Thursday after Epiphany

Isaiah 64:1-12

Oh That You Would Rend the Heavens and Come Down

Isaiah 64 utters a longing that the people of God have often expressed, usually when under trying circumstances, but also from a heart of love and devotion: “Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might quake at your presence – as when fire kindles brushwood and the fire causes water to boil.”  And why this prayer?  “To make your name known to your adversaries, and that the nations might tremble at your presence!”  It is a longing and prayer for God to vindicate His great name, which is to say His character and glory.  “From of old, no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you.”  And yet, humankind darkens God’s revelation of Himself with vain idols:  in olden times, with hand-carved images; in our time, with materialism, entertainment, political ideologies, and countless other things.  The believer awaits the day when every eye shall see, every knee bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Philippians 2:9-10).  It is why we pray, indeed, were taught to pray, by our Lord, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:7-15).

But then Isaiah turns to the reality: It is God’s own people who have sinned.  Worldlings will be worldlings, pagans will be pagans, but those who have been chosen by Him from the foundation of the world – these are supposed to be different.  And so Isaiah asks, “In our sins we have been a long time, and shall we be saved?…We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.”  You desire that the Lord rend the heavens?  You desire “the day of the Lord?”  The prophet Amos reminds us, “Why would you have the day of the Lord?  It is darkness, and not light, as if a man fled from a lion, and a bear met him, or went into the house and leaned his hand against the wall, and a serpent bit him.” (Amos 5:18-20).

And so Isaiah pleads the mercy of the Lord to “remember not iniquity forever.”  He pleads the pity of the Lord by calling on God to look upon the devastations of Jerusalem and His once beautiful house.  We should do the same.  In too much of the world, Christians are persecuted to death (though not reported by the media), and in Europe and America, the Church of God languishes under oppressive secularism.  Her members have strayed, too concerned about self.  Divorce, infidelity, porn addiction, and materialism are as present among Christians as they are among pagans.  “But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are the potter.”  Mold and shape us after thy will, and make us a people ready for your Son’s coming.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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