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A Message for South Africa as it Approaches Elections
“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue has muttered perversity. No one calls for justice, nor does any plead for truth. They trust in empty words and speak lies; they conceive evil and bring forth iniquity. They hatch vipers’ eggs and weave the spider’s web; he who eats of their eggs dies and from that which is crushed a viper breaks out. Their webs will not become garments, nor will they cover themselves with their works; their works are works of iniquity and the act of violence is in their hands. Their feet run to evil and they make haste to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths. The way of peace they have not known and there is no justice in their ways; they have made themselves crooked paths; whoever takes that way shall not know peace. Therefore 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 and we grope as if we had no eyes; we stumble at noonday as at twilight; we are as dead men in desolate places. We all 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 is fallen in the street and equity cannot enter.
So truth fails and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. 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; and His own righteousness, it sustained Him. For He put on righteousness as a breastplate and a helmet of Salvation on His head; he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing and was clad with zeal as a cloak. According to their deeds, accordingly He will repay, fury to His adversaries, recompense to His enemies; the coastlands He will fully repay. So shall they fear the Name of the Lord from the West and His glory from the rising of the sun; when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him. ‘The Redeemer will come to Zion and to those who turn from transgression in Jacob,’ says the Lord. ‘As for Me’, says the Lord, ‘this is My Covenant with them: My Spirit who is upon you and My Words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your descendants, nor from the mouth of your descendants’ descendants,’ says the Lord, ‘from this time and forevermore.’” Isaiah 59:1-21
Why do evil things happen? Why did God not prevent these things? How could God allow this?
“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.” Isaiah 59:1-2
After any drought, hurricane, flood, catastrophic fires, crime and violence, or in any time of oppression and suffering, one can hear people complaining: “Why did God allow this to happen? Why did God not intervene? Why has God not heard our prayers?”
Depravity Leads to Disaster
The answer is found in Isaiah 59. It is not that God is not able to intervene. He is Almighty. It is not that He cannot hear our prayers. He is Everywhere-present and All-knowing. “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.” The problem is your sin. This is true on an individual level, a family level, a congregational level, a community level, a national level and it is true internationally. The problem is sin. SIN. The middle letter of sin is “I”. Selfishness is at the heart of the problem. The heart of the problem is the problem of the human heart.
Bloodshed Defiles the Land
“For your hands are defiled with blood and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue has muttered perversity.” Isaiah 59:3. God is a holy God. Human beings are sinful and depraved. Total depravity is not merely a doctrine, it is the reality of human existence. Human hands are indeed defiled with blood: “So you shall not pollute the land where you are; for blood defiles the land and no atonement can be made for the land, for the blood that is shed on it, except by the blood of him who shed it.” Numbers 35:33. “Whoever kills any man shall surely be put to death.” Leviticus 24:17. “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for in the image of God He made man.” Genesis 9:6.
Failure to Punish Murderers Invites the Judgement of God
Those who show contempt for lives of others forfeit their own life. Any nation that refuses to avenge the murder of innocent life must share the guilt of the murderer (Deuteronomy 21:1-9). Only by obeying God's Law and punishing murderers with the death penalty can a nation cleanse itself of the guilt of innocent blood. The taking of a murderer’s life is akin to the amputation of a diseased limb in order to save the rest of the body. All murder is serious and demands capital punishment. Capital punishment is necessary for justice, for the rule of Law and for the protection of the innocent.
The Abortion Holocaust
1.6 Million babies have been killed in South Africa through abortion, legally, officially, often with taxpayer’s money, since Nelson Mandela legalised it on 1 February 1997. How can any nation seriously expect God to bless us when the nation is defiled with the blood of the innocent?
