Isaiah 57 - Outline of Isaiah (MENU page)
The thought continues from the previous chapter...
While Israel's false shepherds indulge themselves (56:9-12), most of the nation is glad to follow them in pursuit of the ways of the world. Meanwhile, the LORD, unseen, cares for the little flock who follows Him, as described in the next two verses.
1. The righteous perisheth {HB='abad, dies, is destroyed, exterminated}, and no man layeth [it] to heart:
and merciful men [are] taken away
{HB='acaph, removed, gathered},
none considering that the righteous is taken away
{HB='acaph} from the evil {HB='ra, distress, calamity} [to come].
2 He shall enter into peace
{HB=shalom, completeness, soundness}:
they shall rest in their beds, [each one] walking [in] his uprightness
{HB-nakoach, straight before him}.
The righteous...- (ie., those who believe and live in anticipation of the salvation to come, 56:1),
...perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart...-
The attrition of righteous men from society is little noticed by men who love darkness. Mic 7:2,3
Instead they are happy to be rid of them, even persecuting them unto death. Unbelievers think the persecuted believers' lives are wasted and cut short by untimely death, but the reality (that they do not recognize) is that the LORD takes His own away to spare them the trials of the Tribulation. This was the case prior to the Babylonian captivity (eg., good king Josiah, 2Kin 22:16,20), and it will also be true during the great Tribulation period (Rev 14:13).
...they shall rest... each one walking...- For the believer, death is not the end,
for each one continues walking the straight and narrow path which they followed in their earthly life (2Cor 5:1,8).
3. But draw near hither, ye sons of the sorceress,
the seed of the adulterer and the whore.
4 Against whom do ye sport yourselves?
against whom make ye a wide mouth, [and] draw out the tongue?
[are] ye not children of transgression, a seed of falsehood,
5 Enflaming yourselves with idols under every green tree,
slaying the children in the valleys under the clifts of the rocks?
6 Among the smooth [stones] of the stream [is] thy portion; they, they [are] thy lot:
even to them hast thou poured a drink offering, thou hast offered a meat offering.
Should I receive comfort in these?
but draw near hither, ye sons of the sorceress...-
In contrast to the condition of His children, the LORD now addresses the condition of the unregenerate. The language can be applied equally to those who practised idolatry in Isaiah's day, and to those who will follow the false religion of the antichrist. Thus, the picture broadens beyond Israel to all who are engaged in spiritual adultery.
...ye seed of the adulterer and the whore.- These are not the children of God,
but the children of another father (Joh 8:40-44). They are called 'the seed of falsehood' because they present themselves as the people of God. But in truth, they are tares among the wheat (Mat 13:38), walking in the steps of their spiritual father.
  • sport yourselves... make a wide mouth - Their mockery of the children of God (vs.1-4) is in effect, mockery of their Father, and Savior (Psa 35:20-22; Psa 22:7,8; Isa 37:23).
  • enflaming {ie., arousing} yourselves with idols...- The sexual overtones in the language reflect the debauchery of idolatrous worship (vs.5-8), as they gave themselves to idols in sexual orgies and child sacrifice (Lev 20:2-5). But it applies figuratively to all forms of spiritual adultery which is unfaithfulness to the LORD to serve another (Hos 1:2; Rev 17:1-5).
the smooth stones (v.6) - were objects of worship. cp. Jer 3:9; Hab 2:19; Jer 7:18
7 Upon a lofty and high mountain hast thou set thy bed:
even thither wentest thou up to offer sacrifice.
8 Behind the doors also and the posts hast thou set up thy remembrance:
for thou hast discovered [thyself to another] than me, and art gone up;
thou hast enlarged thy bed, and made thee [a covenant] with them;
thou lovedst their bed where thou sawest [it].
9 And thou wentest to the king with ointment, and didst increase thy perfumes,
and didst send thy messengers far off, and didst debase [thyself even] unto hell.
10 Thou art wearied in the greatness of thy way;
[yet] saidst thou not, There is no hope:
thou hast found the life of thine hand; therefore thou wast not grieved.
...thy bed... discovered thyself...- The description of spiritual adultery continues.
  • ...thou wentest to the king (v.8)- The name of the idol, Molech, means 'king.'
  • ...and made thee a covenant with them...- In addition to the worship of false gods, they looked to the great men of the earth for their peace and security (Isa 30:1-6; Eze 23:2-20; cp. Rev 2:21,22).
thou art wearied in the greatness of thy way... there is no hope...-
The work of securing the well being of the nation and world is toilsome and heavy... too heavy, in their view, to commit to the LORD. They see no option but to press on in the futile way that seems right to man. Jer 2:25; 44:17-18
11 And of whom hast thou been afraid or feared,
that thou hast lied, and hast not remembered me, nor laid [it] to thy heart?
have not I held my peace even of old, and thou fearest me not?
