Come Down Lord: We Need You!
Praise the Lord. May you please open your Bibles to Isaiah chapter 63.
Today we will be looking at verse seventeen and going into verse two of chapter 64. But we will begin by reading from verses 15.
from your lofty throne, holy and glorious.
Where are your zeal and your might?
Your tenderness and compassion are withheld from us.
16 But you are our Father,
though Abraham does not know us
or Israel acknowledge us;
you, Lord, are our Father,
our Redeemer from of old is your name.
17 Why, Lord, do you make us wander from your ways
and harden our hearts so we do not revere you?
Return for the sake of your servants,
the tribes that are your inheritance.
18 For a little while your people possessed your holy place,
but now our enemies have trampled down your sanctuary.
19 We are yours from of old;
but you have not ruled over them,
they have not been called[c] by your name.
1 Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down,
that the mountains would tremble before you!
2 As when fire sets twigs ablaze
and causes water to boil,
come down to make your name known to your enemies
and cause the nations to quake before you!
Review & Introductory Remarks
We come back to the study of Isaiah's prophecy; and for you who were here last Sunday, we began to look at this passage where the Prophet opens his heart and pours it out to the Lord in some of the darkest moments in Israel's history ever. The Prophet, receiving revelation over the terrible times that are coming ahead of God's people, makes a prayer on their behalf. As he beckons God to look down from heaven and come down and rescue them from his divine wrath. You may remember as we said that Isaiah is living a time when things are falling apart. It is the seventh century, and God is people have broken covenant with God. God has withdrawn the impressions of His love and grace from them. In fact, judgment is knocking at their door as we speak. The Assyrians are already gearing for battle. And when they come, they will come like the locusts. They will destroy everything, they will Ravage the land. In fact, the 10 tribes of Israel will be taken into exile and scattered in the different corners of the world, never to return. That's how serious it is. A couple of years later, the nation of Judah, the South and the kingdom will be taken by Babylonians. And for 70 years, they will be in captivity, away from God's city, away from God's temple, away from everything dear that they have ever known as the covenant people of God.
And the prophet in a revelation looks at that time in the future, when God's people in this darkness, in the midst of this hopelessness and helplessness, they will remember who they are. They will remember who God used to be to them, and bowing down and falling on their knees, they will make this heart-rending the prayer, and they will implore God to come down. In this prayer, not only do we see the sovereignty of God, underscored by the prophet Isaiah, but emotional we see his holiness and the glory being central to this prayer. Isaiah recognizes that to God is unlike men, that white men are creatures that sin, that fail, that come and go, the Lord God is the everlasting one, the only one who can be counted on in good times and in bad times, and the God who unleashes judgment on anything that is unlike his holiness.
Isaiah recognizes that if God is going to judge his people, it's because he is a just God; that God indeed we will turn away his face from anything that is unholy. And when he does, so he righted and so because that is the kind of God he is: a glorious one, a holy one!
Isaiah recognizes that God's people deserve the judgment that they will be getting. Not only in this prayer do we see him confess that we have sinned and fallen short of your glory, but he even says, we now like those over whom you have never ruled. You cannot tell the difference between us and the pagans of our day! That's how serious they have fallen from God's grace and from God's glory.
The prophet Isaiah not only prays on behalf of these people, but he actually plays in mediatorial role. He anticipates a time when the Son of God, when the Savior of God's people will stand in the gap just like the Prophet is doing right now. An on behalf of God's people he will cry out on the Calvary's cross, and you'll hear him say, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."
The prophet in his limitedness as a human being plays that mediatorial role. He experiences the pain under the agony of God's people and he cries out just as Jesus we will do; only that to Jesus will do it much better; Jesus we will do it finally, Jesus will do it completely, and unlike Isaiah, Jesus will not just feel the pain of hurt, but he will die. He will give His life for the sinners, that God in acceptance of his perfect sacrifice, will even so, accept God's people. In this prayer, we actually see echoes of the gospel. Because what is the gospel really about? The gospel is about a sovereign God who is holy, a sovereign God who has created everything and is sovereign over all.
The Gospel is about a sovereign God who has not only created his people, but who recognizes that they have sinned and deserve not to be in his presence, yet out of His grace and mercy, out of his unconditional love, seeks out these very people and brings them back to himself.
The prophet Isaiah does not only tell us what God's people will do, but even more so, he centres God at the heart of this prayer and tells us what God will do; that God indeed, we will come down, that God indeed will hear their prayer because that is his nature. That God indeed will rescue them because he's a faithful God who keeps covenant.
Last Sunday we saw the prophet Isaiah crying out, and he's saying look down from heaven, oh Lord, because we miss you. We miss the expressions of your love that we once enjoyed. We miss you when you looked down and smiled upon us and your peace was ours and the joy of your salvation was our portion. But now we see none of those. Would you look down from heaven, Lord, we miss your smiling face. We miss your helping hand. We miss your caring heart. But in these passages that we read today, the prophet Isaiah even intensifies the pangs of this prayer. And he says, Lord, we even recognize that you looking down on us is not enough. If we are going to save us, if we are going to have another chance at being your people and enjoying your presence; you must not only look down on us, but you must come down.
From Isaiah 64:17, He says, "Why, Lord, do you make us wander from your ways, and harden our hearts so that we do not fear you? Return for the sake of your servants, the tribes that are your inheritance.
In Isaiah 64:1 he says, "Come down, Lord, because we need you. I want you to look at Isaiah 64:17 and you hear how Isaiah gives the reasons as to why God must come down. Why is it that the time is coming in Israel's future, when in the midst of despair and the serious crisis, God's people will cry out and say "we need you, please come down!"
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