Continuing from the previous chapter, Isaiah yearns for God’s deliverance and appearing.
Isaiah Chapter 64
Lessons from the text
God’s Abundant Grace
Since the beginning of the world, God has prepared a blessing for man. He made a beautiful garden where Adam and Eve could have lived forever. He never intended for them to be cast out; He had no desire to see sin enter His creation.
In John’s Gospel, Jesus tells His disciples that He is preparing them a place in heaven (14: 2-5). God is building a new home, a new garden of Eden as it were, where man can once again live in harmony with Him. If Adam and Eve had not sinned, there is no telling how wonderful and joyous their lives could have been. They could have received all the blessings of God without ever having to endure suffering, affliction, or oppression. They could have been untouched by sin and never had to experience the pain and destruction it causes.
In light of their rebellion, God began preparing a place for the redeemed man; a new home free from even the temptation of sin. What will it be like to be completely free from sin? No devil causing problems. No sickness. No emotional pain. Our lives are so engrained with the reality of these troubles that we cannot imagine a life free from all struggles. Yet such is exactly what God has promised, and more! As the next chapter will reveal, God has a wonderful plan and purpose for a new way of life for all those who are willing to wait on Him.
Verse by Verse Commentary
1-2 This refers to when God gave the ten commandments to Israel from Mount Sinai (Exo. 19:18). The description Moses and Isaiah provide is similar to a scene of an erupting volcano. God's presence is so powerful that it causes the mountains to melt, water to boil, and nations to tremble. Although God's presence is frightening, the believer yearns to behold the Almighty Creator.
3-4 Moses did not ask God for the ten commandments. The Jews did not ask God for the covenant of the Law. They did not ask God to build a dwelling place in their midst and to be with them as a cloud of glory by day and a pillow fire by night (Exo. 40:36-38).
To wait on the Lord is to have faith that God will do what He says He will do even when one cannot see any evidence that God is working. God promises to provide a special blessing for those faithful ones. The ultimate blessing, eternal life with Him, is too wondrous for the human mind to comprehend. Even John who saw the new creation in a vision has seen all that God has prepared for the believer. (See Jn. 14:2-5, Rev. 21:2)
5-6 In righteousness is life. Those who abide in it will continue forever and be saved from the wrath of God. However, Isaiah says that the Jews are withering because of wickedness. Even what righteousness they have is like a filthy rag. Sin deteriorates.
7 Because of their sin, God has removed Himself. Not only has God hid Himself, but the people are not seeking Him. This refers to the nation as a whole because Isaiah is seeking God, and God has revealed Himself to the prophet.
8-9 Repeating his plea from chapter 63, Isaiah submits himself and his nation to God’s care based on the covenant with God that He is their father. The clay is reminiscent of the creation of man when God formed Adam from the dust of the ground (Gen. 2:7). God established Israel as a nation, and Isaiah pleads with God to have mercy on them because they are under His authority. Isaiah knows that God does not delight in the sufferings of His people. Isaiah does not belittle Israel’s sin – he knows the nation is guilty. Nonetheless, he pleads to God for mercy to withhold His warranted anger against the people. In essence, Isaiah is saying, please do not destroy your own.
10-12 Isaiah finally states the reason for his prayer for mercy– Israel has been deported and the places built to honor God have been defiled. Isaiah is writing about one hundred years prior to the deportation, so he is seeing this desolation in a prophetic vision. The northern kingdom has been exiled by Assyria, but the temple in Jerusalem is not destroyed until 587 BC. Isaiah sees in a vision how the Babylonians will burn Jerusalem, and so he turns to God for mercy. God answers Isaiah's question about eighty years after Isaiah's death through the prophet Jeremiah: God will afflict Israel for seventy years and then restore them to their lands (Jer. 25:12).
Thank you for your faithfulness in studying God’s word.
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