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FRAMEWORKS: Isaiah 64: Further appeals to the Lord


[Preliminary notes: Having caught the sense of the Lord's heart to come to His people, Isaiah pours forth his intercessory heart of prayer. He yearns for the Lord to come and bring change [v.1,2] to do wonderful things as He's done in the past [v.3,4]. He acknowledges their sin and wonders how God can possibly come to their aid in the light of this [v.5-7]. He reminds the Lord of the relationship He has with them [v.8] and he pleads for Him to have mercy [v.9] because Judah [v.10] and the temple are desolate [v.11] so wonders how the Lord can hold back in the light of this [v.12].

Now we have to recognise and accept that Isaiah is almost certainly seeing into the future an, although there is no doubt that the state of the city and the temple was rundown [e.g. see 2 Chron 29], the language of this chapter indicates something far worse and can only refer to the destruction of the temple in 587BC by Nebuchadnezzar. As Isaiah catches this prophetic sense about the future of Jerusalem, he is driven to prayer.]



v.1 The prophet yearns for the Lord to come down…

v.1  Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down,
    that the mountains would tremble before you!

v.2 …because he knows when He does things will change

v.2  As when fire sets twigs ablaze
    and causes water to boil,
come down to make your name known to your enemies
    and cause the nations to quake before you!

v.3 The Lord has done it in the past…

v.3  For when you did awesome things that we did not expect,
    you came down, and the mountains trembled before you.

v.4 …He had done things never seen before

v.4  Since ancient times no one has heard,
    no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides you,
    who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.

v.5 He wonders how the Righteous One can help them now

v.5  You come to the help of those who gladly do right,
    who remember your ways.
But when we continued to sin against them,
    you were angry.
    How then can we be saved?

v.6 They are utterly polluted by sin

v.6  All of us have become like one who is unclean,
    and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
    and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

v.7 No one cares about the Lord

v.7  No one calls on your name
    or strives to lay hold of you;
for you have hidden your face from us
    and have given us over to our sins.


v.8 But He's still their Father, the Potter

v.8  Yet you, Lord, are our Father.
    We are the clay, you are the potter;
    we are all the work of your hand.

v.9 He pleads for the Lord to have mercy and forgive

v.9  Do not be angry beyond measure, Lord;
    do not remember our sins for ever.
Oh, look upon us we pray,
    for we are all your people.

v.10 The cities of Judah are desolate

v.10  Your sacred cities have become a wasteland;
    even Zion is a wasteland, Jerusalem a desolation.

v.11 He sees the temple destroyed

v.11  Our holy and glorious temple, where our ancestors praised you, has been burned with fire,
    and all that we treasured lies in ruins.

v.12 Can God not act in the light of all this?

v.12  After all this, Lord, will you hold yourself back?
    Will you keep silent and punish us beyond measure?



Continue to Chapter 65