In Isaiah 59 the prophet moves beyond the hard hardheartedness and rebellion of God’s people. Though God’s displeasure is still evident, the message of judgment breaks a new direction and we see the acknowledgement and confession of sin, and ultimately a picture of redemption. Isaiah lifts up again who God is, and points the people of God back the covenant promised of God, and even to the work of the Spirit.
We may at times feel as though no one calls out for justice. We may feel like God has left us to grope around in the darkness of this world. Yet in the midst of this imagery Isaiah also summons up the imagery of God dressed up for battle, putting on armor similar to that the Apostle Paul would call us to wear, “the full armor of God” from which we may stand in security to whatever the darkness might bring. But as Isaiah 58 reminds us the darkness we see is not all there is:
“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday”
The truth is that without repentance, the light that breaks through the darkness will be a frightening thing, rather than a sight of rejoicing. But with repentance we find not only this fearsome picture of God, but the truth that we are joined to the covenant and have nothing to fear, that God will not depart from us. We find not a frightening flood, but the promises of God glistening almost as the rainbow, a promise that passes from our lips to those of our children, bringing justice and freedom and God’s presence from one generation to another.
- Read Isaiah 58-59
- Scripture and solitude
Take 10 to 20 minutes in solitude to remember ways justice shone in the darkness of your world, whether personally or events on the world stage. At many points, people in our lives have found deliverance and freedom from things like abuse, alcoholism or chemical dependency. These people often break a destructive cycle that could potentially echoe through numerous generations. As you ponder these times and loved ones, let you gratitude flow unhindered and thank God for those who break free of the darkness and experience the noonday presence of God and walk with Him in victory.