Isaiah 57 Devotional
by Pastor Lawrence
The peace of God distinguishes the righteous from the wicked in this chapter. When the righteous man lies down at night, he rests in peace. Even when he perishes, he is taken away from calamity and enters into an eternal peace. The wicked, on the other hand, are like a turbulent sea tossing up mire and dirt, and for them the Lord swears that there will be no peace. But, of course, peace is the very thing that the wicked desire and pursue, ascending high mountains in search of it, travelling great distances in hopes that other nations and kings could provide them greater security, even turning to sorcery, idolatry and infanticide. Indeed, all of these acts of wickedness are carried out in search of some aspect of peace and pleasure, but they never secure either of these things. They will never find true peace in this world if they are unwilling to make peace with God. The Lord’s anger remains upon them and his wrath awaits them; therefore, they continually walk upon smooth stones or slippery ground. Whatever they do will not profit their souls. Of course, the Lord is very patient with the wicked. He holds his peace for a long time as they forget their maker and do not fear his name, but on the Day of Judgment they will receive their just wages.
How are the righteous any different? Do they not also turn to idols and forget the Lord their God? Indeed, they do, and the Lord disciplines them in his anger because of their iniquity. He sees their backslidings as well, even though they themselves may not recognize it at first. But when the Lord disciplines them, they cry out to the Lord for mercy, they seek the Lord for refuge, and they despise themselves for their foolishness and sin. And the Lord assures such conflicted people that although he dwells in the high and holy place, he also dwells with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, and that he himself is the one who revives the lowly and contrite spirit. He is the one who builds them back up again. He is the one who removes every obstacle out of the way of his people, and he is the one who heals a backslidden heart. Thus he promises a double portion of peace and comfort to the contrite and lowly, both far and near, not because they deserve it but because the Lord has made a way for them. Isaiah doesn’t tell us what the way in this particular passage, but from the earlier chapters on the suffering servant of the Lord, we come to understand that another would suffer God’s wrath in their place who would be the way. No one can come to God the Father except through him, and no one knows the peace of God apart from him.