We live in an age when people dream of a by-gone golden era or hope for one yet to come. “Oh! If our nation could just get back to the founding principles!” Some seem to think that if we just “Put God back in our school houses, in our courthouses, in our statehouses and in the White House and everything will get back to the way it should be.”
Many put their hope in a political party or their candidate only to have their hopes dashed when once again men fail to live up to their promises. We think we have reached a place in our human development where we do not need God.
Others run from one religious organization to another hoping that in the next one they will find what they are looking for. Those who profess to know God put their hope in men to get them out of the mess we are in, not in the living God.
Sin has separated us from God and that separation has resulted in man forgetting God. God is near enough to us that he can be known. He has manifested himself to man in many different ways through the ages but man has remained ignorant of him and his will for their lives. It is man’s unwillingness to see God – his unwillingness to listen to his voice that takes us deeper and deeper into the howling wilderness of sin.
Since the coming of sin into the world there has been the promise of God to bring a remedy for that sin. In the third chapter of Genesis when God curses the serpent he said…
“Because you have done this,
cursed are you above all livestock
and above all beasts of the field;
on your belly you shall go,
and dust you shall eat
all the days of your life.
I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:14-15).
By this and many, many more plain statements from both Old and New Testaments we know the time is coming when Satan will be overcome and all the ill effects of sin will finally be undone. Until this time, however, the disastrous results of sin continue to be manifested.
Away from God man’s wickedness only gets worse, but as was illustrated when he destroyed the earth by water, he will not always permit evil to continue. In Genesis 6:3 God said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever,” reduced man’s lifespan to 120 years and then brought the flood upon the earth. But this did not deter sin in the human race. People began doing evil, oppressing the poor and defenseless, being immoral and worshiping idols all over again.
Man has never for very long remained faithful to God. They have never been content with God’s way of living. Even those who were supposed to be God’s own people forsook him over and over. When they suffered the consequences of having forsaken him, God would deliver them from their oppressors but it wouldn’t be long before they were right back into the same evil again. Man simply cannot live right without God to help and guide him in the right way. But human beings keep insisting that we can get it right if we just have another chance and put the right people in office or in the pulpit.
That is the way it was in the days of Isaiah. God reminds them through the prophet that he was available to help them if they would just realize it and reach out to him. God was where he always had been. He had always been there. It was they who had moved.
“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” (Isaiah 59:1-2).
What was the problem with those people? Why did it seem to them that God was far away? Wasn’t he their God? Didn’t they continually worship him? Didn’t they offer him their sacrifices? God tells them why in the next verses …
“For your hands are defiled with blood,
And your fingers with iniquity;
Your lips have spoken lies,
Your tongue has muttered perversity.
“No one calls for justice,
Nor does any plead for truth.
They trust in empty words and speak lies;
They conceive evil and bring forth iniquity” (Isaiah 59:3-4).
Their defilement with innocent blood was either from offering their children in the fire to the idol Molech or from the murder of prophets whom God had sent to them. They had busied themselves with their own selfish pursuits. They were doers of evil deeds, liars, and blasphemous complainers.
They had been indifferent to the plight of the powerless who were exploited by various oppressors. They didn’t care enough about truth to stand up and defend it. They had fabricated a system of philosophy which was nothing but falsehood and they had put their trust in this, repeating it over and over like a mantra. With this as their justification they hatched up and executed evil plots against the innocent. The Pulpit Commentary says of this verse … “The whole basis of the dealings between man and man was unsound, corrupt, chaotic. Where truth and plain dealing are set aside, all shortly becomes ruin and confusion.”
The picture painted here by the prophet is indeed a sorry one, but one that has been repeated over and over throughout the history of man. But God is not oblivious to the situation. Isaiah goes on to say …
“Then the Lord saw it, and it displeased Him
That there was no justice” (v. 15b).
So what is to be done about this situation? Who can be found who will arise above their contemporaries, proclaim truth and seek justice? What man is there who will bring an answer to the plight of mankind in their miasma of misery?
“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.” (v. 16).
The only one who can solve the problems of mankind, whether in the day of the prophet or in our own day is God himself. God intervened in the nations of the earth to accomplish his will among men in days past. Having the power to do so indicates that he still may do so, although without divine revelation we cannot say with certainty that he has done so in modern times.
But one overwhelmingly convincing way in which God has entered into the world of men and has and is accomplishing his purpose is through the coming of the Messiah. When Jesus came the world was essentially no different than it was in Isaiah’s day. Men were doing their own thing for their own purposes, largely oblivious to God’s plans and purposes. They pretty much thought they had God figured out, knew where he was, what he was going to do and what they had to do to keep on his good side.
But God had other plans for his creation than for man to just keep his head down and hope for the best outcome. He entered it in the person of the conquering hero, armed for battle against sin and evil. He engaged Satan, overcame his temptations, defeated the power of death and took the throne to rule over it all until all his enemies are defeated. He is now ruling as King of kings and Lord of lords.
He has exalted those who through faith in him seek his righteousness. We are intended to sit with him in his kingdom, manifesting his glory, extending his influence through our lives to those who have grown tired of the deception of Satanic lies. Man cannot save himself. Government is not the source of a nation’s righteousness. Neither politics, science nor philosophy apart from God is the source of truth nor the source of salvation.
The answer is not more of the same thing we have been fed. The answer is not to be found in fresh faces in Washington nor in novel ideas as to how to govern nations. It is not in more and better laws. It is not even in an economy running at peak efficiency with zero unemployment.
The answer is for man to turn to God who alone knows how to deal with all the problems of humanity. How can we do this? His kingdom now exists. He is rightful ruler over men and nations. What is needed is for human beings, one by one, to yield to his rule, enter his kingdom, live by its principles, enjoy the blessings brought in a submissive, obedient relationship with him and enjoy the blessing – the healing of the nations – that comes from heaven alone.