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The Evil That People Do

59 Surely the Lord’s power is enough to save you.
    He can hear you when you ask him for help.
It is your evil that has separated
    you from your God.
Your sins cause him to turn away from you.
    And then he does not hear you.
With your hands you have killed others.
    Your fingers are covered with blood from killing people.
With your lips you have lied.
    With your tongue you say evil things.
People take each other to court unfairly.
    No one tells the truth in arguing his case.
They accuse each other falsely and tell lies.
    They cause trouble and create more evil.
They hatch evil like eggs from poisonous snakes.
    If you eat one of those eggs, you will die.
    And if you break one open, a poisonous snake comes out.
People tell lies as they would spin a spider’s web.
    The webs they make cannot be used for clothes.
    You can’t cover yourself with those webs.
The things they do are evil.
    They use their hands to hurt others.
They eagerly run to do evil.
    They are always ready to kill innocent people.
They think evil thoughts.
    Everywhere they go they cause ruin and destruction.
They don’t know how to live in peace.
    There is no fairness in their lives.
They are dishonest.
    Anyone who lives as they live will never have peace.

Israel’s Sin Brings Trouble

Fairness has gone far away.
    Goodness is nowhere to be found.
We wait for the light, but there is only darkness now.
    We hope for a bright light, but all we have is darkness.
10 We are like blind people feeling our way along a wall.
    We have to feel our way as if we had no eyes.
In the brightness of day we trip as if it were night.
    We are like dead men among the strong.
11 All of us growl like the bears.
    We call out sadly like the doves.
We look for justice, but there isn’t any.
    We want to be saved, but salvation is far away.

12 We have done many wrong things against our God.
    Our sins show we are wrong.
We know we have turned against God.
    We know the evil things we have done.
13 We have sinned and turned against the Lord.
    We have turned away from our God.
We have planned to hurt others and to disobey God.
    We have planned and spoken lies.
14 We have driven away justice.
    We have kept away from what is right.
Truth is not spoken in the streets.
    What is honest is not allowed to enter the city.
15 Truth cannot be found anywhere.
    And people who refuse to do evil are attacked.

The Lord looked and could not find any justice.
    And he was displeased.
16 He could not find anyone to help the people.
    He was surprised that there was no one to help.
So the Lord used his own power to save the people.
    His own goodness gave him strength.
17 The Lord covered himself with goodness like armor.
    He put on the helmet of salvation.
He put on the clothes of punishment.
    And he put on the coat of his strong love.
18 The Lord will pay back his enemies for what they have done.
    He will show his anger to those who were against him.
He will punish the people in faraway places.
    He will give them the punishment they should have.
19 Then people from the west will fear the Lord.
    People in the east will fear his glory.
The Lord will come quickly like a fast-flowing river,
    driven by the breath of the Lord.

20 “Then a close relative who will save you will come to Jerusalem.
    He will come to the people of Jacob who sinned but turned back to God,”
    says the Lord.

21 The Lord says, “I will make an agreement with these people. I promise that my Spirit and my words that I give you will never leave you. They will be with your children and your grandchildren. They will be with you now and forever.”

Sin, Confession and Redemption

59 Surely the arm(A) of the Lord is not too short(B) to save,
    nor his ear too dull to hear.(C)
But your iniquities have separated(D)
    you from your God;
your sins have hidden his face from you,
    so that he will not hear.(E)
For your hands are stained with blood,(F)
    your fingers with guilt.(G)
Your lips have spoken falsely,(H)
    and your tongue mutters wicked things.
No one calls for justice;(I)
    no one pleads a case with integrity.
They rely(J) on empty arguments, they utter lies;(K)
    they conceive trouble and give birth to evil.(L)
They hatch the eggs of vipers(M)
    and spin a spider’s web.(N)
Whoever eats their eggs will die,
    and when one is broken, an adder is hatched.
Their cobwebs are useless for clothing;
    they cannot cover themselves with what they make.(O)
Their deeds are evil deeds,
    and acts of violence(P) are in their hands.
Their feet rush into sin;
    they are swift to shed innocent blood.(Q)
They pursue evil schemes;(R)
    acts of violence mark their ways.(S)
The way of peace they do not know;(T)
    there is no justice in their paths.
They have turned them into crooked roads;(U)
    no one who walks along them will know peace.(V)

So justice is far from us,
    and righteousness does not reach us.
We look for light, but all is darkness;(W)
    for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows.
10 Like the blind(X) we grope along the wall,
    feeling our way like people without eyes.
At midday we stumble(Y) as if it were twilight;
    among the strong, we are like the dead.(Z)
11 We all growl like bears;
    we moan mournfully like doves.(AA)
We look for justice, but find none;
    for deliverance, but it is far away.

12 For our offenses(AB) are many in your sight,
    and our sins testify(AC) against us.
Our offenses are ever with us,
    and we acknowledge our iniquities:(AD)
13 rebellion(AE) and treachery against the Lord,
    turning our backs(AF) on our God,
inciting revolt and oppression,(AG)
    uttering lies(AH) our hearts have conceived.
14 So justice(AI) is driven back,
    and righteousness(AJ) stands at a distance;
truth(AK) has stumbled in the streets,
    honesty cannot enter.
15 Truth(AL) is nowhere to be found,
    and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey.

The Lord looked and was displeased
    that there was no justice.(AM)
16 He saw that there was no one,(AN)
    he was appalled that there was no one to intervene;(AO)
so his own arm achieved salvation(AP) for him,
    and his own righteousness(AQ) sustained him.
17 He put on righteousness as his breastplate,(AR)
    and the helmet(AS) of salvation on his head;
he put on the garments(AT) of vengeance(AU)
    and wrapped himself in zeal(AV) as in a cloak.
18 According to what they have done,
    so will he repay(AW)
wrath to his enemies
    and retribution to his foes;
    he will repay the islands(AX) their due.
19 From the west,(AY) people will fear the name of the Lord,
    and from the rising of the sun,(AZ) they will revere his glory.(BA)
For he will come like a pent-up flood
    that the breath(BB) of the Lord drives along.[a]

20 “The Redeemer(BC) will come to Zion,(BD)
    to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,”(BE)
declares the Lord.

21 “As for me, this is my covenant(BF) with them,” says the Lord. “My Spirit,(BG) who is on you, will not depart from you,(BH) and my words that I have put in your mouth(BI) will always be on your lips, on the lips of your children and on the lips of their descendants—from this time on and forever,” says the Lord.

Footnotes

  1. Isaiah 59:19 Or When enemies come in like a flood, / the Spirit of the Lord will put them to flight

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