Summary: Isaiah desired the miracle-working power of God to visit His people. But there were three things that prevented God from doing His work amongst them.
“Blueprint For Blessing”
Summary: “Lord, why don’t you visit your people and bless them?”
Isaiah was one of the greatest of the Hebrew prophets. His ministry emphasized the spiritual vacuum of Judah because of their idolatry and apostasy against the living God. And it was through his ministry that Isaiah sought the salvation of Judah from her disobedient ways.
Isaiah 64 is a continuation of the prayer Isaiah began in Isa. 63:15. "Lord, look down from heaven." In this prayer Isaiah pleads for God’s visitation to come upon Judah again (v.1). Isaiah’s desire was to witness a visible and dramatic manifestation of God’s power and presence. Isaiah knew his history and he knew his God (v.4). He knew what God had done in the past (eg. Egypt). He was tired of the mess that God’s people were in (see 63:17-19). He was tired of the usual, the common acceptance of their situation. Isaiah was one of those prophets who desired to see the unusual, to see the hand of God visit His people in a miraculous way.
In Isaiah 64:1-3 Isaiah expressed his desire to see the miracle-working power of God manifested in the midst of His people. Isaiah has been reviewing a tragic past (63:17-19) and he believed with all his heart that it didn’t have to be like that; the Lord’s mere presence would have altered everything. Isaiah had a tremendous desire to see God at work amongst His people.
Do we have that same desire that Isaiah had so long ago?
Do we desire to see God visit us in our situation?
Do we desire the miracle-working power of God to intervene on our behalf?
Isaiah, in his prayer, pleads with God on behalf of God’s unchangeableness - vv.4-5a. In essence he was saying, “Lord God, because you are always the same…because your character never changes…please reveal yourself again in all your mercy and grace.”
Yet, when we read the Bible, we read about a different world and a different time. We read of something that happened thousands of years ago. We read about, (1) God’s dealings with Abraham, Moses, and David; (2) Prophets denouncing idolatry and announcing judgement; (3) Man of Galilee and his miracles, teaching, dying, and rising from the dead; (4) Letters from Christian leaders to various churches. It is all very interesting, yet so very far away. It all seems to belong to another world, not to this world in which we live. It is as though Christians are on the outside of the Bible world looking in and saying, “Yes God did all that, but how does it help us who live in the space age?” We cannot see how the two worlds link up and therefore there is no application for us to consider. Some people find it difficult to believe that God can work today in the same way He did back then.
How can we overcome this sense of remoteness?
What is the link between the Bible world and our world?
The answer to these questions lies in the fact of an unchanging living God. For the God with whom they had to do, is the same God with whom we have to do. God’s life, character, truth, ways, and purposes do not change!
If our God is the same God found in both the OT and NT, and he is the same God that the saints of old had to do with that we have to do with, how can we justify ourselves in resting content with an experience of communion with Him, and a level of Christian conduct, that falls far below theirs?
Yes, Isaiah declares, “Lord, revisit your people because you never change”. But there is a problem with the people. There is a reason why God has not revisited them. There are several reasons why in fact Isaiah does pray this way.
If we have the same desire to see God revisit us in power and blessing, what stands between us and the miracle-working power of God?
1) Uncleanness - vv.5b-6
You see, the problem was that God’s people were in sin. And it is the same problem today as to why God will not reveal Himself in a mighty way. It is because we too have sinned. But it is not that our sins are dirty before a holy God, it is our righteousness that is filthy. Sin is a barrier between us and the living God.
Our righteousness, the very best of our personality, the very best of our performances, the very best of all that we are, is nothing but corruption in God’s sight. What we might think to be good is evil in God’s sight. The barrier that prevents the miracle-working power of God in our midst is uncleanness. As Christians we need to serve and love the Lord with pure hearts and pure motives, “Be holy, for I am holy.” Uncleanness separates us from God.