undeserving and Unresponsiveness (Isaiah 57:14-21).

They must remember that in spite of what they are God in His high and holy place is sovereign. He will prepare a way back to Himself for His true people, and although He is angry at their self-interested desire for gain, and their stubbornness in response to His call, He will heal them and lead them and restore comfort to them, and will, when they begin to mourn for their sins, Himself create the fruit of their lips, that is He will give them the words to say to reflect their repentance for sin.

Thus will they come to Him crushed and humbled, and thus will they be able to dwell with Him in the high and holy place, as He revives their hearts and their spirits. All this brings out the patience of God with His own people. Though we fail Him time and again, He continues to reach out to us and restore us to what we should be.

Isaiah 57:14

‘And he will say, “Cast up, cast up, prepare the way,

Take up the stumblingblock out of the way of my people.’

Just as He called for the way to be prepared for Himself when He came to deliver His people (Isaiah 40:3-5), so now will He arrange for a way to be prepared for the people whom He has chosen, whereby they might come to Him. As in chapter 40 this is again portrayed in terms of preparing the way for an Overlord, only here it is not for an Overlord but for His people. They too are to receive superior treatment. They are more important than earthly Overlords.

This is not necessarily talking of return from exile. It is a return from sin. Every stumblingblock of sin and ignorance will be removed and He will bring them back to Himself in repentance and faith (Isaiah 57:15). The call to ‘prepare the way’ is given to the prophets, and to all men of God who would come in the future, and the stumblingblock will be removable because of the work of the Servant (Isaiah 53:1-12), Who is the prime remover of the stumblingblock, that is, of whatever keeps men from God.

Isaiah 57:15

‘For thus says the high and lofty one, who dwells there everlastingly, whose name is Holy,

“I dwell in the high and holy place,

With him also who is of a contrite and humble spirit,

To revive the spirit of the humble,

And to revive the heart of the contrite ones.”

The word ‘for’ connects back with Isaiah 57:14. This is why the way has been prepared, it is the way back to God. Once again the spiritual nature of Isaiah’s message shines through. For ‘high and lofty’ compare Isaiah 6:1; Isaiah 52:13. This is the place of Yahweh’s everlasting throne to which the Servant was lifted up (Isaiah 52:13). And from it speaks Yahweh, Who is the high and lofty One, He who is above all, and before Whom all must bow, Who dwells there everlastingly. And He declares His name, He is Holy. That is He is unique and set apart from all else because of His distinctive nature and attributes, set apart in power, in holiness, in purity, in righteousness, and in glory. He is the One Who is different from all else. And it is because the Servant is lifted up to Him, and is made very high (Isaiah 52:13), that He can be declared to be the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father (Isaiah 9:6).

The Declaration. “I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also who is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” Access is granted to the high and holy place for those whose hearts are contrite, those who are crushed by sin, but repent of and regret their sins, and mourn over them, those who come humbly and seek His face (compare 1 John 1:7-10). And there their spirits and hearts will be revived. Note the stress on spirit and heart, the seat of man’s spiritual nature, and of his mind, will and emotions. Thus do men have access into heavenly places (see Ephesians 1:20; Ephesians 2:6) as they seek Him in this way. We can compare here Isaiah 61:1; Psalms 23:6; Psalms 51:1; Psalms 51:11; Psalms 51:17; Psalms 139:7-8.

The high and holy place is the heavenly Mount Zion, God’s dwelling-place, as mirrored in the earthly Mount Zion which will one day be raised high above all mountains (Isaiah 2:2). Ezekiel depicts it as ‘a very high mountain’ (Ezekiel 40:2) in a holy portion many miles from Jerusalem (Ezekiel 45:1-8), on which the heavenly temple descends. The differing descriptions bring out how the prophets were struggling with the concept of a heavenly yet earthly temple, on a heavenly yet earthly holy mountain. It was because it was holy that Ezekiel recognised that it could not be in the defiled city of Jerusalem. Compare also 1 Kings 8:30; 1 Kings 8:32; 1 Kings 8:34; 1 Kings 8:36; 1 Kings 8:39; 1 Kings 8:43; 1 Kings 8:45; 1 Kings 8:49 where Yahweh in His heavenly dwellingplace hears what occurs in His earthly temple. See also 1 Kings 8:27 and compare Psalms 125:1. Israel did not see Yahweh as tied to dwelling permanently in His temple on Mount Zion, although they could speak of it as His dwelling place. They looked to something more.

