Verse of the Day Devotion. Isaiah 57:2 He enters into peace; They rest in their beds, Each one who walked in his upright way.
Chapter 56 was essentially the rebuke of the leaders of Judah. Here, in chapter 57, the LORD speaks to the persecution of the righteous. In this case, it is persecution through neglect. (the righteous man perishes, and no man takes it to heart). Isaiah proclaimed this as important. Many critics of the Bible demand that Isaiah was written after the Babylonian exile, because so many events after the exile are precisely prophesied. But the sins described in this chapter are strictly before the exile. This chapter is a marvelous proof that the book of Isaiah was written in the days of Isaiah, by one author, and before the exile.
The first two verses in this chapter, which includes our focus verse, describes the terrible things happening to the righteous/devout people because the blind leaders were failing to lead the nation in the righteous ways of the Lord. “The righteous man perishes, and no man takes it to heart; And devout men are taken away, while no one understands. For the righteous man is taken away from evil, He enters into peace; They rest in their beds, Each one who walked in his upright way.” Isaiah 57:1-2. Notice what it is saying in verse one. ‘The righteous man perishes, and no man takes it to heart’, and also, ‘And devout men are taken away, while no one understands’. The words righteous and devout pertains to their attitude to Jehovah. In the midst of the excesses of the unfaithful watchmen, most of the few that are godly perish: partly because they are troubled by the prevailing ungodliness; partly by violent death in persecution: prophetical of the persecuting times of Manasseh before God’s judgments in causing the captivity in Babylon.
Now, what were these excesses? Lets go back to the previous chapter. “All you beasts of the field, All you beasts in the forest, Come to eat. His watchmen are blind, All of them know nothing. All of them are dumb dogs unable to bark, Dreamers lying down, who love to slumber; And the dogs are greedy, they are not satisfied. And they are shepherds who have no understanding; They have all turned to their own way, Each one to his unjust gain, to the last one. Come, they say, “let us get wine, and let us drink heavily of strong drink; And tomorrow will be like today, only more so.” Isaiah 56:9-12. The beasts spoken of in beginning of these verses refer to people and nations, comparable to the beasts of the field for their strength, cruelty, and voraciousness. These are the ones that will oppress and overtake them, with the big creature being Babylon.
In verse four God asks, “Against whom do you jest? Against whom do you open wide your mouth And stick out your tongue? Are you not children of rebellion, Offspring of deceit.” Isaiah 57:4. The wicked among God’s people made fun of the righteous. They mocked them, and God heard it. Here, the LORD challenges them, simply asking Who do you think you are? Who are you mocking? This speaks to a common sin of human nature, which is to see the sins or the problems of others while being blind to their own sins or problems. The wicked leaders of Israel were looking at the righteous and devout, and they see people that, because they did not do as they did, were wrong and foolish. The leaders were idolators and obviously did not take the Lord seriously. As far as they were concerned, their idols took preeminence over the true God.
Then God says what He will do for His people. First he explains who these are. “And it shall be said, Build up, build up, prepare the way, Remove every obstacle out of the way of My people. For thus says the high and exalted One Who lives forever, whose name is Holy, I dwell on a high and holy place, And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit In order to revive the spirit of the lowly And to revive the heart of the contrite.” Isaiah 57:14-15. His people are those who live with a humble and contrite heart. Not those who are perfect, but those who acknowledge their sins, repents of them, and desires to please God. Then He says He will not contend forever with them. “For I will not contend forever, Neither will I always be angry; For the spirit would grow faint before Me, And the breath of those whom I have made. Because of the iniquity of his unjust gain I was angry and struck him; I hid My face and was angry, And he went on turning away, in the way of his heart. I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will lead him and restore comfort to him and to his mourners, Creating the praise of the lips. Peace, peace to him who is far and to him who is near, Says the LORD, and I will heal him.” Isaiah 57:16-19. First, He calls Himself the high and lofty one. And though He is and in the high and holy place, He will live with them and will have mercy on them. And though he disciplines them, He knows their ways and will heal and lead them, knowing where their hearts are, and will restore comfort to them. Therefore, we can have peace no matter our situation.
However, it will be different for the wicked. “But the wicked are like the tossing sea, For it cannot be quiet, And its waters toss up refuse and mud. There is no peace, says my God, for the wicked.” Isaiah 47:20-21. In contrast to those who return to God, the wicked are still without peace. God’s great mercy is held out to man, but it must be received. Their minds are restless, being constantly tempted and tormented with their own lusts and passions, and with the horror of their guilt, and the dread of Divine vengeance due unto them, and ready to come upon them. And he finishes this topic by stating, ‘There is no peace, says my God, for the wicked.’ What a horrible thought, which is why all should become Christians and live in humility with God.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.
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