We Are All to Blame

Joseph Holbrook, Jr.

READ : Isaiah 59:1–15a

For our transgressions are multiplied before you, and our sins testify against us. (v. 12)

Today we read of “misery compounded.” For a people whose hands were defiled with blood, whose fingers were covered with iniquity, whose feet ran to evil and who made haste to shed innocent blood, there was no blessing, but only separation from God.

But note how beautifully the prophet Isaiah identifies himself with the miseries and sins of his people. Like Daniel, in his ninth chapter, two centuries later, Isaiah speaks in terms of “we” and “us.” It is “we” who grope for the wall, it is “our sins” that testify against us. It is this identification of the prophet with the sins of his people that foreshadows the time when the Lord Jesus, who knew no sin, was made to be sin for us. We can start to grasp a little of the anguish of our Lord as he took our guilt upon himself and the sword of divine wrath struck the Shepherd in order that we the sheep might go free.

Thank God for a Savior who by his incarnation joined himself to our sinful human race to take the burden of our guilt. But it is he who told us, “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you” (John 20:21). So the miseries of this sinful world are not the burdens and responsibilities of “them,” of somebody else; they are ours, if we belong to him. (originally published June 14, 1967)


Lord, forgive me for thoughtless words spoken hastily. Please bless me with the gift of a generous and forgiving spirit.