64 Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down,
that the mountains might quake at your presence—
as when fire kindles brushwood
and the fire causes water to boil—
to make your name known to your adversaries,
and that the nations might tremble at your presence!
When you did awesome things that we did not look for,
you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.
From of old no one has heard
or perceived by the ear,
no eye has seen a God besides you,
who acts for those who wait for him.
You meet him who joyfully works righteousness,
those who remember you in your ways.
Behold, you were angry, and we sinned;
in our sins we have been a long time, and shall we be saved?
We have all become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.
We all fade like a leaf,
and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
There is no one who calls upon your name,
who rouses himself to take hold of you;
for you have hidden your face from us,
and have made us melt in the hand of our iniquities.
But now, O LORD, you are our Father;
we are the clay, and you are our potter;
we are all the work of your hand.
Be not so terribly angry, O LORD,
and remember not iniquity forever.
Behold, please look, we are all your people.
Your holy cities have become a wilderness;
Zion has become a wilderness,
Jerusalem a desolation.
Our holy and beautiful house,
where our fathers praised you,
has been burned by fire,
and all our pleasant places have become ruins.
Will you restrain yourself at these things, O LORD?
Will you keep silent, and afflict us so terribly?
Isaiah 64 Commentary
by Hank Workman
Waiting. We hate it. We hate to wait in traffic. We loathe waiting for an appointment. At the checkout line, if we find ourselves standing too long, we get irritable. But when it comes to waiting on God to move – now that is the hardest thing ever.
The people of Israel are at that same point. Within this prayer, the desire is made known that God would simply show up. “Rend the heavens; come down here!” is what they plead. “Show your enemies who really is in charge.” They’re begging for God to intervene. Although they remember His faithfulness in the past, the current gets the better of them. Interestingly though, they recognize it’s been the sin in their lives, as a nation that is causing some issues. Until their sin is cleaned up, they may wait longer for the answer they seek.
There’s much to be said about this. There can be various reasons we wait for the answers of which we seek. Sometimes it is simply not the timing of God for what we’re asking. Other times, those on the other end of our prayers are not responding as they should, which could affect us. But there are those times when our waiting on God to answer, to intervene is based solely on our own disobedience and sin.
It really is worth considering if we find ourselves in such a place where the hold button has been pressed. What is God doing or not doing based on our own placement? Has this waiting been self-inflicted or is because there’s a bigger picture we have yet to see? Simply some of the puzzle pieces have not been put together yet.
The remarkable aspect of this prayer is they cried out for God to move. They remembered His faithfulness in the past. They then turned toward an introspective look and recognized their own flaws and sins. Ultimately, they decided no matter what, they were clay in His hand and declared His Lordship.
If you’re in a waiting place right now, maybe this would be a good place to start as you follow the same order and seek God for answers. Remember His faithfulness. Recall all the ways He’s provided and how He’s answered before. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal anything that He’s not pleased with. Ultimately, surrender what He brings to your attention.
Isaiah 64 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
What does it really look like to come before God in humility and express your deepest grief for the sins of you and your people? I’m not talking about grief for consequences. I’m not even talking about grief or fear of eternal punishment. Taking those reasons out of the equation, what does it really look like to fall at the feet of the Father and cry out in desperation to Him?
This is the picture I get from this chapter. Read the language that is being used.
All of us have been sinful; even our best actions are filthy through and through. Because of our sins we are like leaves that wither and are blown away by the wind.Isaiah 64:6 GNB
so do not be too angry with us or hold our sins against us forever. We are your people; be merciful to us.Isaiah 64:9 GNB
LORD, are you unmoved by all this? Are you going to do nothing and make us suffer more than we can endure?Isaiah 64:12 GNB
Like a son or daughter who has squandered every last chance, the child comes back to the Father begging to be forgiven once again. The real tension of this chapter is the expression of the people feeling their sin instead of just knowing it. A lot of times, knowledge doesn’t necessarily produce action. We can know we are offending God but comparatively feel like we are “good enough.” We can know that we are hating others but if it’s in our minds then we seem to think it’s not so bad. We justify what we know all the time.
When we truly feel our sin at even a fraction of the way God feels it, change begins. Repentance happens and we start to grow. But we can’t get there if we come half-hearted. I have heard people say, I don’t really repent, I just try and do better next time. That is the result of someone who really doesn’t feel their sin like God does. When we take sin seriously, we understand the tremendous price that was paid at the cross for it! We are brought to life by amazing grace. Do not let yourself be tricked into simply knowing your sin, but pray for the conviction to feel it. We are all a work in progress.