Isaiah 59:21 NIV
“As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the Lord. “My Spirit, who is on you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will not depart from your mouth, or from the mouths of your children, or from the mouths of their descendants from this time on and forever,” says the Lord.
My grandparents were pioneers in western Oklahoma. They experienced Pentecost in the early 1930’s. My father became a pastor in 1951. I married a minister and we have two children in full time ministry. Now I believe that is four generations with the fifth generation rising in our grandchildren. How has that happened? Of course, by the grace of God but also because each generation made covenant with God.
This verse is in the context of great darkness, wickedness and injustice.
Verse 14 “Justice is turned away backward, and righteousness (uprightness and right standing with God) stands far off; for truth has fallen in the street (the city’s forum), and uprightness cannot enter [the courts of justice]. 15 Yes, truth is lacking, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. And the Lord saw it, and it displeased Him that there was no justice.” AMP
Every generation has its share of wickedness and wonders if there is any hope. My parents and grandparents saw wickedness in their day as being so bad, that Jesus would have to return soon.
But what does the God of justice say in such a time?
Verses 16-18 tell us that He looked for someone to intercede in behalf of righteousness and justice. When there was no one He became the intercessor. Thank God Jesus ever lives to intercede for us! He is still looking in this wicked time for those who will join Him in intercession for truth and justice.
In this context we find the words we have often quoted:
“When the enemy comes in like a flood, The Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.”
Isai 59:19 (NKJV)
Recently, I discovered a specific Hebrew meaning for two words in that verse.
First, enemy is defined as distress; despair. “In this usage the word tsar represents a psychological or spiritual status. (Vines Expository Dictionary, OT: 6862) You need not look far to find this enemy of distress and despair. This year I have been challenged by the Lord to contend for justice and righteousness against the wickedness of human trafficking. Sad to say, it is rampant in our nation.
“An estimated 300,00 children and adolescents are the victims of domestic trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation in the US every year”. (Courageous Compassion, Beth Grant, My Healthy Church Publisher, Springfield, MO. 2014. P137)
Victims are tricked into a trap of unspeakable wickedness. They are distressed beyond words and are threatened if they make any attempt to escape. Injustice has prevailed against the victim and for the perpetrators. Light has begun to penetrate the deception and bring a change in many states.
As much as we need laws that uphold justice for the innocent, the government will never provide freedom for anyone enslaved by wickedness. We, the church, are the only ones who can offer the true way of escape!
Now we find the second word with a specific Hebrew meaning in the verse. The Spirit of the Lord will raise us a STANDARD.
The word for standard according to Vines Expository Dictionary, OT:5127), is “Nuc is the common word for “fleeing” from an enemy or danger.” Those who are held captive need to escape, flee from the danger they are held in. They must be rescued and brought to the True Escape named Jesus!!
Since He has become our standard bearer – our Deliverer, our Hope, our Salvation – we can now rise up by the Spirit of the Lord and lift the standard by our intercession and actions. We cry out for justice, for release of the captive, for restoration of the broken and deliverance for the captors.
Past generations have watched wickedness manifest in our land in abortion, immorality and perversion. We sat by and began to accept such deception as the way it is. God forbid we continue to follow that pattern. Let us begin to declare the covenant of love and hope to a generation in despair. It is time for the church to rise up and cry out for justice! The righteous will show the unconditional love of God to all who are held captive by the enemy.
We are now the ones who are filled with the Spirit of the Lord to lift up the STANDARD of Jesus. With the enemy of despair and distress increasing, we lift up a covenant of hope. With truth being called a lie and right being called wrong, we lift up the covenant of righteousness. With injustice rampant in our world, we lift up the covenant of justice.
Our world, particularly this generation, is crying for hope and justice. We know the only true source of hope and justice! We must become a people of hope in a world of despair. Our prayers and our actions are the only means to manifest the true and living God of hope.
By Frances Pike