THE GOSPEL IN ISAIAH
Blake Allen, Student and Outreach Minister, LHBC
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.
Have you ever seen the cartoons or commercials depicting a helpless animal stuck in a tree? Usually it’s a cat that has climbed up a tree. Though it climbed up there, for some reason it cannot get down on its own. Then, a firetruck pulls up to save the day. The fireman gets out the ladder, grabs the cat, and returns the pet to its owner.
I’ll be honest, I have no sympathy for the cat in these commercials. Number one, I am a dog person. I’m not the biggest fan of cats, especially after being clawed by them as a child. My relationships with cats have been strayed ever since (pun intended). Number two, the cat is the one who climbed the tree in the first place. It’s the cat’s own fault that it put itself in a situation where it is helpless and in need of rescue. Though I don’t have any sympathy, in some sense, we all can empathize. We were all like that helpless cat in a spiritual sense.
When reading Isaiah 59, I am reminded of this simple truth: Because of our own sin, we have been left in a helpless state. We have strayed from God, found ourselves in a dangerous situation, and are in need of rescue. Isaiah 59 is really a picture of the Gospel.
After multiple warnings and calls to repentance, Israel experienced the judgment of God. They have been conquered by their enemies. The hand of God left them to their own demise. And now, after Israel experiences suffering as a result, they are wondering why God has not answered their prayers. God’s response to this is telling. He says it’s not because He is too weak to save them or has impaired hearing. He states their sin has created a separation between them and God. They have refused to repent and turn from their sin. Now, they are experiencing the fulfillment of God’s promises of judgment. There is nothing they can do themselves to fix the problem.
We don’t get to heaven through works of righteousness, but righteousness is required to enter into heaven (Matt 5:20). This is why we are helpless by our own power. We can’t fulfill the demands of righteousness. Enmity exists and God will not act on His people’s behalf in their current condition. We too have been separate from God because of our sin.
God is holy and separate from all evil. Sin has stained us and we cannot dwell in the presence of God in our sinful state. We are helpless and in need of rescue. Israel then tries to cover their sinfulness. Just like Adam and Eve tried to cover themselves from each other and God, Israel tried to hide their sinfulness. We too try to hide our sin from the church, the world, and God himself. We think no one will notice and yet nothing is hidden from the eyes of God.
But here is the beautiful part of that which sounds weird to say. Even though God knew how sinful we were and would be, he still showed up like the firemen ready to rescue us in our helpless state. He would not leave us or forsake us. For His glory and our salvation, God the Father sent His one and only son so that whoever would believe in Him would not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).
The promise of rescue was given to Israel by His hand alone. He offers the same mercy to you and I today. But we must first recognize our own sinfulness, our helpless state, and need for Him. Have you accepted His offer of mercy and rescue? Are their certain sins you are entangled with and don’t know how to break? Are you trying to cover up what cannot be Hidden from a sovereign God? We all need freedom. We all need rescue. We all need Jesus. Make Romans 10:9-10 your prayer today and experience the freedom we have in Christ.
PRAYER FOR TODAY: Romans 10:9-10
Heavenly Father, your word tells me that if I confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in my heart that God raised him from the dead, I will be saved. For with my heart I believe and are justified by you. With my mouth I confess Jesus as Lord and are saved by you alone. Thank you for rescuing me today. In Jesus name, amen!
If this is the first time you prayed a prayer like this, text the name Jesus to 931-358-9870 and let us welcome you to the faith family!
MEMORY VERSE OF THE WEEK:
As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
so the Lord surrounds his people,
from this time forth and forevermore.