Isaiah 59

Many people are able to acknowledge that sin is real, but very few would describe it the way that God does in the Bible. We tend to think about the worst people or about our worst moment. Few embrace the doctrine of original sin, and many seem reluctant to take responsibility for our own particular transgressions. A true assessment of our moral condition is important for us to gain an accurate appreciation of the cross.
When the Lord speaks about His beloved people, He does not ignore the depth and ugliness of their rebellion. He uses imagery of spiders, snakes, and bloody hands. He tells us of feet that “run to evil” and thoughts that are stuck on “iniquity.” The consequence of our transgressions is that there is a horrible breach in our peace with God.
This may have dire consequence for our lives. We want to live in the light of life, but we are mired in darkness. At noon we should be able to walk safely, but we stumble as if the sun were not out. We should have physical strength, but we find ourselves shockingly weak, and we don’t know why. The problem may be our individual and societal transgressions.
What can be done about our deplorable condition? The Lord knows that the answer is not in us. We are too weak to fix ourselves, but God’s “arm” brings salvation. We do not have the weapons necessary for the spiritual battle ahead of us, but the Lord has His own provisions to meet the challenge. He has a breastplate and a helmet that are fit for the task ahead of Him. He has the garments necessary for the battle.
He will wage warfare against His and our enemies. Like a rushing stream He comes against the powerful foe. In Ephesians 6 we are told to put on the Lord’s armor. It is not by the weapons of this world that God’s kingdom will come in power, but by the spiritual warfare waged by our Redeemer.
The Messiah will come to His people, for all “those in Jacob who turn from transgression.” He will rescue weak people who will turn away from sin. Our deliverance comes through the life and death of Jesus. The Father and the Son have sent forth the Spirit to accomplish what no man can do. The resurrected Christ has won our redemption. The Holy Spirit who is sent forth from heaven applies that divine gift to people.
The facts of our sin are still ugly. Spiders and snakes still provide the right images. Bloody hands and swift feet running to evil tell the tale of our rebellion. But the Lord has redeemed His Zion through the Man of His choosing, and the Spirit has worked an amazing miracle in us. We have the down-payment of God’s heavenly gift at the present time. We eagerly await the fullness of the promise, amazed that sinners would be loved by God and redeemed at such a staggering cost.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers

Lord of Strength, You hear us and You save us. Turn us now from all our filthy iniquity. We turn away from all lies and deceit. We come to You for our strength, for we are very weak. We will no longer run to evil, but will cry out to You in the day of temptation. Make a road for us that leads to Light. Shine upon Your pilgrim children who are weak and needy. So much sin! How can we live? We confess and come for mercy. Pretty words will not save us. The Truth that is alive and dwells in men will be our only hope. Come, Lord Jesus, in the full armor of battle and help us. We are Your beloved children, for whom You gave Your blood. Come, Redeemer Lord. We turn from transgression this day. Do not depart from us and from our children and their offspring forever.