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Isaiah 59:1-4 (NIV)
Sin, Confession and Redemption
59 Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. 2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. 3 For your hands are stained with blood, your fingers with guilt. Your lips have spoken falsely, and your tongue mutters wicked things. 4 No one calls for justice; no one pleads a case with integrity. They rely on empty arguments, they utter lies; they conceive trouble and give birth to evil.
Chapters 58 and 59 of Isaiah are very sobering descriptions of how the nation of Israel was experiencing God’s absence and judgment, even though they were having numerous prayers, sacrifices, and worship services. Scripture teaches quite plainly that when we willfully continue in grievous sins, God will stop listening and stop helping us. (This is actually an expression of God’s love — God is allowing us to experience the terrible consequences of our sin, so that we will wake up and turn back to God.) In chapter 59, God makes special mention of lying. Israel has “spoken falsely”, “muttered wicked things”, and relied on “empty arguments”. Isaiah was referring in particular to the lies of Israel’s political leaders. When her citizens quoted and spread the lies of their leaders, they were just as guilty, and experienced the consequences. The consequence is that God’s righteousness doesn’t help us, and we grope blindly, lacking in God’s guidance. Let this warning motivate us to not only speak truthfully ourselves, but to also make the effort to discover the lies of others — especially the people we agree with — and stop spreading them. Let us remember, we may fool ourselves and others, but we won’t fool God.