Summary: Though we are not a post-exilic community, like the one in today’s text we too, want relief from our disasters of this tumultuous year. The one thing that quarantine has in common with being exiled is isolation. ... We too, want God to act and fix things.

IS ISAIAH CRYING MARANTHA? (Advent 1 December 2020)

Text: Isaiah 64:1 - 9

O that you would tear open the heavens and come down, so that the mountains would quake at your presence— 2 as when fire kindles brushwood and the fire causes water to boil— to make your name known to your adversaries, so that the nations might tremble at your presence! 3 When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect, you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence. 4 From ages past no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who works for those who wait for him. 5 You meet those who gladly do right, those who remember you in your ways. But you were angry, and we sinned; because you hid yourself we transgressed. 6 We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. 7 There is no one who calls on your name,

or attempts to take hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us, and have delivered us into the hand of our iniquity. 8 Yet, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. 9 Do not be exceedingly angry, O LORD, and do not remember iniquity forever. Now consider, we are all your people.

In the New Testament, there is a word (Maranantha) that of significance is found in I Corinthians 16:22: “If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha” (KJV). [Marantha] “… consists of two Aramean words, Maran'athah, meaning, "our Lord comes," or is "coming." If the latter interpretation is adopted, the meaning of the phrase is, "Our Lord is coming, and he will judge those who have set him at nought."" Paul used this word during a time when Christians were being persecuted. There are some in today’s world who would slight the church, forbid worship services but keep the liquor stores and strip joints open.

In today’s text, Isaiah in the midst of a difficult time. “Confronted with the desolation of the community in the post-exilic setting, and having recounted something of the tumultuous relationship between God and God's people, the plea is for God to intervene in a way that will cause the very creation to shake (64:1-2)”. Though we are not a post-exilic community, like the one in today’s text we too, want relief from our disasters of this tumultuous year. The one thing that quarantine has in common with being exiled is isolation. We too, want relief from all of the Covid 19 problems, unrest, the unsettled election. We too, want God to act and fix things. Isaiah 64:5 and 7 mentions how Isaiah described God as hiding. We too might even feel like God has been hiding from us this year. God always has a way to get the attention of His people when they have neglected to listen to prophetic warnings. Sometimes it is through our self-made sinful circumstances that God may let us reap the consequences of what has been sown.

Are we allowing God to mold us as a potter molds clay?

There are three themes that are interwoven in this passage of scripture which are sovereignty, reverence and waiting.


Have you ever wanted God to use His sovereignty---His absolute power to fix things with our enemies? The late J. Vernon McGee draws some interesting parallels between Isaiah’s day and ours: “Just as fire makes water boil, so the presence of God would make the nations tremble. Today the nations are not conscious of the existence of God. There are people who wonder how we can sit down with godless nations like Russia or China. The reason is that we are just about as godless as they are. In our day the nations of the world are not turning to God, nor do they recognize Him. However, as the end of the age approaches, I believe there will be a very real consciousness that God is getting ready to break through. There was that consciousness throughout the world at the time of the birth of Christ, and several Roman historians have called attention to that fact. McGee, J. V. (1991). Thru the Bible commentary: The Prophets (Isaiah 36-66) (electronic ed., Vol. 23, p. 186). Nashville: Thomas Nelson. How many nations recognize God and God’s people today? How many are turning to God?

Who likes trouble?

1) Insurance: We all like insurance and how it corresponds to our needs in health, accidents, dental, travel and so on. “You know its going to be a bad day when you wake up in the hospital in traction and your insurance agent tells you that your accident policy covers falling off the roof, but it doesn’t cover hitting the ground.” (Michael E. Hodgin. ed. 1002 Humorous Stories. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2004, p. 371). Salvation is about a relationship with the Savior. It is not supposed to be fire insurance! Insurance cannot deliver us from troubles, adversity and suffering!

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