Deception and Depravity Destroys Democracy
“…your lips have spoken lies, your tongue has muttered perversity.” It is not only the politicians who have spoken lies. The lie has become a pillar of the state. Bearing false witness is standard fare for the mainstream media. SATV, the BBC – the Bolshevik Broadcasting Corporation, CNN – the Clinton News Network, Slime Magazine and Newspeak, Useless News and World Report, the Sunday Crimes, “All the news that’s fit to print” they say. “Without fear or favour”, they claim. Yet lies and deception are the tools of their trade. They bear false witness, re-writing history, twisting truths, re-arranging reality, victimising the villains and villainising the victims. Demonising whites, trivialising the main issues and making mountains out of molehills, exaggerating minor issues and promoting disinformation. Scapegoating, distracting and distorting seem to be their primary job description. “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil… Who justify the wicked for a bribe and take away justice from the righteous man!” Isaiah 5:20-23
Degenerate Entertainment Industry Degrades Society
Superficial, sensational and immoral material predominates in the modern entertainment industry and it is producing an increasingly superficial, selfish, mindless and immoral generation. The Arts have been debased and depraved, elevating the disgusting and celebrating ugliness. “…their thoughts and their foolish hearts were darkened.” Romans 1:21. “…those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved… all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” 2 Thessalonians 2:10,12. “Your tongue has uttered perversity” Not satisfied with the deviant being declared normal, they are now determined to have the normal declared deviant. Not satisfied with toleration, they now demand approval, applause, conformity and funding for their perversity.
Disinformation and Propaganda Deceive and Distract
State textbooks concentrate on twisting reality and re-writing history. Politically correct myths, anti-white, anti-western, anti-missionary, anti-crusades, anti-Reformers, anti-colonial, politically correct myths, legends and disinformation predominates. “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting.” Romans 1:28. “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8
Why is there So Much Evil and Suffering in the World?
Why do evil things happen? Look around. Open your eyes. Take note of just how vile and violent our society has become. Just look at what passes for Art, entertainment and music today. How can a holy God bless a nation in rebellion to Him? How can God answer the prayers of people whose hands are defiled with blood, who make lies and falsehood pillars of their state? Who delight in perversity?
Injustice, Deceit and Perversity
“No one calls for justice, nor does any plead for truth. They trust in empty words and speak lies; they conceive evil and bring forth iniquity.” Isaiah 59:4. Here, in Isaiah 59, we see the total depravity of man. “Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” James 1:15. God's Word is truth. Yet, men tend to prefer to embrace the lie: Evolution. Atheism. Secular Humanism. “You came from nothing. You are going nowhere. Life is meaningless.”
Who Suppress the Truth
“For the wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the Creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools.” Romans 1:18-22
Who Exchange the Truth of God for the Lie
“Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonour their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous Judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.” Romans 1:24-32
What We Sow is What We Shall Reap
“They hatch vipers’ eggs and weave the spider’s web; He who eats of their eggs dies and from that which is crushed a viper breaks out.” Isaiah 59:5. The fruit of secular humanism, atheism and evolutionism is seen in the situation ethics, interfaith, multi-culturalism, mixed-marriages, New World Order, illegal aliens, Islamic invasions, abortion holocaust, pornography plague, pagan invasion, break down of every standard of civilisation and debasing and degrading of everything good, pure and lovely in this world. It is seen in schools that do not educate, courts that do not uphold justice, doctors who do not heal, medical professionals who kill babies and euthanize the elderly, teachers who do not increase knowledge, leaders who fail to lead, police who fail to protect, families that fail to nurture, churches that fail to make disciples, teaching obedience to all things that the Lord has commanded, congregations that are no longer houses of prayer for all nations, public servants who loot public resources, governments that steal from their citizens, laws that no longer restrain the lawless, but which punish the law-abiding and God-fearing. “The wages of sin is death!”
A Web of Deceit
“Their webs will not become garments, nor will they cover themselves with their works; their works are works of iniquity and the act of violence is in their hands.” Isaiah 59:6. The intellectual arguments of secular humanists, atheists and evolutionists are akin to webs being used for garments – that do not provide clothing, they fail to cover themselves. Everything has consequences.
