from Isaiah 63:7-64:11

by Glen Penton

"I will tell of the kindness of the Lord,
The deeds for which He is to be praised,
According to all the Lord has done for us--
Yes, the many good things He has done
For the Household of Israel,
According to His compassion and many kindnesses.
He said, 'Surely they are My People,
Sons and daughters who will not be false to me.'

(Isaiah is certainly not trying to suggest here that God did not know ahead of time about all Israel's rebellion and sin, but that there will be a day when the Jewish People will trust and obey Him with absolutely no disloyalty. This is His Plan. He cannot fail or be frustrated in it, because He is God.)

"And so He became their Savior."

(Why? Because Israel deserved His Salvation, or would ever deserve it? No, Isaiah says, but because God's Incarnation to become Israel's Savior was His way to carry out His Plan to bring Israel to Himself.)

"In all their distress He too was distressed,"

(God is distressed over Israel's distress. Are you?)

"And the Angel of His Presence saved them."

(The Angel of God's Presence, His Messiah, brought a wonderful deliverance to Israel that first Passover, offers an even greater deliverance to you today, and will soon provide for Israel the most magnificent rescue of all.)

"In His Love and mercy He redeemed them;
He lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.
Yet they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit.
So He turned and became their enemy
And He Himself fought against them.

(Why? Because His Plan changed? No, the disasters were all part of it. Read on.)

"Until He remembers eternity, Moses, His People."

(God has a Day planned when He will remember. The rest of the passage gives the prayer Israel will pray on the day He remembers for good what He never forgot. It is a prayer any Jew can sincerely pray today and be remembered for good. The prayer confesses Israel's sinfulness and God's Justice. It calls on Him, in His mercy and grace, to forgive and save Israel, as promised, on His own terms.)

"'Where is the One Who brought them through the sea,
With the shepherds of His Flock?
Where is the One Who set His Holy Spirit among them,
Who sent His glorious Arm of Power to be at Moses' right hand,
Who divided the waters before them,
To gain for Himself everlasting fame,
Who led them through the depths?
Like a horse in open country, they did not stumble;
Like cattle going down to the meadow,
They were given rest by the Spirit of the Lord.
This is how You guided Your People
To make for Yourself a glorious name.

"'Look down from heaven
and see from your lofty throne, holy and glorious.
Where are Your enthusiasm and Your might?
Your tenderness and compassion are withheld from us.
But You are our Father!
Even if Abraham did not know us
Or Israel recognize us,
You, O LORD, are our Father,
Our Eternal Redeemer is Who You are.
Why, O LORD, do You make us wander from Your ways
And harden our hearts so we do not take You seriously?
Return for the sake of Your servants,
The tribes that are Your possession.
For a little while Your People possessed Your Holy Place.
But now our enemies have trampled down Your Sanctuary.
We have always been Yours.
But You have not ruled over them.
They have not been called by Your Name.

"'Oh, that You would rip open the heavens and come down,
That the mountains would tremble before You!
As when fire sets twigs ablaze and causes water to boil,
Come down to make Yourself known to your enemies
And cause the nations to quake before you!
For when You did awesome things that we did not expect,
You came down, and the mountains trembled before You.
Since ancient times no one has heard,
No ear has perceived,
No eye has seen any God besides You,
Who acts on behalf of those who wait for You.
You come to the help of those who gladly do right,
Who remember Your ways.

"'But when we continued to sin against them,
You were angry.
How then can we be saved?
All of us have become like someone filthy,
And all our righteous deeds are like menstrual rags;
We all shrivel up like a leaf,
And like the wind our sins sweep us away.
No one calls on You or strives to reach You,
For You have hidden Your Face from us'

(Only God's Face, the Messiah, can rescue us from our spiritual plight, and only God's Spirit can reveal Him to us. Let's ask Him to do it.)

"'And made us waste away because of our sins.

"'Yet, O LORD, you are our Father.
We are the clay.
You are the potter.
We are all the work of Your Hand.
Do not be angry beyond measure, O LORD.
Do not remember our sins forever.
Oh, look at us, we pray,
For we are all Your People.

Your sacred cities have become a desert.
Even Zion is a desert,
Jerusalem a desolation.
Our holy and glorious Temple,
Where our ancestors praised You,
Has been burned with fire,
And all that we treasured lies in ruins.'

(Although we rejoice with all our hearts over the good things God has done for His People Israel over the last half-century since the Holocaust ended, the spiritual condition of our People, for the most part, is still as desperate as He describes here.)

"'After all this, O LORD,
Will You hold Yourself back?
Will You keep silent and punish us beyond measure?'
more about His good plan
more about Israel and prayer
more about God's grace toward Israel
more about Israel's suffering
more about your need for Him
His new agreement with Israel
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