12 I will declare thy righteousness, and thy works;
for they shall not profit thee.
13. When thou criest, let thy companies deliver thee;
but the wind shall carry them all away; vanity shall take [them]:
but he that putteth his trust in me shall possess the land,
and shall inherit my holy mountain;
14 And shall say, Cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way,
take up the stumblingblock out of the way of my people.
of whom hast thou been afraid...? - Isa 51:12,13
I held my peace and thou fearest me not... - Psa 50:21; Rom 2:4,5
I will declare {expose, make known} thy righteousness... -
ie., The worthlessness of their self-righteousness and empty works will be brought to light.
Their false confidences, whether collections of idols, or companies of soldiers, will fail and vanish.
but he that putteth his trust in me shall possess the land...
...cast ye up {ie., build up (the road bed)}... prepare the way...- (Isa 40:3-5; Luk 3:4-7).
...take up {ie., remove} the stumblingblock...-
The promised day, when the righteous will return to the LORD on the highway of righteousness will come. Every obstacle, which might have hindered a pilgrim's progress on that way in prior times, will no longer be an occasion for stumbling. No one will be offended at Christ (1Cor 1:23), or for the weakness of a brother (1Cor 8:9), or for the weakness of his own flesh (Heb 12:13), or for any other cause (Isa 35:8). Yet, none who refused the invitation to come will be among them.
15 For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name [is] Holy;
I dwell in the high and holy [place], with him also [that is] of a contrite and humble spirit,
to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
16 For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth:
for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls [which] I have made.
17. For the iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth, and smote him:
I hid me, and was wroth, and he went on frowardly in the way of his heart.
18 I have seen his ways, and will heal him:
I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners.
19 I create the fruit of the lips;
Peace, peace to [him that is] far off, and to [him that is] near, saith the LORD;
and I will heal him.
inherit my holy mountain Isa 56:7 (house of prayer)
the high and lofty One...- is the LORD.
(cp. these words in Isa 6:1, 'high and lifted up'; and Isa 52:13, my servant 'exalted and extolled')
that inhabiteth eternity...with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit...-
Who is this? The Servant of the LORD, our Savior, meek and lowly in heart (Mat 11:29), who made Himself of no reputation and humbled Himself to die on the cross (Php 2:6-8). For what purpose?...
to revive {HB=chayah, to give life, to sustain life} the... contrite ones...-
Note that the contrite One accomplished what the contrite ones could not do for themselves. They, being dead in trespasses and sins, humbly sought the LORD, repenting of and yearning to be free from their sinful condition. cp. Psa 34:18; 51:17; 138:6; Isa 61:1-3; Mat 5:3-6
for I will not contend for ever... neither will I be always wroth...-
The wrath of the Holy God against sin was satisfied in Christ. "It is finished" for those who are 'in Him.' (cp. Psa 85:5-7; 103:9-16; Mic 7:18; Isa 42:5-7). While this brings relief to the believer, it should be cause for alarm for the unbeliever. For if God will not always contend (or, argue His case) before men, the offer of salvation is for a limited time and can be withdrawn without further notice.
I will heal him...- In vs.17,18, 'him' refers primarily to the nation of Israel.
cp. Isa 1:18; Eze 16:60-63; 36:22; Hos 14:4-10
I create {HB=bara, shape, form} the fruit of the lips...-
The LORD orders the outcome of the proclamation of His Word (Isa 55:10,11; 2Cor 5:20,21;), the outcome of repentance (Hos 14:2) and of the confession of the believing heart (Rom 10:8,9).
peace... to far and near...- Peace from God is doubled: 'Peace, Peace,' overflowing
to every one, Jew and gentile alike, who trusts in Him. Acts 2:39; 10:36; Eph 2:14-17; Isa 55:1
20 But the wicked [are] like the troubled sea, when {lit., for} it cannot rest,
whose waters cast up mire and dirt.
21 [There is] no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.
the wicked... cannot rest {ie., be quiet, lie still}...- Prov 4:16,17; Isa 3:9-11
like the troubled {HB=garash, driven, tossed} sea...
whose waters cast up {HB=garash, toss up} mire and dirt...- Mat 15:19
There is no peace {HB=shalom}, saith my God, to the wicked.- cp. Psa 73:18-20
This statement marks the close of the second section in the final division of Isaiah (see outline of Isaiah). The overall theme is "Salvation." The first section, with its announcement of comfort to Israel, closed with a nearly identical statement, differing in that it was from "the LORD," the God of Israel's Covenant (Isa 48:22). Israelites who cut themselves off from Him have no peace. This second section, describing the price of redemption, and offering the purchased salvation to all who thirst, closes with a statement from God {Elohim}, for the Savior is "the God of the whole earth," and Israel, having turned away from the LORD, is like all other nations, in need of Him. There is no other source of peace apart from Him (Eph 2:14; Col 1:20).

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