Dressed for the Part

Alec Motyer

READ : Isaiah 59:16-23

A helmet of salvation . . . garments of vengeance. (v. 17)

A wedding dress is often worn only once, but isn’t it worth it! Worn only once, because
only on that one occasion is a woman a bride. Clothing and character belong together; the
dress befits the role.

So it is in the Bible. The Lord appeared in armor to Joshua (Josh. 5:13) because he
came as the warrior Lord, the Captain of hosts. Isaiah sees the same Lord (v. 17) dressed
in righteousness, salvation, vengeance, and fury:

  • righteousness because everything he does must conform to his own holy
  • salvation because he is undertaking to save his people;
  • vengeance because his people are beset by foes who are his foes also, and who must receive their just requital;
  • fury because the wrath of God is revealed against all unrighteousness, and the day
    of wrath will come.

Why is the Lord so dressed? Why does he propose to undertake such tasks? Because we are
helpless to help ourselves. It was when he saw that “there was no one” that “his own arm
brought him victory” (v. 16). Isaiah has shown that we are culpably helpless,
transgressing, denying the Lord, turning from following our God. But far from turning from
us, he undertook the whole glorious work of our salvation.


“No other Name by which we must be saved.”