Justice, Judgment & Mercy – Part 3
A Study of Isaiah 59-61
“And justice is turned back, and righteousness stands far away; for truth has stumbled in the street, and uprightness cannot enter. 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. For He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on His head; He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak. According to their deeds, accordingly He will repay, fury to His adversaries, recompense to His enemies; the coastlands He will fully repay. So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun; when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him. ‘The Redeemer will come to Zion, and to those who turn from transgression in Jacob,’ says the Lord.” Isaiah 59:14-20
As with all sin and corruption, the progression of Israel’s decent into iniquity was gradual at first, but became more and more accelerated over time until truth was completely abandoned. Like a building that slowly decays then suddenly collapses.
“Truth has stumbled (fallen) in the street” is a reference to the public forums where once reason and matters of the Law were considered and adjudicated, but now they have given way to lies, deceptions, fraud, anger, irrational behavior, vitriol, chaos, vileness, confusion, moral bankruptcy, corruption, reprobate behavior with no purpose other than to quench any expression of ideas or thoughts that would challenge them.
Truth has fallen in the streets when people, charged with the public trust fail to uphold the highest standards of moral, ethical and truthful dissemination of the news, or when those charged to carry out the laws of the land, upholding the Constitution, being guided by an inner witness of God’s righteous judgment against all sin fall prey to avarice, greed and the lust for power and the acclamation of their peers of likeminded deceit and destruction.
But even in the midst of this world of iniquity there are those who seek righteousness and truth and in doing so make themselves a prey to be devoured by the liars and thieves.
God saw the state to which men had fallen and the measure of the evil they trafficked in and it displeased Him that there was no man to stand in the gap. No man to stand for the people and plead for mercy for them. They were His chosen covenant people but they had turned away from the words of the covenant and the blessings God had brought them for generations when they kept the Law.
So God, because of His great mercy and love, by “His own arm brought salvation for Him” and “His own righteousness sustained Him.” So He put on the armor of righteousness, as a breastplate, and salvation as a helmet. He put on vengeance and was clothed in zeal. Then, as the Mighty Warrior dressed for battle, He declared His intent to remove evil far from His people and to punish those who had brought them so low. Every nation that participated in their down fall would themselves face the vengeance of God.
Then all nations will see and know that He alone is God, and they will have fearful, reverent respect for His Holy and all-powerful name. From one end of the earth to the other the name the Lord shall be feared, revered and worshipped.
“…when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.”
Even when the enemy comes in such a way as to overwhelm like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will intervene and raise up a retaining wall that their flood cannot breach.