He Acts for the One Who Waits for Him

This post is the second in a series adapted from Anticipating His Arrival, a family Advent devotional by Rick Brannan. We will be posting one devotional a day through Christmas.

Isaiah 64:1–4, 8–11

Would that you would tear the heavens and come down;
the mountains would quake before you,
as fire kindles brushwood,
the fire causes water to boil,
to make your name known to your adversaries,
that the nations might tremble from your presence.
When you did terrible deeds which we did not expect, you came down;
the mountains quaked because of your presence.
And since ancient times they have not heard,
have not listened,
no eye has seen a God except you;
he acts for the one who waits for him…
Yet now Yahweh, you are our father;
we are the clay and you are our potter,
and we all are the work of your hand.
You must not be exceedingly angry, Yahweh,
and you must not remember iniquity forever!
Look! Behold, now! We all are your people!
Your holy cities have become a wilderness;
Zion has become a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation.
Our holy and beautiful temple, where our ancestors praised you has been burned by fire,
and all our precious objects have become ruins.

Discussion Questions

What is the relationship between the Lord (Yahweh) and the people?

Response: The people claim the Lord (Yahweh) as father (v. 8). The image of clay (the people) and a potter (Yahweh) is used to reinforce this.

Why would Yahweh be angry?

Response: Because the land is in shambles (vv. 10–11). The holy cities are empty. Jerusalem is desolate. And the temple, the very house of the Lord, has been destroyed.

How does this relate to joy during the Advent season?

Response: The people expect the Lord to return and bring salvation to the land. They call upon him to rebuild the temple, to annihilate their enemies, and to exalt his people to their proper place. Though the situation is dire, they rejoice at the thought of his return, which will restore the world to how it should be. We should exhibit the same joy at the thought of his second coming.

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Comments

  1. The prophets sometimes come off a little schizophrenic in that they vacillate between announcements of horrific slaughter and fantastic descriptions of glory. What Isaiah is describing is God’s judgment on Jerusalem:

    >…Your holy cities have become a wilderness;
    **Zion has become a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation**. Our **holy and beautiful temple, where our ancestors praised you has been burned by fire**,
    and all our precious objects have become ruins.

    But God always has an elect remnant and for them there is a promised good end:

    >[Isa 65:8-9 KJV] 8 Thus saith the LORD, As the new wine is found in the cluster, and [one] saith, Destroy it not; for a blessing [is] in it: so will I do for my servants’ sakes, that I may not destroy them all. 9 And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains: and mine elect shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there.

    This elect fulfills all the glorious promises in Acts 1-15:

    * Israel is raised from death in sins (Ezek 37)
    * the new covenant completely sanctifies a new people: [Heb 10:10-14 KJV] 10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once [for all]. 11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. 14 **For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified**. [1Jo 3:6, 9 NKJV] 6 Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him. … 9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.
    [1Jo 5:18 NKJV] 18 We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him.
    * in the new covenant the Torah is written on the hearts of all of the Israel of God (the elect)
    * the Torah goes forth from Jerusalem
    * Peter and the Twelve act as judges of the 12 tribes
    * holy spirit is poured out on all of the elect Jews regardless of their station:
    [Joe 2:28 KJV] 28 And it shall come to pass afterward, [that] I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
    [Act 2:17 KJV] 17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
    * the earth is filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea:
    [Rom 15:19 KJV] 19 Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.
    * and on, and on and on

    So what Isaiah is talking about is the day of God’s visitation on apostate Israel, the fulfillment of all the promises concerning the glory of Jerusalem and then ultimately the end of the covenant relationship between God and Israel, both old and new.

    So this is not about “the Church” but rather about the last days of Judaism. Since 70ad this is simply the finale to God’s dealings with Israel. This is history, not the present or the future.