Isaiah 59 – Sin, Confession, and Redemption & Why Did Jesus Pray and Fast?

Finger Pointing UpI think a lot of people don’t really realize what Jesus went through, you know, Him being You.   I used to think that Jesus being crucified was no big thing to Him since He was Your son, but he was just a peon human like us, but He had top-notch faith.  And we need to follow His ways, to look to You first:

1 Jerusalems Ancient City of Quarries
A quarry from the time of the Second Temple, along with various tools and a 2,000-year-old key, were uncovered in Jerusalem.

Jerusalem’s Ancient ‘City of Quarries’ Reveals City-Building Rocks
A huge quarry, along with tools and a key, used by workers some 2,000 years ago have been discovered during an excavation in Jerusalem prior to the paving of a highway, the Israel Antiquities Authorities (IAA) announced.

The first-century quarry, which fits into the Second Temple Period (538 B.C. to A.D. 70), would’ve held the huge stones used in the construction of the city’s ancient buildings, the researchers noted.

Archaeologists also uncovered pick axes and wedges among other artifacts at the site in the modern-day Ramat Shlomo Quarter, a neighborhood in northern East Jerusalem.

“The quarrying phenomenon created a spectacular sight of bedrock columns and steps and craters of sorts that were the result of the rock-cuttings,” Irina Zilberbod, IAA excavation director, said in a statement. “What remained are rock masses in various stages of quarrying, and there were those that were found in a preliminary stage of rock-cutting prior to detachment.”

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt 6:33).

“For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Rom 14:17).

1 Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy that it cannot hear:

2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

3 For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness.

4 None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity.

5 They hatch cockatrice’ eggs, and weave the spider’s web: he that eateth of their eggs dieth, and that which is crushed breaketh out into a viper.

6 Their webs shall not become garments, neither shall they cover themselves with their works: their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands.

“Webs…garments” – their acts of injustice and violence for security are as worthless as garments made of spider webs.

7 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.

59:7-8 – quoted in part in Rom 3:15-17 by Paul to show the universality of sin.

8 The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace.

9  Therefore is judgment far from us, neither doth justice overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness.

10 We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes: we stumble at noonday as in the night; we are in desolate places as dead men.

“We grope…like the blind…at noonday” – the fulfillment of the curse for disobedience in Deut 28:29.

11 We roar all like bears, and mourn sore like doves: we look for judgment, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far off from us.

12 For our transgressions are multiplied before thee, and our sins testify against us: for our transgressions are with us; and as for our iniquities, we know them;

“Our iniquities, we know them” – Like Ezra (9:6-7), Isaiah confesses the sins of the nation.  In this verse he uses the three most common Hebrew words for evil thoughts and deeds.

13 In transgressing and lying against the LORD, and departing away from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood.

2 Tools
Various tools, including a 2,000-year-old key (center of image), were also discovered at the Second Temple quarry in Jerusalem.

Some of the huge stones would’ve reached about 6.5 feet (2 meters) in length and weighed tens if not hundreds of tons, the researchers said.

In total, the team uncovered an area of around 11,000 square feet (1,000 square meters) where the ancient quarry would’ve existed. The quarry connects with other previously identified quarries, all of which seem to be situated in Jerusalem’s so-called “city of quarries” dating to the Second Temple period.

In a dig reported in 2007 and completed before the construction of an elementary school in the Ramat Shlomo Quarter, IAA scientists had uncovered another Second Temple quarry. The stones from this quarry, some of which reached 26 feet (8 m) in length, would have been used by King Herod for his Temple at the Temple Mount and other monumental buildings, according to the IAA and news reports. (Temple Mount, also called Noble Sanctuary by Muslims, is a religious site in the Holy Land of Jerusalem.)

As for what made this area in Jerusalem such a draw for rocks, the researchers suggest the Meleke rock formation there may be part of the reason. Meleke rock, they say, is easily quarried and hardens immediately after being cut and shaped (or hewn). Also, this area would’ve been elevated above the city of Jerusalem during the Second Temple period, possibly making transport of the enormous stones easier since the trek would’ve been downhill.

In fact, researchers discovered a first-century road adjacent to the quarry that may have been used for stone transport.

