Isaiah 57:1-2 express alarm at the fact that people were indifferent to the death of righteous and devout men. Verses 3-13 are addressed to those who kept clinging to idolatry, in spite of the experience of the exile. Much of the blame for this can be put on the religious and political leaders who failed to provide godly leadership (56:9-12).
God summoned the idolaters to draw near to hear the charges against them (57:3). Those charges included: blasphemous mockery (57:4), cultic prostitution (57:5a, 7-8), child sacrifice (57:5b), the offering of sacrifices (57:6), and the paying of homage to idols by trusting in the kings of other nations who worshiped them (57:9).
Verse 10 describes the state of those addicted to idolatry. They were tired of it but not enough to forsake it. Verses 11-13 stress the futility of trusting in anything or anyone other than God.
God’s Constant Effort to Restore Sinners
What did God do in an effort to restore sinners to Himself?
God commanded His prophet to prepare the way for His people to return to Him by removing any and all obstacles that would hinder their return (57:14).
God declared that He dwells with and has intimate fellowship with those who are humble and contrite (57:15) to the end that they will be revitalized (57:16).
Verse 17 declares that many people continued to backslide in spite of the severe judgment they had experienced in the exile.
Verse 18 accentuates the grace and mercy of God as He announces that He will heal, lead, and restore His erring people. They will know peace (57:19) as opposed to the wicked whose lives are as restless as the sea (57:20) and no know peace (57:21).
Practical Consideration: God takes the initiative in paving the way for sinners to come to Him.
Isaiah often spoke of a way, highway, or roadway (see, for example, Isaiah 11:16; 40:3-4; 43:16, 19; 49:11 and 57:14) which God would make in order to make it possible for people to come to Him. God has always taken the initiative in paving the way for people to come to Him. Jesus said, “I am the way … no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6). Those wishing to come to God must travel over His highway. All other ways lead nowhere.