Therefore justice is far from us,
And righteousness does not overtake us;
We hope for light, but behold, darkness,
For brightness, but we walk in gloom….
Justice is turned back,
And righteousness stands far away;
For truth has stumbled in the street,
And uprightness cannot enter.
Yes, truth is lacking;
And he who turns aside from evil makes himself a prey.
Now the Lord saw,
And it was displeasing in His sight that there was no justice.
~Isaiah 59:9, 14-15
My friends, our world is rapidly spinning out of control. Indeed, justice is fleeting and surely the Lord is displeased. At times, it seems America, once a Christian nation, leads the pack in gross injustice:
- A clerk in the state of Kentucky is jailed for upholding her religious beliefs by choosing not to grant marriage licenses to gay couples. Where is the justice when it comes to religious freedom?
- Planned Parenthood officials casually discuss how to “crush” the right part of unborn babies, so as to preserve the body parts they wish to capitalize on by selling to the highest bidder. Where is the justice for those babies; and even for the mother who, in many cases is a scared young woman convinced that abortion is her only option?
- A police officer in the Houston area was shot and killed while putting gas in his car, simply because he wore a uniform. The shooter has pleaded “not guilty.” Where is the justice for that officer’s family?
- Just a few days ago in the Phoenix area, a mother intentionally drowned her two children and was attempting to drown a third when police arrived. Yesterday, another mother was found responsible for the drowning of one of her children. Where is the justice for those children?
- Our president has circumvented the US Constitution by calling an obvious treaty with Iran a “non-binding executive agreement.” (A treaty requires Congressional approval, a “non-binding executive agreement” does not.) On top of that, he also pulled an end-around the American people and Congress by obtaining UN Security Council approval before presenting it to Congress. Where is the justice for America and our allies?
Indeed, our God is a God of justice, and we, likewise, are to pursue justice and righteousness, as He commands.
I read Isaiah 59 recently and have not been able to get it out of my mind. To give you a sense of the context, consider the previous chapters:
- Isaiah 53 – Isaiah clearly prophesied of the coming Messiah, describing His appearance and the fact that He would bear our griefs, sorrows and sin. (Particularly verses 1-5)
- Isaiah 54 – The prophet followed up chapter 53 by talking about the fertility of Zion! The Messiah would not forsake the land of Israel or the people.
- Isaiah 55 – He invites all who are thirsty to come drink freely of the mercy of the Lord.
- Isaiah 56 – This is where it gets really good! The Lord God, through Isaiah the prophet, promises rewards for obedience to God! “Preserve justice and do righteousness, for My salvation is about to come,” says the Lord! (Verse 1)
- Isaiah 57 – The tone changes dramatically in chapter 57, as evil leaders are rebuked by the Lord. Apparently the offer of grace and mercy in chapters 53-56 are bypassed, and leaders became wicked. So much so that the final verse of that chapter says: “There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.”
- Isaiah 58 – Despite the wickedness, the Lord continues to offer His grace and mercy. “Then you will call, and the Lord will answer…remove the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness…” He would act, but they must turn to Him.
- Now, to Isaiah 59 – Isaiah warns that “…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.”
Oh, that we heed the message here, so that God’s face is not hidden from us as a nation. As believers, we know that God’s face is upon us always, because He promises to never leave nor forsake us. (Hebrews 13:15) However, as our nation collectively walks away from the One True God, I believe He could turn His face away from America as a nation. Has He done so yet? Because of the faithful prayers of the saints, I don’t think so. How long will He put up with it? We don’t know for sure, but it won’t be forever, and it is hard to believe that it will be much longer.
So, let’s learn some lessons from Isaiah:
- The coming of Messiah, as predicted in Isaiah 53 has occurred and Jesus, the Messiah, provided a way of salvation to all…Jews and Gentiles. Injustice has crept into a world in which we have failed to hail Him as King!
- Israel feels forsaken by the world, but Isaiah 54 tells us that the Messiah, whether recognized by His people or not, will not forsake them! Tremendous injustice will befall Israel in coming days, but the God of Israel will take up her cause! I want to stand on the correct side of that equation…how about you?
- Are we inviting others to come and drink freely of the mercy of the Lord? His mercy in abundance would overcome the injustice in this world!
- The message of Isaiah 56 is to preserve justice and righteousness. The clerk in Kentucky should be a testimony to us. She is preserving justice by standing firm in her God-given convictions. Will you pray for strength for that courageous woman…and are you willing to stand on your God-given convictions as well?
- “There is no peace for the wicked,” says the Lord. Isaiah 57 tells of the rebuke given to evil leaders. Indeed, we see evil gush from leaders every day. But what do we do about it? Do we simply complain and wish they would “get their act together,” or do we pray? If there is no peace for the wicked, there is no peace for the nation who follows their leadership. We must pray!
- God’s mercy and grace are immediately available when we call. As the prophet Daniel confessed sin on behalf of his people, we can do the same. Let’s call upon the Lord to move in our midst right here in our nation, our state, our city and our home.
Now, back to my hang-up on Isaiah 59! God is giving us a clear warning through the prophet. Verses 2-8 are fairly strong indication of the wickedness in our world, and verses 7-8 particularly strike me:
Their feet run to evil,
And they hasten to shed innocent blood;
Their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity,
Devastation and destruction are in their highways.
They do not know the way of peace,
And there is no justice in their tracks.
We ran to evil when, as a nation, we hopped in bed with a genocidal Iranian regime intent on destroying Israel. There is hastening to shed innocent blood all over the Middle East. But what about our own hometowns? How are the happenings in Syria different than a mother drowning her children, or Planned Parenthood selling off body parts of murdered babies? How are those not thoughts of iniquity? That police officer’s family is experiencing devastation and destruction due to a senseless act of hatred.
Is it any wonder that we in America no longer know the path of peace and justice?
A couple days ago, I invited you to Dare to be a Daniel! I challenged you to join me in making September a month of prayer. It is time to take action, my friends! Our world is in a mess and we have a God who hears, who cares, and who is able to do something about it! By the way, Isaiah 59 starts out with this verse:
Behold, the Lord’s hand is not so short
That it cannot save;
Nor is His ear so dull
That it cannot hear.
He hears! Will you pray? Click here, and be a part of what God is doing!