No Defense

Alec Motyer

READ : Isaiah 59:1-15

. . . transgressing . . . denying the Lord . . . turning back from . . . our God. (v. 13)

In chapter 58 Isaiah tested our obedience with reference to keeping the Lord’s Day. We
are God’s people, called to live for his pleasure by doing what delights him. Chapter 59
broadens the examination. We are shown, as the Prayer Book’s confession says, that we have
not done what we ought to have done, and we have done what we ought not to have done.

Isaiah starts with accusation (vv. 1-3): sins of hands, fingers, lips, and tongues.
Next the evidence against us (vv. 4-8) is recited. Note how “they” and “their” ring out in
every verse. Our outward life, represented by feet running to wrongdoing, is indicted; so
is our inner life of thoughts of iniquity (v. 7). And we can only bow our heads in shame
and confession, pleading guilty as charged. Eventually the “they” of accusation is
replaced by the “our” of admission (vv. 9-13).

What is more, the fallen state of society is at least in part due to our shortcomings
(vv. 14-15). If only we were truly the light that dispels darkness, the salt that prevents
corruption, things would not be as bad as they are. Right to the end, even as we wait and
long for the coming salvation, we remain guilty, wrath-deserving sinners. How terrible to
refuse the hand that is able to save!


Lord, have mercy.