Civil Servants are Meant to be Ministers of Justice
The Bible is very clear, God has instituted civil government as “an agent of wrath to bear punishment on the wrongdoer.” Romans 13:4. The civil government is called to be a minister of God's justice, “to punish those who do wrong.” 1 Peter 2:14. The primary duties and responsibilities of civil government are the protection of law-abiding citizens and the punishment of law-breaking criminals. Psalm 101 reminds us that the duty of God honouring rulers is to destroy the wicked, to root out evil and to protect the law-abiding. “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil…. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.” Romans 13:3-4. “…Execute judgment in the morning; and deliver him who is plundered out of the hand of the oppressor, lest My fury go forth like fire and burn so that no one can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.” Jeremiah 21:12. “When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, people’s hearts are filled with schemes to do wrong.” Ecclesiastes 8:11. Why do people commit crime so readily? Because criminals are not punished quickly enough.
Devastation and Destruction
“Their feet run to evil and they make haste to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths.” Isaiah 59:7. What the world calls “a great religion of peace and tolerance” has proven to be the most violent and intolerant religion in the history of mankind. A religion of hate built upon a lie. The same could be said of socialism, which promises Heaven but invariably delivers hell. Think of the Christians who suffered under 70 years of communist oppression in the Soviet Union and those Christian in Eastern Europe who suffered for over 44 years in what was meant to “the workers paradise” which needed to build an Iron Curtain to keep its people captive, who needed to shoot their own citizens in the back for attempting to flee to freedom in the West. Over 160 Million people were killed by socialist governments in the name of atheism, between 1917 and 1991, as documented by The Black Book of Communism and Death by Government. Indeed, waste and destruction litters their paths.
Deforestation, Drought and Disaster
“How long will the land mourn and the herbs of every field wither? The beasts and birds are consumed, for the wickedness of those who dwell there…”Jeremiah 12:4. Pollution, deforestation, drought and famine mark the paths of secular humanist socialists who promise paradise and deliver perdition. The Soviet Union, Red China, Mengistu’s Ethiopia of the Red Terror, Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, Castro’s Cuba, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, Vietnam, North Korea, the list seems inexhaustible. Every socialist experiment and communist state have bankrupted their economies, laid waste the farms, destroyed the very foundations of civilisation and left millions of ruined lives and cruelty to animals in their wake.
There is No Justice in their Paths
“The way of peace they have not known and there is no justice in their ways; they have made themselves crooked paths; whoever takes that way shall not know peace.” Isaiah 59:8. Those who cry “Peace! Peace!” are loathsome false prophets. The Organisation of African Unity, the World Council of Churches, The United Nations, have proven to be false prophets, false teachers and false shepherds. Endlessly talking about “peace” and “tolerance” and invariably delivering war, terrorism, deception, oppression and exploitation, they have made crooked paths indeed. There is no peace without the Prince of Peace.
Deception, Darkness and Despair
“Therefore 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 and we grope as if we had no eyes; we stumble at noonday as at twilight; we are as dead men in desolate places.” Isaiah 59:9. Sin is the problem. Repentance and Faith in Christ is the solution. Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people. We need light. This requires justice and righteousness. However, we are in darkness, because of the failure of leadership. The Word of God is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. We need to return back to the Bible. In the Word of God we find milk and meat for our souls and spiritual light for our eyes.
Responding to the Diagnosis of the Problem with Confession of Sin
Isaiah 59:1-8 gives the diagnosis of the problems. From Isaiah 59:9-15, we read the confession of sin.
Repentance Leads to Restoration
In 2 Chronicles 7:14, we read the formula for Repentance and Restoration. “If My people who are called by My Name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” If we want God to heal our land then we need Him to hear our prayers and forgive our sins. To do this He demands that we humble ourselves, pray, seek His face and turn from our wicked ways. Humbling ourselves in prayerful confession and heartfelt repentance is foundational.
