Isaiah 59:2 “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.”
Have you ever been walking in the midst of a crowd and found yourself separated from those you were with? The experience can cause a great deal of stress, especially if your children get separated and you start wondering the worst.
It is stressful to be separated from those we love since there is a measure of security in remaining together. Children are particularly tied to their parents because of their vulnerability so the prospect of losing a child is terrifying. The smaller and weaker a person is, the more they need the strength of their guardian.
Now, imagine being separated from God for eternity. For many people, the prospect doesn’t incite the least bit of worry, they think they are strong enough to make it on their own, or they think they don’t need God to help them. For others, the ones who have come to know the Lord, the reality of God’s abiding presence coupled with a knowledge of their own weaknesses makes them hold on for dear life.
What is it that gives some people a greater trust for God while others feel they are fine on their own?
God’s Strength Realized
Isaiah 59:1 “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened,
That it cannot save;
Nor His ear heavy,
That it cannot hear..”
The strength of God’s abiding presence is realized by those who have learned to trust in Him. For those who recognize their weaknesses, the Lord becomes surety in the midst of a world that shows little grace.
A person cannot know or understand the value of God’s presence unless they experience it personally or through someone else. Apart from experiencing the grace of God as He reaches into a person’s life and touches them, grace can only be measured by a limited experience.
The faithless will cry out
Place someone into a position of danger and it is not uncommon for them to cry out to God, even if they’ve never expressed a desire to trust Him.
In 1978, Burt Reynolds starred in a movie called “The End”. His character in the movie was facing the prospect of drowning in the ocean and came up from the water to scream out, “I want to live!”. He begins to pray to God and starts to negotiate with God regarding his past conduct, saying he will be a better father, a better man, a better everything, and even promises to obey the 10 commandments. His hypocrisy is exposed as he uses foul language in the midst of his prayer and continues to change his negotiations the closer he gets to safety. Once he gets to shore he even goes so far to blame God for his problems.
The plot is a good portrayal of someone who seems sincere in their faith to God as long as they can’t provide for themself. Once the need has been fulfilled, the moment is soon forgotten and a life of negligence toward God is resumed.
Listen to Isaiah describe the condition of those who have gone their own way.
Isaiah 59:3 “For your hands are defiled with blood,
And your fingers with iniquity;
Your lips have spoken lies,
Your tongue has muttered perversity.”
The hands that shed blood are the hands of the guilty. The 6th commandment declares, “You shall not Kill”, and yet with the same heart people show hatred for others in the way they live, thus defiling God’s order to love one another.
Lying is a violation of God’s 9th commandment. Twisting the truth is to bear false witness against another and that same hatred is revealed.
Is it any wonder so many people are entrapped with fear and anxiety in this world?
For those who practice sin, the separation of living a life as an enemy of the Lord has left them destitute and alone.
Isaiah 59:4-5 “No one calls for justice,
Nor does any plead for truth.
They trust in empty words and speak lies;
They conceive evil and bring forth iniquity.
They hatch vipers’ eggs and weave the spider’s web;
He who eats of their eggs dies,
And from that which is crushed a viper breaks out.”
From the lips of the faithless comes forth corruption. Instead of truth, lies fill their mouths. Instead of seeking wisdom, they readily believe those who deceive them. Eventually, evil is formed in their own hearts and the product is death to all who enter into their vices.
People often wonder how others can become so evil in this world? The progression of evil doesn’t begin suddenly, it happens over time with many poor decisions that lead to greater acts of rebellion. Eventually the destitute think their lives are a revelation of truth when in actuality they have become sociologically unable to differentiate between reality and what is false.
What Can We Do?
If we allow ourselves to become accepting of sin, the habitual practice of defiling God’s commandments darkens our understanding. Eventually, the light becomes so obscured there is a loss of all hope.
Isaiah 59:9-10 “Therefore justice is far from us,
Nor does righteousness overtake us;
We look for light, but there is darkness!
For brightness, but we walk in blackness!
We grope for the wall like the blind,
And we grope as if we had no eyes;
We stumble at noonday as at twilight;
We are as dead men in desolate places.”
The only hope for the destitute is to cry out to God.
When the sinner recognizes his sin, when the only hope for salvation is found in the hands of the Savior, then light shines in the darkness.
Isaiah 59:15-16 “So truth fails,
And he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. Then the Lord saw it, and it displeased Him
That there was no justice.
He saw that there was no man,
And wondered that there was no intercessor;
Therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him;
And His own righteousness, it sustained Him.”
Jesus recognized man’s failure to save himself and so He provided the way to salvation. The Lord who formed mankind and spoke Creation into existence, came down to redeem mankind from the grave.
1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
We cannot save ourselves. We do not have the ability to find our way out. As the drowning man cried out to God, we must call out in sincerity and we will find our rescue.
True life awaits for the one who surrenders to God’s will. It may seem unpleasant to give up this world, but in the end you will find so much more.
If you have never given your life to Christ, you stand separated from Him. God’s love was expressed through the cross and this is the only way to truly find peace. Confession of sin is a good place to start. The more we recognize our depravity and own up to it, the greater we position ourselves to receive God’s grace. Some may say this is a form of works but you must know there is an expectation of all who would be saved.
James 4:10 “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.”
The expectation is surrender.
When we take our pride, selfishness, and blood stained hands to the cross, we are washed whiter than snow. Those separated are now unified with God. The Shepherd watches over His sheep and none of them are lost.
Thee hopeful expectation for all who desire Christ alone will be to dwell with Him forever. If you hear the Father’s call, don’t hesitate to respond–you may never get another opportunity.