Confession of Israel

President Calvin Coolidge returned home one Sunday afternoon from attending morning worship services. His wife, who was unable to attend, asked him what the preacher’s lesson was about that morning. He replied: “Sin.” His wife then proceeded to inquire more about … More


This chapter answers the question many are asking today, “Why is the world in such a mess? God’s answer to this question is given in the opening words of chapter 59. The problem is not with God, but with man (vv. 1-3). This passage describes the wickedness of Israel (particularly since this chapter is addressed to the nation), and beyond that, to the whole world. The Apostle Paul quotes Romans 3 to show that this applies to the whole race of men (Rom 3:7-8). This is an excellent description of what theologians call “the depravity of man.” God says there is something wrong with us. It is foolish for any of us to deny it.

The problem is not so much the presence of human sin, for God has an answer for that, but the problem that separates man from God is an unwillingness to admit to that evil (vv. 4-8). That is what keeps God from acting on our behalf. Man is reluctant to admit that he is contributing to the problems he faces. People seem to be blind to the fact that selfish ways and self-centered actions and attitudes are directly connected with the terrible evils that flood our land and fill our newspapers today. It is very difficult to get them to accept the fact that God’s wrath comes upon mankind because of our wrong attitudes and actions. This is why so much drug abuse, child abuse, wife beating, incest, homosexuality, pornography, and other terrible things are happening. We are unwilling to admit our evil and this is oftentimes true of Christians as well as the world. However, there is a dramatic change. A group comes forth who do admit their part in the problem (vv. 9-15). They are the remnant of Israel, the tiny believing band of Jews who acknowledge they have done wrong. They give a full acknowledgment that the problem is with you and me and not God!


I want to be quick to admit that it is my sin that separates me from God, tell Him that I am sorry and ask Him to forgive me.

Isaiah 59:1-15 (English Standard Version)

Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; but 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. For your hands are defiled with blood and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies; your tongue mutters wickedness. No 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. They 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. Their 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. Their 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. The 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. Therefore 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. We 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. We 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. For our transgressions are multiplied before you, and our sins testify against us; for our transgressions are with us, and we know our iniquities: transgressing, and denying the LORD, and turning back from following our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart lying words. Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands far away; for truth has stumbled in the public squares, and uprightness cannot enter. Truth 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.

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