The Sins of the People (verses 1-4)
Sin in its simplest form is the act of violating the established law. Israel’s history and heritage had been formed and shape by the divine wisdom of the Lord Jehovah (Ex. 13:3). God established himself early in their existence and reminded them often of who he was and their responsibility to him. For many reasons they were both prone to and susceptible to violating God’s law. In this week’s lesson, we find them in the same situation again but in his loving and character of compassion, the Lord shares with them through his prophet Isaiah, that he will redeem them.
Yet even in their rebellion against God and his word, he remained gracious and kind towards them. He reminds them that no matter how far they would stray away or how deep into the darkness of their sins, they are never too far from his reach (v 1-2). He too hears their cries even though it seems he’s not listening. . He is not willing for any of them to perish, but in his longsuffering way waits in anticipation. God explains to them the reason for the calamity (v 3). He wants them to judge themselves and return again unto himself (v 4) but no one does. If they would judge themselves, then he would not have to judge them (cf. I Cor. 11:31).
Redemptive Work of God (verses 15-21)
The love of the Lord towards his people is great. He is willing to go to great lengths to demonstrate his love. He even allows them to use his standards of righteousness to judge themselves before he exerts his own authority to judge (v 16, 17). But there was no one who would intercede and plead for them, so he becomes Zion’s Redeemer (v 16, 17). He clothes himself with all of the attributes of the righteous judge with righteousness, zeal, vengeance and salvation.
God declares what he will do to their enemies equaled to the acts or crimes committed (v 18) and the subsequent results of falling into the hands of the living God (v 19). Fear is used here in both forms of respect and terror. There times when fearing the Lord is to respect him and then there are times when terror is the proper response. But none the less, the God is to be feared by all at all times.
God promises to be the redeemer of Zion (his holy place in Israel, v 20, 21). The condition is for them to turn away from their sin and towards the holiest of their Lord. This is repentance in its truest form. And the Lord God seals his word with this covenant with his Spirit upon them and his words in their mouths.