Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:
I. The case of the Jews, to whom these words were first addressed, does not shake our confidence in God's willingness or power to save. They have been oppressed, persecuted, trodden under foot; and, like the grass which grows thickest when trodden on, they have thriven under oppression—bearing a charmed life—the true sons of their fathers in the land of Egypt; of whom it was said, the more they were afflicted, the more they grew. Living, multiplying, flourishing, amid circumstances that by all the common laws of existence should have been fatal to their existence, they illustrate my text—proving the unchanging and unchangeable power of God as plainly as Daniel safe among hungry lions, or the bush that burned and, burning, was not consumed.
II. Consider the truths expressed in these words. (1) God's power to save is neither lost nor lessened. (2) The Lord's power to hear and answer prayer is neither lost nor lessened; His ear is not heavy, that it cannot hear.
III. This truth is full of comfort and encouragement (1) to God's people; (2) to sinners.
T. Guthrie, Speaking to the Heart, p. 38.
References: Isaiah 59:1, Isaiah 59:2.—Bishop Walsham How, Plain Words, 2nd series, p. 57. Isaiah 59:2.—J. E. Vaux, Sermon Notes, 4th series, p. 6; G. Brooks, Outlines of Sermons, p. 66. Isaiah 59:5.—Spurgeon, Morning by Morning, p. 221. Isaiah 59:9.—Ibid., Sermons, vol. xv., No. 884. Isaiah 59:15, Isaiah 59:16.—R. Tuck, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxi., p. 344. Isaiah 59:17.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xiv., No. 832. Isaiah 59:19.—Ibid., vol. xii., No. 718.
But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness.
None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity.
They hatch cockatrice' eggs, and weave the spider's web: he that eateth of their eggs dieth, and that which is crushed breaketh out into a viper.
Their webs shall not become garments, neither shall they cover themselves with their works: their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands.
Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths.
The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace.
Therefore is judgment far from us, neither doth justice overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness.
We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes: we stumble at noonday as in the night; we are in desolate places as dead men.
We roar all like bears, and mourn sore like doves: we look for judgment, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far off from us.
For our transgressions are multiplied before thee, and our sins testify against us: for our transgressions are with us; and as for our iniquities, we know them;
In transgressing and lying against the LORD, and departing away from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood.
And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.
Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment.
And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him.
For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke.
According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay, fury to his adversaries, recompence to his enemies; to the islands he will repay recompence.
So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.
And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD.
As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever.