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Devotionals

Barrier Wall of Sin

As followers of the Lord Jesus Christ we have one of the greatest blessings after salvation. This blessing is the gateway to the ear of God for an audience. We call this prayer or talking to God. As a husband and wife enjoy union through communication, so we enjoy communing with God through prayer.

Jen and I were chatting to a sister on Thursday night. She said, “I talk to God throughout the day.” That’s awesome and beautiful. It not only cements the morning devotions … it keeps the union “hot” … meaning the heart is in contact with the Lord all the time … throughout the day. Surely this is exactly how our relationship with our Lord, Master and King needs to be.

Yet, there are times when we find this is not as it is. There are periods of dryness and little or no true union. When this happens we might question why it is so and not obtain answers. This environment might disappoint us and even depress us. What has happened?

There are two interesting verses in Isaiah 59 that I would like to explore briefly … but before we read these verses … going a little backwards we find that the purpose of Isaiah 58:1-14 was to expose rebellion and sin. In chapter 59:1-8 more charges are made against the people. This results in the people confessing their guilt before God as well as their helplessness to do anything about their situation. Here are the verses:

Isa 59:1 Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.

2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.

The backdrop to these verses is:

Isa 58:3 ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and you have not seen it?

Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?’

“Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers.

4 Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists.

You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high.”

The people observed a fast yet did not achieve the desired result. They thought if they fulfilled a religious acts, divine attention would be forth coming. To their shock, “the ever-hearing” Lord “did not hear” and because He “did not hear”, He did not act!

It is not that He could not hear. It’s not that He is deaf or too busy or away on more important business! The problem was a barrier wall, erected by the people that prevented Him hearing. This barrier wall is called sin! When God does not respond to your prayers or to your religious exercises, is it possible that the fault is on your side … my side?

Isa 59:1 Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.

2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.

The problem that Isaiah spoke into was that God’s people lived in habitual sin and then, when in need, they would get all holy and seek God through a religious ritual (fasting) thinking that God will ignore their recent sin and rebellion and run to them because of a solemn religious act.

When God did not respond to their beck and call, they thought like the pagans did about their “deaf gods” … God’s arm (hand – the symbol of action, ability and resources) was too short … unable to help … or like the pagan gods made of clay or wood or precious metals … His ears were deaf and lifeless … meaning He does not pay attention because He can’t hear! No! He is God Almighty. He is omnipotent … all powerful! He is omniscient … all seeing! His in omnipresent … is everywhere all the time! He is the sovereign One, the Great I AM, who was and who is and who is to come. How dare they and how dare we limit God to our humanness! What was the real problem that Go did not respond? As said above … the barrier wall of sin.

Isa 59:2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.

Look how verse 3 to 7 explains verse 2:

Isa 59:3 For your hands are stained with blood, your fingers with guilt.

Your lips have spoken lies, and your tongue mutters wicked things.

4 No one calls for justice; no one pleads his case with integrity.

They rely on empty arguments and speak lies; they conceive trouble and give birth to evil.

5 They hatch the eggs of vipers and spin a spider’s web.

Whoever eats their eggs will die, and when one is broken, an adder is hatched.

6 Their cobwebs are useless for clothing; they cannot cover themselves with what they make.

Their deeds are evil deeds, and acts of violence are in their hands.

7 Their feet rush into sin; they are swift to shed innocent blood.

Their thoughts are evil thoughts; ruin and destruction mark their ways.

This picture is nothing less than shocking. The depth of depravity is enormous. The fasting is just a façade to get God to respond to their wants. They tried to manipulate God. They wanted to live in sin and get what God could offer. How wrong they were! The sin of these people is not related to accidental sin or a willful sin now and then. They were saturated with continual and persistent rebellion. Their hearts were blackened. Their desires were evil. Their behaviour was stained with evil.

This is the reason God did not hear them. They erected the barrier wall and only they could remove it. Removal is more than feeling sorry for sin. It is more than confessing sin. In fact … it is even more than repentance! Removing the barrier wall of sin requires they prove repentance. That is what God wants to see! Does this resonate with you? Does this Note help you to see why God might not be hearing your prayers and pleas … in the face of all your religious practices? Lifestyle sin must be dealt with ruthlessly before is deals with you ruthlessly!

Please note that this Note does not provide different ways to achieve the hearing of God and the blessings sought. There is only one way and that way is through dealing with sin so that you can prove to God you are living a repentant lifestyle.

Dear God, someone will read this Note and be convinced that the fruits of repentance are absent in their life. Mercifully lead them to Yourself and into reconciled obedience. Help us all to prove our repentance. Amen.

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