So often we have a tendency to take breaks in our reading of Scripture where we shouldn’t pause. Many times this is a natural occurrence because of the chapter and verse divisions that, although they are extremely helpful, at times suggest a change in thought. But today the division between Chapter 63 and Chapter 64 is one of those times where there should be a huge sign reading, “Don’t Stop!:”
In 63 Isaiah is pouring out his confession of the sins of his people. In v. 16 he offers this remarkable admission, “For you are our Father, though Abraham does not know us, and Israel does not acknowledge us; you, O Lord, are our Father, our Redeemer from of old is your name.” He says, in essence, we really are your people though we haven’t been acting like it. Then in v. 19 he sums it all up with the depth of their sin, “We have become like those over whom you have never ruled, like those who are not called by your name.”
Now don’t stop!
Go on into Chapter 64 and see what Isaiah begs God to do because of how sinful the people have become. “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!” (1-2) Isaiah asks God to literally split the sky open and show up in all his might and glory as he has done in the past. The chapter (and prayer) ends with this pitiful, plaintiff cry to God, “Will you restrain yourself at these things, O Lord?
Will you keep silent, and afflict us so terribly?” (12)
Oh, how easy it is to jump forward to our day. No, our nation is not God’s chosen people. But it is a nation that has plunged to the depths in its sinfulness before God. Where are God’s people who, like Isaiah, are so burdened about the sin around them that they literally cry out to God and ask him to “rend the heavens and come down.”
Prayer: Oh, God, do it again. As you have done so many times in such marvelous ways, send revival to your people and spiritual awakening to our land. Bring us to the end of ourselves. Manifest your glory in our midst that your people and so many who will come to you may rejoice in you.