Isaiah 59

Today’s reading…

Isaiah 59:1–21 (ESV)

1Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear;

2but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.

3For your hands are defiled with blood and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies; your tongue mutters wickedness.

4No one enters suit justly; no one goes to law honestly; they rely on empty pleas, they speak lies, they conceive mischief and give birth to iniquity.

5They hatch adders’ eggs; they weave the spider’s web; he who eats their eggs dies, and from one that is crushed a viper is hatched.

6Their webs will not serve as clothing; men will not cover themselves with what they make. Their works are works of iniquity, and deeds of violence are in their hands.

7Their feet run to evil, and they are swift to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; desolation and destruction are in their highways.

8The way of peace they do not know, and there is no justice in their paths; they have made their roads crooked; no one who treads on them knows peace.

9Therefore justice is far from us, and righteousness does not overtake us; we hope for light, and behold, darkness, and for brightness, but we walk in gloom.

10We grope for the wall like the blind; we grope like those who have no eyes; we stumble at noon as in the twilight, among those in full vigor we are like dead men.

11We all growl like bears; we moan and moan like doves; we hope for justice, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far from us.

12For our transgressions are multiplied before you, and our sins testify against us; for our transgressions are with us, and we know our iniquities:

13transgressing, and denying the Lord, and turning back from following our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart lying words.

14Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands far away; for truth has stumbled in the public squares, and uprightness cannot enter.

15Truth is lacking, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. The Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice.

16He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intercede; then his own arm brought him salvation, and his righteousness upheld him.

17He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head; he put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and wrapped himself in zeal as a cloak.

18According to their deeds, so will he repay, wrath to his adversaries, repayment to his enemies; to the coastlands he will render repayment.

19So they shall fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun; for he will come like a rushing stream, which the wind of the Lord drives.

20“And a Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who turn from transgression,” declares the Lord.

21“And as for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the Lord: “My Spirit that is upon you, and my words that I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, or out of the mouth of your offspring, or out of the mouth of your children’s offspring,” says the Lord, “from this time forth and forevermore.”


The images in this chapter teach important spiritual truths.

Hands (1–3)God’s hand is unable to work when our hands are defiled with sin. Our prayers accomplish nothing (Ps. 66:18), and His power is absent from our lives and ministries.

Poison (4–5). A lie is not just a sound in the air or a sentence on paper. It has a life of its own and gives birth to all kinds of trouble. Try to live on lies, and they will poison you. When lies finally “hatch,” they will bite you and may kill you (James 1:13–16).

Spiders’ webs (6–8). Trying to hide behind lies and hypocritical religious works is like clothing yourself with a spider’s web. The sins described here were committed by religious people. No wonder God withheld His blessings! Is He doing that today?

Traffic jam (9–15). It is dark. The pedestrians on the streets are blind and are acting like beasts. Truth has fallen in the street and progress has ceased. The “traffic officers” (justice and righteousness) are standing far off because the people will not let them exercise authority.

Manhunt (16–21). God searched for one person to intercede for His people, but He found none, so He did the work Himself. Are you an intercessor? Are you concerned about the “traffic jam” that hinders God’s work and robs God of glory?  

–With the Word

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