The word ‘contrite’ means one who is crushed, as the Servant was for us in Isaiah 53:5; Isaiah 53:10. The burden of sin is heavy on them. The thought is of those who seek God and respond faithfully to Him, because God has crushed them. But as they experience that crushing they can come into His presence, nay, dwell in His presence, and they will thus find themselves revived (as Isaiah was in Isaiah 6:5-7) and able to continually dwell with Him. This is a reminder that dwelling with God is a privilege, and His presence should not be treated lightly. While we may rejoice in His presence there is a real sense in which we should be continually lowly and humble before Him. For He is the Holy One, and we, while being His adopted children, are but forgiven sinners (see Ecclesiastes 5:1-2).

Isaiah 57:16

‘For I will not accuse for ever,

Nor will I be always angry,

For the spirit would fail (faint away) before me,

And the persons (those containing breath) that I have made.’

Entry into the holy presence of God, and dwelling with Him, is possible because of His mercy and gracious love. Had He made us fully account for our sins we would indeed have had no hope. But God in His graciousness and lovingkindness has promised that He will not accuse for ever, or be always angry with, those who come before Him in repentance and faith. Otherwise indeed their spirits would faint away before Him. They could not endure, for they only have limited breath (Isaiah 2:22). They are but men.

Isaiah 57:17-19

‘Because of the iniquity of his covetousness I was angry,

And I smote him, I hid my face and was angry,

And he went on, turning away in the way of his heart.

I have seen his ways and will heal him,

I will lead him also and recompense comforts to him,

And to his mourners I create the fruit of his lips.’

The ‘he’ is presumably either the ‘him’ who is finally of a contrite and humble spirit in Isaiah 57:15, or the ‘my people’ of Isaiah 57:14 (singular verbs for a composite noun). The perfect tenses indicate the completeness of what is described, even though it is in the future. God’s anger is aroused by man’s self-interested desire for gain, and that is why He will smite him, and hide His face from him and be angry. But man will continue turning away from Him, right from the heart. And if God did not intervene man would have no hope.

However, happily He will intervene for those on whom He sets His choice. (As it is made abundantly clear elsewhere that not all will be saved, and as it is God Who will bring about their salvation in spite of their rebelliousness, it must be a matter of His choice). God will have seen his ways and yet will determine to heal him. Indeed He will go further. He will be his guide and provide him with comfort. And to those who mourn for sin He will provide words to say. It is He Who will create something new, He will create the words that the mourner speaks.

Isaiah 57:19

‘Peace, peace, to him who is far off and to him who is near’ says Yahweh, ‘and I will heal him.’

This is God’s great offer of peace. The peace that He will bring between Him and His people will reach both far and near, it will even reach out to the nations. It comes from the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). And to those to whom He gives peace He will also give healing. He will make them whole. He will restore their inner selves. ‘Him who is far off’, that is, living in distant places. God’s peace is being offered to all.

Isaiah 57:20-21

‘But the wicked are like the troubled sea,

For it cannot find rest and its waters cast up mire and dirt.

“There is no peace,” says my God, “to the wicked.” ’

But now we find confirmed that all are not included in God’s sovereign work of deliverance and salvation. For the wicked there can be no peace. Indeed they are like the troubled sea. Within them is unrest and turmoil, and from that unrest and turmoil is cast up mire and dirt because of what they are. How can they then have peace?

 


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Bibliography Information
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Isaiah 57:4". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/isaiah-57.html. 2013.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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