Isaiah: Prayer of Repentance and for Mercy. Part Two.

“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.” (Isaiah 64:1-7)

Isaiah, in the context of praising God for His mercy (Isaiah 63:7-9) and for His faithfulness as in the days of old (Isaiah 63:10-14), offered a prayer of repentance on behalf of God’s people because of their desolate, spiritual condition. The prophet’s prayer also comprises all of chapter 64. The prayer is reminiscent of Daniel’s, which also was on behalf of God’s people, Israel (Daniel 9).

Have you every prayed and hoped that one day the LORD would descend from heaven and judge the wicked  once and for all and right all the wrongs which are being done. It’s hard not to when we witness the presence of evil ever growing in power, increasing in frequency, and intensifying in rage.

Isaiah expressed such sentiments. He prayed, ““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!” (Isaiah 64:1-2).

Isaiah’s response to his own prayer (63:19) was a plea that God would burst forth and execute sudden vengeance on the enemies of God’s people (cf. Ps. 18:7–9; 144:5Hab. 3:5–6). The prophet prayed that the LORD would reveal Himself as he did at Mount Sinai (Ex. 19:18Judg. 5:5Ps. 68:8Heb. 12:18–20). As God’s name is glorified through his redemption of His chosen people (Isa. 63:14), it will also have widespread acknowledgement because of his judgment against Israel’s enemies (Ps. 99:1).

Isaiah continued in prayer and said, “3When 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” (Isaiah 64:3-4). One more, the prophet invoked the memory of Mt. Sinai (Deuteronomy 10:1-21). The Apostle Paul echoed Isaiah’s words in I Corinthians 2:9 when he said, “But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.”

Isaiah concluded this portion of his prayer by saying, “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” (Isaiah 64:5-7).

As was the case when Isaiah caught a vision of the LORD’s holiness (Isaiah’s 6:1-7), direct exposure to the awesome character of God brings the sinner to the realization of their need for justification (Acts 16:26-30). A justification which is not in any way due to the sinner’s inherent righteousness, but rather by the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ (Romans 3:21-26; Philippians 3:1-9) by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone.

The truth of the gospel then remains the truth of the gospel today. The righteous shall live by faith (Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:16-17).

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

  

 

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