Summary: With longing in his heart, Isaiah remembers the time in Israel’s history when God dwelt among His people, and expresses his strong desire for its return, as well as the remedy for its absence.
PLEADING FOR GOD’S PRESENCE
Text: Isaiah 64
Intro: Isaiah the prophet was a highly esteemed citizen of Jerusalem, who enjoyed access to the royal court; and who later became the trusted advisor to king Hezekiah. His ministry basically involved the preaching of judgment against Judah. This was due to the fact that Judah had forsaken God, and had begun to trust in foreign powers for protection instead of Jehovah. This brought God’s disfavor and stern protest via the prophet Isaiah.
As we enter into chapter 64, we find Isaiah pleading for the help of God. The nation had long been without the power, presence, and protection of God, bringing near disastrous results. Isaiah however, remembered how it was when the children of Israel enjoyed the presence of God, and longed for the return of God’s presence.
In this portion of scripture Isaiah shares three basic thoughts with God in prayer. First, he shares his desire for the return of God’s presence. Secondly, Isaiah confesses the sinful condition of the children of Israel, which presently withheld the presence of God from them. And thirdly, Isaiah briefly outlines what must be done for God’s presence to be restored.
We would do well to take heed to Isaiah’s prayer, for in it we find many of the same conditions true of God’s people today. Many, if not most churches of our day have lost the reality of God’s presence. If there is anything that the Church of Jesus Christ cannot afford to do without, it is the presence of Almighty God. And it is the absence of that most vital ingredient that has produced the obvious deadness our churches now exhibit.
As for myself, I had rather not preach than to stand behind this pulpit knowing that God’s presence and power would not be upon me. To do otherwise would simply be a waste of my time, as well as yours. If you have ever really been in the presence of God, dead religious activity will never satisfy.
Let’s examine Isaiah’s desperate plea for the presence of God and see if there are any applications that can be made to God’s people and church of today.
Theme: Isaiah’s prayer reveals:
I. THE DESIRE FOR THE RETURN OF GOD’S PRESENCE
A. Isaiah Remembered How God Once Dwelt In Their Midst.
Isa.64: 1 “Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at they presence,
2 As when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence!”
1. Isaiah is alluding to God’s coming down upon Mt. Sinai to give the Law to His people.
Ex.19: 10 “And the Lord said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes,
11 And be ready against the third day: for the third day the Lord will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai.”
NOTE:  Isaiah was thinking back to the days when God was openly and obviously present with His people. His heart longed for the return to those days when God was so real to the children of Israel. But alas, Israel had strayed from God, causing Him to withdraw His presence. Sin always puts God at a distance. Isaiah spoke of this in Isa.59: 2, where he said, “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.”
 It is interesting that while visiting an archeological site on the Web some time ago (09/07/2000), I watched a video of a man by the name of Ron Wyatt, who believes he has found the historic site of Mt. Sinai. Galatians 4: 25 says that this mountain is in Arabia. However, what is really interesting is that Ex.19: 18 says, “And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire…” When Mr. Wyatt showed pictures of the mountain he believed to be the ancient Mt. Sinai, the whole top of the mountain appeared to be blackened and charred.
2. Isaiah was referring to how the people of Israel were awed by the powerful presence of God at Sinai.
Ex.19: 16 “And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled.”
Ex.20: 18 “And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off.