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The Lord Sets His People Free

59 People of Israel, the Lord’s arm is not too weak to save you.
    His ears aren’t too deaf to hear your cry for help.
But your sins have separated you from your God.
    They have caused him to turn his face away from you.
    So he won’t listen to you.
Your hands and fingers are stained with blood.
    You are guilty of committing murder.
Your mouth has told lies.
    Your tongue says evil things.
People aren’t fair when they present cases in court.
    They aren’t honest when they state their case.
They depend on weak arguments. They tell lies.
    They plan to make trouble.
    Then they carry it out.
The plans they make are like the eggs of poisonous snakes.
    Anyone who eats those eggs will die.
    When one of them is broken, a snake comes out.
Those people weave their evil plans together like a spider’s web.
    But the webs they make can’t be used as clothes.
    They can’t cover themselves with what they make.
Their acts are evil.
    They do things to harm others.
They are always in a hurry to sin.
    They run quickly to murder those who aren’t guilty.
They love to think up evil plans.
    They leave a trail of harmful actions.
They don’t know how to live at peace with others.
    What they do isn’t fair.
They lead twisted lives.
    No one who lives like that will enjoy peace and rest.

We aren’t being treated fairly.
    We haven’t been set free yet.
The God who always does what is right
    hasn’t come to help us.
We look for light, but we see nothing but darkness.
    We look for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows.
10 Like blind people we feel our way along the wall.
    We are like those who can’t see.
At noon we trip and fall as if the sun had already set.
    Compared to those who are healthy, we are like dead people.
11 All of us growl like hungry bears.
    We sound like doves as we mourn.
We want the Lord to do what is fair and save us.
    But he doesn’t do it.
We long for him to set us free.
    But the time for that seems far away.

12 That’s because we’ve done so many things he considers wrong.
    Our sins prove that we are guilty.
The wrong things we’ve done are always troubling us.
    We admit that we have sinned.
13 We’ve refused to obey the Lord.
    We’ve made evil plans against him.
    We’ve turned our backs on our God.
We’ve stirred up conflict and refused to follow him.
    We’ve told lies that came from our own minds.
14 So people stop others from doing what is fair.
    They keep them from doing what is right.
No one tells the truth in court anymore.
    No one is honest there.
15 In fact, truth can’t be found anywhere.
    Those who refuse to do evil are attacked.

The Lord sees that people aren’t treating others fairly.
    That makes him unhappy.
16 He sees that there is no one who helps his people.
    He is shocked that no one stands up for them.
So he will use his own powerful arm to save them.
    He has the strength to do it because he is holy.
17 He will put the armor of holiness on his chest.
    He’ll put the helmet of salvation on his head.
He’ll pay people back for the wrong things they do.
    He’ll wrap himself in anger as if it were a coat.
18 He will pay his enemies back for what they have done.
    He’ll pour his anger out on them.
He’ll punish those who attack him.
    He’ll give the people in the islands what they have coming to them.
19 People in the west will show respect for the Lord’s name.
    People in the east will worship him because of his glory.
The Lord will come like a rushing river that was held back.
    His breath will drive it along.

20 “I set my people free. I will come to Mount Zion.
    I will come to those in Jacob’s family who turn away from their sins,”
    announces the Lord.

21 “Here is the covenant I will make with them,” says the Lord. “My Spirit is on you and will not leave you. I have put my words in your mouth. They will never leave your mouth. And they will never leave the mouths of your children or their children after them. That will be true for all time to come,” says the Lord.

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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