In the days of the prophet Isaiah, the nation of Israel had drifted away from God. The Israelites’ disobedience had separated them from God, and their sins had hidden His face from them (Isaiah 59:2). Their iniquities had created a wall between them and God, and as they went through periods of exile and captivity, they felt that God did not hear their cries for help. Isaiah spoke of all of the things that had led to this separation. There was injustice, sin, violence, and an absence of truth in the land (Isaiah 59:3-4,7). Their path was one that was crooked, not the path leading to God, and so there was no peace (Isaiah 59:8).
The description of Israel in Isaiah 59 could very well be a description of our nation today. Day after day we hear of incidents illustrating that. There is violence in our streets and even in our schools. There is division among our people such as we have never seen before. Sin is rampant, and our society has become one where anything and everything goes. We have drifted far from the nation that our forefathers envisioned, from the nation that so many have given their lives defending. Some would say that God has turned His back on us but, in fact, it is we who have turned our backs on Him.
We have pushed God out of our country. Prayer and the Bible are no longer allowed in our schools. It has become an offense to others to say things like Merry Christmas and, in some cases, even to speak about God in public. We no longer refer to the time before and after the birth of Jesus Christ as “before Christ” (B.C.) and “anno Domini” (A.D.). We now use the terms “before the common era” (B.C.E.) and “common era” (C.E.). To some extent, we have said to God, “You’re no longer welcome here.”
Although the people of Israel felt abandoned by God, He had not forgotten them, nor had He become hard of hearing (Isaiah 59:1). The people acknowledged their transgressions (Isaiah 59:12-13), and so God promised to send a Redeemer (Isaiah 59:20). That Redeemer – the promised Messiah – is Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Anointed One of God, sent to bring the good news of salvation. He was sent to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom to the captives, and to comfort those who mourn (Isaiah 61:1-2). He came to earth and healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, and provided freedom from the captivity of sin. He came, not just for the people of Israel, but for all of us.
We need a revival in our nation, a turning back to God. We need to acknowledge our transgressions and look to Jesus as our Redeemer. Jesus will come again. Scripture tells us that at that time all nations will be judged, both those who accept Christ and those who do not. Those who believe will be taken up with Christ (1 Thessalonians 4:17), but those who reject Him will be judged (Revelation 22:12-13). Before that day comes, it is my prayer that our nation will turn its heart back to God. While we wait for that day, those of us who believe need to watch and pray. As the salt of the earth and the light of the world, our calling from God is to make a difference.