The scientists aren’t certain how exactly the giant stones would’ve been moved along this road. They suspect oxen and wooden rollers would’ve done the trick, but some historical records note giant wood-lifting devices were around at the time and may have been used.

14 And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.

15 Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment.

16 And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him.

“Righteousness as a breastplate” – the Lord’s armor is compared to the believer’s armor in the battle against Satan in Eph 6:14.

17 For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke.

18 According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay, fury to his adversaries, recompense to his enemies; to the islands he will repay recompense.

“Adversaries…enemies” – God will judge the nations, but He must also punish wicked Israel’s.  only the remnant will be blessed.

19 So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.

“From the west…rising of the sun” – all nations will see God’s saving work in behalf of His people.

“Flood” – the coming of the Lord will be irresistible, like an “overflowing stream” that overwhelms the enemy.

20 And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD.

21 As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and forever.

Why Did Jesus Pray and Fast?

Jesus never sinned, so why did He fast and pray?  Remember that even though Jesus is God, He lowered Himself to became a part of the human race:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Words was God.

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth (Jn 1:1, 14, also see 1 Tim 3:16).

Jesus became human for two reasons:

1 To save us from hell.

2 To show us how stand against the devil.

Jesus had the same temptations that we have:

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it (1 Cor 10:13).

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:

(For weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to pull down the strong holds) (2 Cor 10:3-4).

Even though Jesus was fully God, He was also fully human, and being a human He couldn‘t beat the devil on His own any more than we can, He needed the strength of the Father.  And He got that strength through prayer, fasting, and walking with God.

Why can’t we stand against the devil like Jesus?  Simply because we are not God nor do we have the faith that Jesus had.  Some will say that we can’t because we were born into sin, that is not exactly correct, but being born into sin does make things difficult.  But Adam and Eve were not born into sin and they couldn’t handle the devil either.

“Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made.  And he said unto the woman, Yeah, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the Garden.

And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:

But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

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“Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;

That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly” (Matt 6:16-18).

Fasting is strictly a personal thing between you and God and is no one else’s business. If you tell people that you are fasting, they might think you’re boasting about it or they might think you’re acting self-righteously. 

That’s because we are to fast not to be seen by men but only by the father and this should be done in secret where only He can see it.  If you do it to be seen by others, you’ve already gotten your reward and there will be no further.

For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof then your eyes shall be opened and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof and did eat and gave also unto her husband with her and he did eat” (Gen 3:1-6).

When God made the angels He game them freewill and that is why Lucifer is no longer Lucifer, but Satan, the devil.  God also gave Adam and Eve freewill and they failed just like Satan did.  They failed because of Satan:

“Let no man say when he is tempted I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth her any man:

But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed.

Then when lust hath conceived it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished bringeth forth death” (Jas 1:13-15).

God gives everyone freewill, including Jesus and the devil tempted Jesus (Matt 41-11), but unlike Adam and Eve Jesus kept his freewill in the Spirit, not in the flesh:

“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

Now the works of the flesh are manifest which are these; Adultery, fornication uncleanness, lasciviousness,

Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

Envying’s, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Gal 5:17-23) (Gal 5:17-23 v. 22-23 is what God is, what Jesus is).

Prior to Jesus ministering he prayed and fasted for 40 days (Matt 4:2), but He prayed throughout His life on earth.  He even prayed to the Father in our behalf (Jn 17).

We do not pray or fast for our benefit, but for God’s, as Jesus did and the following scriptures shows that Jesus was no stronger than any man on earth, but He was true to God:

“Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.

And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.

Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.

And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?

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“So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them” (Jon 3:5).

One of the best examples of repentance is from the ancient city-state of Nineveh.  This was not just a city but a nation and a powerful nation that was a natural enemy of Israel and had been a thorn in her side for years.  That explains why Jonah ran from God for so long but no one can go to where God is not already there.  This fast in Nineveh was ordered by the king and so from the “greatest of them (the king) down to the least of them” the entire city-state fasted and by their show of repentance, they stayed the hand of God’s wrath upon Nineveh.

Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.

And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy.

And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.

Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners” (Matt 26:36-45).

Jesus didn’t have enough strength of His own to be crucified for us, so He went to the source – prayer.

Tomorrow we’ll look at the offering of King Ashyahu.

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