Grumbling and Complaining
“We all growl like bears and moan sadly like doves; we look for justice, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far from us.” Isaiah 59:11. This sounds like a description of our times. Complaining, moaning, talking about justice when there is none. Far from Salvation. Considering how the Bible has been abandoned in schools and government, it is no wonder that we grope blindly in the dark.
Acknowledging our Guilt Before God
“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.” Isaiah 59:12. The prayer that God hears is as our Lord described with the two men who went up to the Temple to pray: “Lord have mercy on me – a sinner!” We need to humble ourselves and pray and seek God's face, turning from our wicked ways. Our sinful selfishness, foolishness and gullibility entrusting wicked men to be leaders of our country and then being surprised at the catastrophic consequences – all this testifies against us.
Admitting our Wickedness and Deception
“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.” Isaiah 59:13. Removing the Bible and prayer from the opening of parliament, removing Bible reading, prayer and hymn singing and Bible education from the daily curriculum of our schools and from the military is symptomatic of our transgressing and lying against the Lord and departing from our God. Sabbath desecration, twisting truth, slandering the saints of old, tolerating and encouraging the crime epidemic, criminalising the victims and an obsession with the rights of criminals, re-writing history, replacing truth and facts with lies, distortions and blasphemous idolatry.
War Against Truth and Justice
“Justice is turned back and righteousness stands afar off; for truth is fallen in the street and equity cannot enter.” Isaiah 59:14. Justice has become a sick joke in the ANC-run new South Africa. Truth has indeed fallen in the streets. When someone tries to bring out a book exposing the criminal corruption, state capture, the gangster state, mobs of the ANC Youth League stormed the bookshops and damaged private property, tearing up books, mobbing people who were attempting to purchase these books. In the times of Thabo Mbeki, nine Christian community radio stations were targeted and closed down by the so-called Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA). Today, ICCASA continues to harass, confuse, overburden and threaten independent Christian community radio stations and any journalist who dares to question the official narrative with independent research or investigative journalism, indeed makes himself a prey. Character assassins predominate, including in the church. Those who refuse to partake in national idolatry and the repeating of the myths and mantras of the new state idolatry are targeted and trashed.
The Problems from Man’s Perspective and the Solution from God’s Perspective
Here we come to the end of the second section in Isaiah 59, the confession. Starting in the middle of Isaiah 59:15, we begin to see the Salvation of God. In the first half (Isaiah 59:1-15) we see the problems from man’s perspective. However, now from the second part of Isaiah 59:15, we begin to see what God sees and what God thinks and to hear what God says.
Injustice and Inactivity Displeases God
“…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; and His own righteousness, it sustained Him.” Isaiah 59:15-16.
What does God see? Injustice.
What does God think? It displeases Him.
God Seeks Intercessors Who Will Rebuild the Walls
What does God say? “So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.” Ezekiel 22:30. The Reformers taught that we get the governments we deserve. A wicked people find themselves ruled by wicked governments. A corrupt people are ruled by corrupt governments. A weak people suffer under oppressive governments. Because of the wickedness and weakness of man – there was no qualified human help.
Here we see the sovereignty of God. Because of the wickedness and weakness of man, because there was no qualified human help, God initiates Salvation, based upon His own righteousness. Salvation is by the grace of God alone.
Vengeance with Zeal
“For He put on righteousness as a breastplate and a helmet of salvation on His head; He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing and was clad with zeal as a cloak.” Isaiah 59:17. This reminds us of the full armour of God in Ephesians 6. We are involved in a spiritual world war. God is not a pacifist. The first time Jesus came as a Lamb. “The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!” The next time He will not come as a Lamb, but as a Lion. King of kings and Lord of lords. Conqueror. God is the Lord of Hosts. The Commander in Chief.
God Judges His Enemies
“According to their deeds, accordingly He will repay, fury to His adversaries, recompense to His enemies; the coastlands He will fully repay.” Isaiah 59:18. God judges His enemies. Those who fight against God have no chance. There is not a snowballs chance in hell that the enemies of God could ever prevail against the Creator, the Eternal Judge, the Almighty, All-knowing, Ever-present, Sovereign Lord of the universe. God is a God of Justice.
