I believe you may be referring (in both of your quotations) to Isaiah 59:1-2, so let’s read those verses: “Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear” (NKJV). First of all, who is the Lord speaking to? The answer is given in the previous chapter, “Tell My people their transgression, and the HOUSE OF JACOB their sins” (58:1). The “house of Jacob” obviously refers to “the nation of ISRAEL.” In these two chapters He is pleading with them to repent of their sins which are keeping Him from blessing them. In 58:2-5 He reveals their hypocrisy, for they were “going through the motions” of approaching Him and afflicting their souls but it was not in reality. In truth THEIR HEARTS WERE FAR FROM HIM! The Lord Jesus spoke of this same thing when He was here among His earthly people, “Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophecy about you, saying: ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me” (Matthew 15:7-8). In verses 6-7 He informs them of what He required from them (which was reality that would involve acts of righteousness springing from a righteous heart). And finally in verses 8-14 He promises to bless them with His presence and His guidance if they truly repent and live righteous lives for His honor and glory.

In 59:1 He encourages them by reminding them that His “hand is not shortened that it cannot save, nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear.” But in order to “save them” and “hear them” they needed to judge their sins that separated Him from them and prevented Him from blessing them with His salvation (vs. 2). If you read on in verses 3-8 the Lord lists very specific sins that they were guilty of in order to convict them of sin and to bring them to repentance.

In contrast to this let us consider the words of David in Psalm 66:13-14, 16-20: “I will go into Your house with burnt offerings; I will pay You my vows, and my mouth has spoken when I was in trouble…I cried to Him with my mouth and He was extolled with my tongue. IF I REGARD INIQUITY IN MY HEART THE LORD WILL NOT HEAR. BUT CERTAINLY GOD HAS HEARD ME; HE HAS ATTENDED TO THE VOICE OF MY PRAYER. Blessed be God, Who has not turned away my prayer, nor His mercy from me!” David, at this point in his life, was living a righteous life, one free from hypocrisy and sin, and thus when he approached God in worship and prayer, THE LORD HEARD HIM! Yet he did realize “if I regard iniquity in my heart the Lord will not hear,” but he had the inner assurance that the Lord was near and heard his prayer because he was, by the grace of God, living a life pleasing to the Lord. He had “no sins to judge and repent of” at this time and thus his heart was free to praise the Lord and ask for His help, and the Lord did hear and save.

Is there a message for us (i.e. believers in Jesus Christ) in this? Most assuredly! We too must be living godly lives with hearts that are “genuine” and thus “free from hypocrisy.” If we are, we can act on God’s invitation to us in Hebrews 10:19 & 22, “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus…Let us draw near with a TRUE HEART IN FULL ASSURANCE OF FAITH, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” May the love of Christ compel us to live for Him who died for us and rose again (see 2nd Corinthians 5:14-15), for when we do we will indeed find ourselves retreating often into God’s very presence with “a true heart in full assurance of faith.”  (436.3)  (DO)