July 31 (Daily reading: Isaiah 59-63) Our reading opens with the terrible reality of sin. Even though “the LORD’S hand is not so short that it cannot save; nor is His ear so dull that it cannot hear,” people still die in their sins. “Your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear” (59:1-2). Paul quoted Isaiah 59:7-8 to show that no one is righteous. He wrote about sinners: “The path of peace they have not known. There is no fear of god before their eyes” (Rom. 3:17-18).
But there is good news! “‘The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,’ declares the LORD” (59:20, NIV). Paul quoted this verse: “And so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, ‘The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob’” (Rom. 11:26). In fact, we read the Redeemer’s own testimony in Luke 4:17, where He quotes Isaiah 61:1. “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Lk. 4:18-19, NIV). After reading this from Isaiah, Jesus said, ““Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Lk. 4:21). Jesus is the God-sent, self-proclaimed, Redeemer from Isaiah’s prophecy!
The good news gets even better! When Jesus said He had been anointed to set people free, He included Gentiles along with the Jews! We belong to that group described in Isaiah 62:12, “And they will call them, “The holy people, the redeemed of the LORD.”
– Al Gary