May 4, 2019 by directorfsm
If I had to pick a parallel New Testament verse that helps (me) get the message of Isaiah 59:1-2 it has to be Romans 8:38-39. I know some of you are scratching your heads thinking what is he thinking but hear me out. Like most folks I read Romans and am greatly reassured. Nothing on this earth can separate me from the Love of God. That is a pretty powerful stuff.
Of course I have never been one to leave things alone, so I digging a little deeper I loo at these verses and confirm that no “outside’ force is “able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” But what about something on the inside? Shift gears with me and taking in the whole counsel of God let’s look at the nation of Israel and Isaiah 59:1-2 in some context. Starting back in chapter 57 Isaiah has been exhorting those in Judah to repent. In chapter 58 he calls out their hypocrisy and in here in the first verses of 59 we see this conclusion of sorts:
- You think God does not hear you
- You think its because He is not capable enough
- You think He has forsaken you
- You believe He is not capable of rescuing you from you woes
- You are sorely wrong
- It is your Sin that separates you from God
Number 6 is like a dagger to the heart, I mean there is no mistaking the message here. God is great more than capable of all things, it is Israel (read us) who is screwed up. Of course God provided Israel a way out (and us too) Christ and 1 John 1:9. I think John Calvin’s Commentary is an excellent resource on this subject:
v1. Behold, the hand of Jehovah is not shortened. This discourse closely resembles the preceding one; for, after having torn off the mask from hypocrites, who vainly boasted of themselves, and after having shown that the punishment inflicted on them was just, he now replies to other objections. Hypocrites are wont to accuse God either of weakness or of excessive severity. He shows, therefore, that he does not want either power or will to save his people, but that he is prevented by their wickedness from exercising his kindness towards them; and therefore that they do wrong in blaming God, and in uttering those slanders against him, when they ought, on the contrary, to accuse themselves.
The word hn (hen) “behold,” is emphatic, as if the Prophet spoke of something actually present, and pointed it out with the finger, for the sake of expressing certainty, in order to cut off a handle from hypocrites, that they might no longer practice evasion. We must also supply the contrasts to the words “shortened” and “benumbed;” as if he had said, that formerly there were abundant resources in the hand of God to render assistance to his people, and that he always was ready to be reconciled and lent a willing car to prayers, and that now he is not unlike himself,  as if either his hand were broken or his ears grown dull, so that he did not hear distinctly.
v2. But your iniquities have made a separation. The amount of what is said is, that they cannot say that God has changed, as if he had swerved from his natural disposition, but that the whole blame lies with themselves; because by their own sins they, in some measure, prevent his kindness, and refuse to receive his assistance. Hence we infer that our sins alone deprive us of the grace of God, and cause separation between us and him; for what the Prophet testifies as to the men of his time is applicable to all ages; since he pleads the cause of God, against the slanders of wicked men. Thus God is always like himself, and is not wearied in doing good; and his power is not diminished, but we hinder the entrance of his grace.
It will be objected, that men cannot anticipate God by deserving well of him, and that consequently he must do good to those who are unworthy. I reply, this is undoubtedly true; but sometimes the frowardness of men grows to such an extent as to shut the door against God’s benefits, as if they purposely intended to drive him far away from them. And although he listens to no man without pardoning him, as we always bring before him supplication for the removal of guilt, yet he does not listen to the prayers of the wicked. We need not wonder, therefore, if the Prophet accuse the people of rejecting God’s benefits by their iniquities, and rendering him irreconcilable by their obstinacy, and, in a word, of making a divorce, which drives away or turns aside the ordinary course of grace.
 “Il n’a point change de nature.” “He has not changed his nature.”