Isaiah 57

Isaiah 57  •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 8
Listen from:
Hence the opening words of Chapter 57. The time had come when God would remove from their midst the righteous and the merciful, and so it might appear as though these were under His judgment; whereas the fact was that it were better for them to be removed by death than to live to share the judgment that would fall. A striking example of this was seen somewhat later when God-fearing Josiah was taken away that his eyes might not see the disasters impending. It could then be said of him that “he shall enter into peace”.
The evil state of things that existed among the people is again exposed, beginning with verse 3. Even in Hezekiah’s day the state of things was thus. Reading the account of his reign in both Kings and Chronicles we might imagine that the mass of the nation followed their king in the feat of the Lord, but evidently they did not, and idolatrous evils still largely characterized the people. Down to the end of verse 14, these idolatrous practices and the moral filthiness that accompanied them are denounced, and it is plainly foretold that, even when disaster came upon them from without, no object of their veneration would be able to deliver them. Their works, and what they considered to be their “righteousness”, would be of no profit to them. The whole spirit that animated them was wrong.
The right spirit is indicated in verse 15. Jehovah presents Himself in a light calculated to produce that right spirit in those that approach Him. He is high and elevated in the depths of space, far above this little world, He inhabits eternity, not restricted by the times and seasons that confine us. His name is “Holy”. Are we sensible of this? If so, we shall at once be contrite as regards the past, and humble in the present. And it is the heart and spirit of the humble and contrite that God revives, so that they may dwell in His presence in the high and holy place.
These things were promised to those that feared the Lord in Israel in the past days, and they are more abundantly true for us today, who are not under the law but called into the grace of Christ. Self-satisfaction and pride are the last things that should characterize us. We may well rejoice that we know God as our Father; but let us never overlook the fact that our Father is God.
The succeeding verses go on to speak of God’s governmental dealings with the people. He had to deal in wrath with them because of their sin and rebellion, but He would not contend with them as a nation forever. The moment would come when He would heal and bless, and establish peace, both for those far off and for those near. The term “far off” may refer to the sons of Israel, who would be scattered, as distinguished from those who would be in the land. But what is said is true, if we understand it as referring to Gentiles, who were “far off”, in the sense of Ephesians 2:1313But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 2:13). But also in either case the peace has to be “created” by God, and is not something produced by men. Chapter 53 has told us how the peace is created.
The peace is only for those who are brought into right relations with God. It is not for the wicked who, far from Him, are as restless as the sea. The winds keep the sea in perpetual agitation. Satan, who is “the prince of power of the air”, keeps the wicked in a condition similar to the sea, and all their visible actions are like “mire and dirt.”
Hence there can be no peace for the wicked. This solemn statement closed the first section of nine chapters. There seems however to be a deeper emphasis in its repetition, since we have now had before us the judgment of sin in the death of the Messiah, the sinless Substitute, in chapter 53.