The Great Reversal
Isaiah 59:15b The Lord saw it, and it displeased him
that there was no justice.
16 He saw that there was no one,
and was appalled that there was no one to intervene;
so his own arm brought him victory,
and his righteousness upheld him.
17 He put on righteousness like a breastplate,
and a helmet of salvation on his head;
he put on garments of vengeance for clothing,
and wrapped himself in fury as in a mantle.
The people of God had wandered so far from the truth that there was no one left to reflect God’s image in the world. God’s holiness demands justice, and there was none to be found. No one remained who was willing to be an intercessor. There was no sacrificing on behalf of another and God found this appalling. How could God’s people have moved so far away from their Creator? But God refused to be defeated by the very one who had been created by God’s outpouring of holy love.
Our own remedies will never be sufficient and eventually we will lose the will to continue in our own strength.
God did not, and does not need humanity to bring about victory. God is quite capable within God’s own nature to be victorious and we see this happening in this passage. The story will eventually lead to the death of Christ on the cross, but even now God speaks of the armor which is worn as spiritual warfare is fought. God puts on God, and this is a reminder that we don’t will the armor of God in our lives. The armor is all about God, and not about us. God’s righteousness is the breastplate. God’s salvation is the helmet. God’s garments fight the battle against evil. All of this will culminate in complete and total victory on the part of God as we journey together with Christ to the cross.
God provides the treatment for all that ails God’s people, but it will require complete and total dependence upon God. No human power alone is sufficient for the task. Therefore the armor which we put on is only that which we find by participating in Christ, and this is made possible by his death and resurrection. The journey to the cross is wearisome, but along the wilderness journey we learn complete and total dependence upon God who is already victorious.
As a result, transformation occurs as we put on the full armor of God. Suddenly things are set aright and we engage in intercession, giving ourselves up for the sake of others. We engage in issues of justice — for the sake of others. These become a reflection of God’s character as God’s holiness is lived out in us.
Christ’s activity on the cross and our participation with Christ means that we become active in the restoration of all things in the way God had intended. The Lord is pleased as God sees justice. God is pleased for there are those willing to intercede. God clothes holy children in righteous armor so that they may go into the world reflecting the very nature of God. The world is changed because they have come into contact with God’s holy children.
Lord, may I never lean on my own understanding, but upon you and your strength. Amen.