November 7, 2020
Subject: Isaiah’s Answer for how to Save America, Part 1: Don’t Look to the Democrats or Republicans
Isaiah 59:6 “His own arm brought salvation for Him.”
It is now several days since the election, and we still are not certain who won. Lawyers from both sides have taken on the task of arguing their case for why they have been truthful, and the other side is lying and cheating in counting the votes. More than ever, we remain a nation bent on tearing each other down.
There are no strong moral leaders in this election. With a choice between two flawed leaders of two flawed political parties as our options to save America from moral disaster, many of us are taking sides, placing our trust in these men. But there is another side, grounded in moral excellence and historical fact, that speaks to how to save a nation from disaster. In the Bible’s book of Isaiah, we find the leader Jesus Christ.
Isaiah was a prophet to Israel around 740BC. His name means “Jehovah is salvation.” It is very interesting that name “Jesus” is a later variant of the same name which also means “Jehovah is salvation”.
He is the greatest of all the writing prophets. The New Testament quotes more from Isaiah than all other Old Testament books combined, with 21 places where the prophet Isaiah is called out by name. No other Old Testament book provides so much insight into people’s hearts, prophecy, or of the Lord Jesus Christ.
With the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1948, we also now know that his prophecies detailing Jesus as the Lord and Savior of mankind were written before He was born, confirming the truth of Isaiah’s writing.
The book of Isaiah is referred to as “the 5th Gospel” or “The Gospel according to Isaiah”, due to Isaiah’s focus on presenting Jesus Christ as the transcendent Messiah in His dual role of God’s Anointed King and His Suffering Servant, who would pour out His life for the salvation of mankind. St. Augustine referred to Isaiah as “not as much a prophet as an evangelist”.
In this first article on Isaiah’s answer for how to save America, we look at God’s vivid description of Israel’s moral bankruptcy. We can see in Isaiah 59:9-15a the amazing parallels to America’s current condition.
“Justice is far from us, nor does righteousness overtake us; we look for light, but there is darkness! For brightness, but we walk in blackness! We grope for the wall like the blind, as if we had no eyes; we stumble at noonday as at twilight; we are as dead men in desolate places. We growl like bears, and moan sadly like doves; we look for justice, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far from us.
For our transgressions are multiplied before You, and our sins testify against us; for our transgressions are with us, and as for our iniquities, we know them; in transgressing and lying against the Lord, and departing from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood.
Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands afar off; for truth has fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter. So, truth fails, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.”
The prophet minces no words here. The nation’s moral corruption, in man-centered worship and immoral lifestyles focused on self-gratification at the expense of others, has made them blind and helpless.
When Isaiah says of the nation that “as for our iniquities, we know them”, the Hebrew word isn’t that the nation intellectually understands the sins they are committing. This word for “know” is the same as when the Bible describes a man as “knowing his wife” which leads to them having a child. God, through Isaiah, is telling Israel they aren’t just sinning (of which we all are all guilty). Rather, the people are in bed with their sin. People are having sex with their sin. It is who they are. It is how they identify themselves.
This is a striking similarity to America today. It is a hopeless situation for any leader, and political party, to save, since our leaders and our parties are in the same boat. Israel in 740BC and America in 2020 have much in common. But it is in the very next verse, Isaiah 59:15b-16, where we find God taking the initiative to bring salvation to a helpless nation: “Then the Lord saw it, and it displeased Him that there was no justice. He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor; therefore, His own ARM brought salvation for Him; His own righteousness, it sustained Him.” Who is this “Arm of the Lord”?
Isaiah 53:1 asks the same question: “To whom has the ARM of the Lord been revealed?” We shall see next week that the “Arm of the Lord” is none other than Jesus Christ. He is the only answer for America.
Ed Croteau is a resident of Lee’s Summit and hosts a weekly study in Lees Summit called “Faith: Substance and Evidence.” He can be reached with your questions through the Lee’s Summit Tribune at Editor@lstribune.net.