Isaiah 64 – Isaiah’s Intercessory Prayer to the LORD
Continuing our study of Isaiah, the prophet foretold God’s judgment of Judah, and the imminent destruction of the city of Jerusalem. Isaiah had confessed the sins of His people (Isaiah 63:17-19), and acknowledged their disobedience would bring judgment. In the immediate, Babylon would destroy Jerusalem and the Temple. There was also, however, a far-reaching implication of the prophecy that is still future.
Isaiah’s Appeal for God to Display His Power (64:1-5a)
The prophet longed for the LORD to come down to His people as He did on Mount Sinai when God had revealed His presence to Israel in thunder, lightning, and a thick cloud (Exodus 19:16-19). Isaiah prayed for God’s vengeance upon the enemies of His people (64:2). He longed for the LORD to display His power (64:3), and remind the people He was their Creator (64:4-5a).
Isaiah Confessed the Sins of His Nation (64:5b-7)
The prophet not only confessed the sins of Judah, but he also confessed the universality of man’s sin. That is, without exception, all men and women are sinners by birth (64:5). Isaiah confessed, “we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses [our best attempt at keeping the law and commandments] are as filthy rags[bloody, soiled rags]” (64:6).
Isaiah observed the sinful hearts of the people, and acknowledged, there was “none that calleth upon [the LORD’s]name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee” (64:7a). He acknowledged, the LORD Who is Holy and therefore will not look upon sin, had turned his face (his blessings and mercies) from the people. As a nation, they were consumed and enslaved by their wickedness (64:7b).
A Call for Humility and Surrender (64:8-12)
Realizing the helpless, hopeless state of the nation, Isaiah confessed, “O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand” (64:8).
Like clay that yields to the hands and will of a potter for his purpose, we as believers are to acknowledge the LORD is sovereign, and yield to His desire to fashion us according to His will (64:8b).
Closing thoughts – Isaiah concluded His prayer, reminding the LORD, “we are all thy people” (64:9b). He prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem (64:10) and the Temple (64:11). Perhaps a prayer the people would pray in Babylon during their captivity, Isaiah prayed,
“Wilt thou refrain thyself for these things, O LORD? wilt thou hold thy peace, and afflict us very sore?”(Isaiah 64:12)
Isaiah 65 – God’s Response to Isaiah’s Prayer
Salvation Offered to the Gentiles (65:1)
Isaiah 65 opens with the LORD saying, “1I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, Unto a nation that was not called by my name” (65:1).
The Lord’s heart was evident towards His unholy people. He allowed himself to be called by those who did not ask, and be found by those who had not sought. Indeed, they were estranged from the Lord as the depth of their sins had served as a barrier of separation; yet the Lord was still seeking His people through the words of the prophet.
Israel Rejected the LORD, and He Would Use Babylon to Punish the People (65:2-5)
Israel had rebelled, and refused God (65:2). They had turned to idols (65:3), and practiced the occult, consulting with the spirits of the dead (65:4; Isaiah 8:19). The people had disobeyed the law, and eaten “swine’s flesh” (65:4b; 66:3, 17; Leviticus 11:7). They were proud, and self-righteous, saying, “Come not near to me; for I am holier than thou” (65:5a). As a nation, they had become a stench, “a smoke” in the LORD’s nose (65:5b).
God’s Warning to the Rebellious (65:6-7)
Isaiah revealed the LORD writes down our sins (65:6a), and warned: “I will not keep silence, but will recompense [repay]” (65:6). Indeed, the sins of every generation, fathers and sons, will be punished (65:7). Yet, though all have sinned, the LORD is a loving and forgiving God, and promised He would “not destroy them all” (65:8).
Understanding a grape gatherer does not destroy all the grapes, if there are a few bad grapes, the LORD would not destroy all men, but would save a remnant (65:8-9), for there would be some to seek the LORD (65:10-16).
Isaiah 65:17-66:24 is a prophetic portrait of Christ’s Millennial Kingdom.
Our study of Isaiah 65 concludes with God affirming He would make all things new (65:17). We know the effects of sin impacts our earth, and the curse of sin, and the depravity of man has infected, and affected all creation (Romans 1:18-32). Isaiah prophesied there was coming a day when “the former shall not be remembered nor come into mind,” and God has promised, “behold, I create new heavens and a new earth” (65:17). In that day, believers will rejoice, and “the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying” (65:19; Revelation 7:17; 21:4). The citizens of the Millennial Kingdom will not know death in the same way we understand death today (65:20).
The people of the Millennial Kingdom will be engaged in meaningful work, and all their labor will be blessed (65:21-23). Believers will enjoy fellowship with the LORD, and want for nothing (65:24), and all nature will dwell together in peace (65:24-25).
Isaiah 65:25 – 25The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, And the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: And dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord.
Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith