For our offenses are many in your sight, and our sins testify against us. Our offenses are ever with us, and we acknowledge our iniquities: rebellion and treachery against the Lord , turning our backs on our God, inciting revolt and oppression, uttering lies our hearts have conceived. So justice is driven back, and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter. Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey. The Lord looked and was displeased that there was no justice. He saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene; so his own arm achieved salvation for him, and his own righteousness sustained him. He put on righteousness as his breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on his head; he put on the garments of vengeance and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak. According to what they have done, so will he repay wrath to his enemies and retribution to his foes; he will repay the islands their due. From the west, people will fear the name of the Lord , and from the rising of the sun, they will revere his glory. For he will come like a pent-up flood that the breath of the Lord drives along. “The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,” declares the Lord . “As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the Lord . “My Spirit, who is on you, will not depart from you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will always be on your lips, on the lips of your children and on the lips of their descendants—from this time on and forever,” says the Lord. -Isaiah 59:12-21
This passage is another hidden gem of prophecy that I did not know was present in the book of Isaiah. Several times before God has referred to his “arm”. Back in Isaiah 50:1-3 God asked the rhetorical question “Was my arm too short to deliver you?“. The answer I came to upon reflection was, “He is strong enough to rescue us by enduring the cross; and His arms are long enough to stretch around the world.” I think God is alluding to the same answer here.
“The Lord looked and was displeased that there was no justice. He saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene; so his own arm achieved salvation for him, and his own righteousness sustained him.” In this most mysterious of ways God intervened for us with his own arm to achieve the salvation we all require. This coming will be different than the ways that God has shown up in the past for the people of Israel.
He will repay those who have failed to faithfully follow Him or produced bad fruit from the well-watered garden He provided. “According to what they have done, so will he repay wrath to his enemies and retribution to his foes; he will repay the islands their due.” This concept of islands showed up back in Isaiah 42:10-17 when God spoke of turning rivers into islands. In that reference, I wondered whether “islands” was metaphorical and meant “something or someone isolated and separated”. It may mean the same thing here.
God goes on to say “he will come like a pent-up flood that the breath of the Lord drives along”. This is an apt description of the tumultuous arrival of Jesus. In what ways was Jesus like a “pent-up flood”? There was certainly a pent-up anticipation for the coming of the Messiah among the Jewish people of Jesus’ time. So much so that people wanted to see the messiah in every prophet, including John the Baptist who had to assure people that he was not the one but was merely making straight paths for Him (originally from Isaiah 40:3-14).
Jesus washed over the Judea countryside like a flood of Living Water to transform all those who were willing to listen. He was in contact with the Father and driven along by “God’s Breath”, the Holy Spirit or the spirit of God on earth. This coming flood effects and attracts all people, not just the people of Israel, “From the west, people will fear the name of the Lord , and from the rising of the sun, they will revere his glory.” and “The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins”.
So God will come to redeem all those who repent, I believe this offer extends beyond just those “in Jacob” based on previous passages where God seems to be making it clear that “He Will Sprinkle Many Nations” with His redeeming blood (Isaiah 52:5-15). I am blown away once again at the clarity of the Gospel shared here in Isaiah. God could not have been clearer about the New Song that He was sharing with the people of Israel.
Prayer: God thank You for extending your Arm to redeem all those who are willing to repent and believe.
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