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Does God Have Short Arms?

1QIsa(b)
1QIsa(b) - A Dead Sea Scroll Containing Isaiah 57:17 - 59:9 (Wikipedia)

I’m teaching on Isaiah 59:1-15 this Sunday as the second part of a four part series on the Gospel.  Last week, we looked at Genesis 1:26-31 to discuss what it was that God created us for–I argued that he created us to glorify Him as His image bearers, in harmonious relationships to creation, to each other, and to Him.  This week, we’re looking at what the problem is–why we aren’t enjoying harmony with each other and intimacy with God.  I think Isaiah 59:1-2 makes it pretty clear that it’s not God’s fault.

It seems that Isaiah’s audience was frustrated with God for His refusal to recognize their piety–“Why have we fasted, and you see it not?” (Isa 58:3a)  And God says (in a rough paraphrase), “Do you think I’m looking for a day of fasting, with ashes and sackcloth?  Try mercy and justice instead.  Try feeding the hungry and clothing the naked instead.” (Isa 58:5-7)

And then Isaiah 59:1 opens with this statement: “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save…”  What’s the problem then?  Isaiah 59:2 says simply, “Your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God.”

Sin absolutely cuts mankind off from God’s mercies, and no amount of religious activity will do.  Our only hope is that God followed through on His promise in Isaiah 59:20, that He sent a Redeemer for those who turn from transgression.

Please pray for the effectiveness of this series.  Mayer needs Christ.

Grace & Peace,
Dan J.

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