Isaiah 58-60


In our reading today we see a familiar pattern being repeated. God has promised to bless the people in the previous section but they are missing the goal. So this section starts with God confronting their error and warns them of where the path in life they have chosen leads. He also reminds them of the hope they have in God and calls them to turn from the old ways and come to Him.

The New Testament has two Greek words that are translated sin. One means to miss the mark. The other is more extreme; it means missing the whole goal and scope of life. Missing the mark means missing the target. You’re doing what you are supposed to do but not reaching the intended goal. In Chapter 58 the people here were missing the mark. They were fasting but their aim was off. They were doing what they thought they were supposed to do but they were not focused on the right target. Instead of focusing on God and His desires they were focused on themselves and their desires. It is kind of like hitting the ball in golf or baseball. If you don’t keep your eye on the ball, if you hit it at all, it is not going to go where you wanted it to go. In golf we call this peeking and it usually results in slicing the ball into the pond, rough, or sand trap. In baseball we usually call this a strike out.  

In Chapter 59:2 the people were striking out. They were missing the mark so many times that they were in danger of missing the whole goal and scope of life. Missing the whole goal and scope of life is the sin that leads to death. The Bible defines death as separation. With our physical bodies when our breath is separated from us we call this death. In Luke 16:19-31 Jesus tells us that it is our soul that is separated from our body at death. Up to the time Jesus was resurrected the soul went to Hades and remained there. Jesus described Hades as having two areas separated by a deep chasm. On one side of the chasm was an area of torment. On the other side peace and rest represented by Abraham and Lazarus dwelling there. When Jesus was resurrected He descended to Hades and led to Heaven Abraham, Lazarus, and all the righteous that had died before Jesus was resurrected. All those who have missed the whole goal and scope of life remain in hades, the place of torment, awaiting the white throne judgment spoken of in Revelation 20:11-15. At this judgment, death, Hades, and all whose names were not written in the book of life will be thrown into the lake of fire more commonly known as Hell. This is the second death and will be a permanent separation from God. In these prophesies we have been reading, God is repeatedly warning of the dangers that lie ahead if we continue to let our iniquities separate us from God.

Fortunately, God does not throw up His hands in frustration and walk away. Yes, we all miss the mark and yes, we all fall short. However, God is faithful to warn us that our aim is off.  He doesn’t leave us there. In Chapter 60 He extends an invitation to come out of the dark separation and into His light that we might receive life and eternal fellowship with Him. God is doing everything He can to warn us and to call us to Him while still honoring our freedom to choose life with Him or permanent separation or death.

As we will see, God has more plans in store to get our attention. He truly wants us to spend eternity in Heaven with Him. But for now I can’t say it any it better than Moses did in Deuteronomy 30:15-20 which is our homework today.

Choose Life!

Pastor Dave