Separation from God
The Jewish people had the same question that we sometimes have, why does God not rescue us from our trials? Perhaps they thought that the hand of the Lord had become shortened and His strength was not as it was. The Prophet Isaiah is now assuring them that this was not the case. In the theology that God is love discussions arise that a God of love and power could prevent human suffering. It is our thought that if we loved someone and had the power we would not let them suffer. Isaiah addresses this question for those who wondered if God wasn’t all-powerful and that is why they were suffering. God is loving and God is all powerful. Others may say that God has the power but lacks the knowledge of our problems. But Isaiah assures the people that this is not the problem either.
The problem is not with God but with the people. The problem is not a lack of love, power, knowledge, interest, and the problem is the sin that is in there and our lives. Sin comes between people and their Creator, God. Sin separates us from God. Sin does not separate God from us. (Psalm 139:7) Even Satan can have an audience with God. (Job 1:6) Sin does not separate us from the love of God because God loves even the sinner. (Romans 5:8) But sin does separate us from God in four ways.
Sin separates the fellowship that we can have with God. We no longer think as God thinks. God hates sin, as it is disobedience to His Word. Sin separates us from the blessings of God. If we are acting in a sinful way then we are not trusting God and relying on Him. Sin does separate us from some of the benefits of God’s love. The Prodigal Son was still loved by the father but he had abandoned the benefits of his father’s love. (Luke 15:11-32) And sin separates us from the protection of God. If we are in sin God will allow trials to come into our life to correct us.
It is easy and someone quick to blame God for the trials of life. It is much easier to find fault with something else other than the sin in our life. Too many times we will deny God when the problem is with us and our sinful ways.
The people were no longer feeling the face of the Lord shining on them. (Numbers 6:25) This may be an insight as to why Jesus on the cross cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46) Jesus was in the place of guilty sinners, yet He had never sinned and had never been separated from the Father before. Now the sins of the world had come between Him and the Father. It was mine and your sin, not Jesus’ that caused this feeling of separation for Jesus, not His own.
The Jewish people practiced and approved the acts of violence and murder. Their words were filled with lies and did so regularly. They did not seek justice which is in the heart of God. They did not seek that which was fair and good for everyone and only sought what was good for them. “Isaiah is not describing but diagnosing. They may think they are acting sensibly but actually, it is all nonsense.” (Motyer) In their hearts, they thought of only evil, which brought forth even more death. “By their plots, they weave nets, lay snares industriously, with great pains and artifice, whereby they may entangle and involve their poor neighbors in intricacies and perplexities, and so devour them, as the spider weaves her web to catch flies, and then to feed on them.” (Clarke) But the webs that they have made will never cover them from God.
Their choice has been made plain and their crooked paths will lead them to destruction. The path they have chosen will never lead them into the ways of peace. The Apostle Paul gives this description. “Their feet are swift to shed blood, Destruction and misery are in their paths, And the path of peace they have not known.” (Romans 3:15-17) In spite of all this sin, the people believed that the problem was with God and not their sinful ways.
A Confession of Wickedness
As the people had no interest in justice God did not bless them with justice. They did not care about righteousness and God did not bless them with that either. This is the principle that Jesus brought out in Matthew. “For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.” (Matthew 13:12) The people had given themselves over to darkness and now in their blindness, they want light. When we live in the light the darkness seems mysterious and even adventurous. But when the light is taken away the darkness becomes filled with despair.
Now the people of God are in a better place now that they see it is their sinful ways that have separated them from God. They no longer blame God for a shorthand or heavy ear. They now know that it was their iniquity that robbed them and caused righteousness to stand afar off.
In verses 12-15 the people are crying out to God because of their desperate condition. But the all-knowing Lord new of their situation. Their situation was not only bad but there was no one to lead the people unto righteousness. Where God marveled was the intercessor who would plead the case for the people? The people had no one to express their repentance, there was not one that could be found.
God had been longsuffering and had waited for His people to return to Him. The Lord had been longsuffering and had waited for one to be an intercessor and plead before Him. But no one arose and the Lord did it Himself. If there had been an intercessor who would have stepped forth it would have saved Israel a lot of their calamity. But none came and the Lord worked His plan Himself. God wants to work in partnership with a man but if none comes forward then His plan will.
The Lord put on His righteousness as a breastplate and His helmet of salvation and with His armor, He went to destroy the enemies of His people and glorify His name. It is the armor that the Apostle Paul calls us to put on, the whole armor of God. (Ephesians 5:10-17) It is God’s armor that He uses here in this verses and it is the armor that Paul speaks of, and it is the armor that we can use when we fight for God. If we do not put on the armor of God and fight for Him, then He will put on His armor and fight for His glory. It is God’s preference to work in and through man using His armor.
Then the people from the west will fear the name of the Lord and see His glory from the rising of the sun. It is God’s victory but He wants us to share in the victory. Both ways God will gain the victory and the people will fear His name from the east to the west. The enemies of the Lord will never have a victory against Him. Even if they are as a flood and seem unstoppable the Lord will lift up His banner against them. God gives His people the privilege of being more than conquers, “But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37) God will win with or without us.
In this verse, we see the word redeemer which in Hebrew is “goel.” This word translates to ‘Kinsmen Redeemer.” The kinsmen redeemer was responsible to buy a fellow Israelite out of slavery. (Leviticus 25:48) He was the avenger of blood and was to ensure that the murderer of a family member was avenged. (Numbers 35:19) He was to buy back family land that had been forfeited. (Leviticus 25:25) He was to carry on the family name by marrying a childless widow. (Deuteronomy 25:5-10) The kinsmen redeemer was responsible to safeguard the persons, property, and prosperity of the family.
Jesus is the Christians Kinsmen Redeemer and is our near relative because He added humanity to His deity. It is Jesus who brought us out of slavery, He avenges wrongs that are done to us, He is the protector of our inheritance, and He blesses and guards our posterity. The Redeemer comes to those who repent of their transgressions against God’s Word. The work of the Redeemer works only for those who ask and know that they need Him. The promise of God that His word will endure for evermore is accomplished by His people through all creation both in Spirit and Word.