Persecutors Shall Be Condemned to Perdition
In the catastrophic fall of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu in 1989, the death of Angolan dictator, Agostinho Neto, the dramatic demise of Mozambiquean dictator, cannibal and persecutor of the church, Samora Machel, in 1986, one can see examples of how the Lord repays “fury to His adversaries, recompense to His enemies.” “The wicked shall be turned into hell and all the nations that forget God.” Psalm 9:17
The Fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Wisdom
“So shall they fear the Name of the Lord from the West and His glory from the rising of the sun; when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.” Isaiah 59:19. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Where sin increased, God's grace increased much more. The Son of God shall be our Saviour. The Spirit of God shall be our Sanctifier. Our Lord is our Deliverer, our Strong Fortress, the Rock of our Salvation. When the enemy comes in like a flood, God will raise up a standard to which the righteous can repair. The Cross of Christ and the Christian flag serve as banners to rally the faithful sons and daughters, servants and soldiers of God, to fight the good fight of Faith. When the time comes for us to make a stand, let us stand up boldly. When the time comes for us to step out, let us step out decisively in Faith. When the time comes for us to speak up, let us speak up and speak out boldly and Biblically the Words of God as recorded in the Holy Scriptures. When duty calls or danger, let us not be wanting there.
Redemption for the Repentant
“‘The Redeemer will come to Zion and to those who turn from transgression in Jacob’,” says the Lord.” Isaiah 59:20. Revival begins with Repentance. Repentance is not merely feeling sorry for our sins. Repentance involves: Conviction – a change of mind. Contrition – a change of heart. Conversion – a change of life. “God resists the proud, but He gives grace to the humble.”
Revival Through Studying the Word of God
“‘As for Me,’ says the Lord, ‘this is My Covenant with them: My Spirit who is upon you and My Words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your descendants, nor from the mouth of your descendants’ descendants,’ says the Lord, ‘from this time and forevermore’.” Isaiah 59:21. Revivals are a sovereign work of Almighty God. Here we can see Unconditional election. Irresistible grace. Limited atonement and Perseverance of the saints. Revivals grow out of the humble study of the Bible and obedient application of the Lordship of Christ to all areas of life. We are called to worship the Lord “in spirit and in truth.” The Word of God is the Sword of the Spirit. The Belt of Truth is the first part of the full Armour of God that we have to put on. “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” Our God is a Covenant-keeping God. He calls us to be faithful in studying, believing, obeying and applying His Word. We are to make disciples of all nations. We are to teach our descendants to love God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength. We are to seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness.
Who is On the Lord’s Side?
In Isaiah 59, we see our problems diagnosed. We read a model confession that we should follow and we are encouraged and inspired by God's promise of His plan of Salvation to rescue and redeem us, to destroy His adversaries and defeat those who make themselves the enemies of God. He calls us to rally to His standard. To stand up for Jesus and fight the good fight of Faith. Who is on the Lord’s side? Who is for the King of kings?
Stand Up for Jesus
The Day will come when the Lord of lords and King of kings will return to His earth to Judge the living and the dead. Are you boldly standing on the inerrant Word of Almighty God? Are you teaching the next generation to fear the Lord, to love Him, to trust and serve Him, to fight the good fight of Faith?
Return to God
In this time of idolatry, deception and apostasy, may God mercifully and graciously grant us a Revival of Repentance. God has shown us what is good and what He requires of us: To do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God.
Why do evil things happen? It is not for any lack on God's part, but it is our iniquities that have separated us from our God. It is our duty to humble ourselves and pray, to seek His face and to turn from our wicked ways. When we do so, God promises to hear from Heaven, to forgive our sins and to heal our land.
We need Revival.
God demands Repentance, humility, prayer and faithful obedience.
Dr. Peter Hammond
P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725
Cape Town South Africa