Isaiah 64

Isaiah 64

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 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 or fear of 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?

The people of Israel had witnessed the miraculous works of God, and yet, they craved more. In their sin, they realized there was something missing. They needed God to rescue them time and time again, but what they really desired was more of His presence and power. The opening verse is crying out for God to repeat His miraculous works of the past and tear the sky open to lead His people. It is a cry of desperation and despair. It is a cry that bellows out from the valley of their sinful choices.

“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 their last chance, the child returns 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. It’s one thing to know that we sinned but it is a somewhat different experience to grieve our sin because it has separated us from our source of life and light.

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. To feel separated from our God hits on another level. When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden they knew they were going against God’s instruction. However, it wasn’t until God called for them that they experienced the full shame of being separated from Him.

When we truly feel our sin at even a fraction of the way God feels it, it sets the stage for change. Sometimes we feel unworthy to even talk to God because of how badly we have messed things up. But the truth is, He wants to hear from us. When repentance happens, we 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.

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