Recent Posts
Lowell Brueckner

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Wrath, Love and Prayer


57. An expository study of Isaiah, chapter 63 and 64

Chapter 63

Isaiah envisions a last-day drama unfolding: “Who is this who comes from Edom, in crimsoned garments from Bozrah, he who is splendid in his apparel, marching in the greatness of his strength? ‘It is I, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save’” (v.1). It is obviously the Messiah, coming from defeating His and Israel’s enemies. Edom, the descendants of Esau, Jacob’s twin brother, are the perennial enemies of Israel. Isaiah’s prophecy took a similar turn in chapter 34 and both accounts point to the final battle against the nations of the world, typified by Edom. Bozrah was an important city, for a time belonging to Moab, but in Isaiah’s time, it was a city of Edom.

In chapter 34:16, we see instructions to “seek and read from the book of the Lord”, showing the need to see the interpretation of the symbolic nature of the prophecy. In this chapter, we see the Messiah is a champion, returning from war, His garments stained with the blood of His defeated foes. Their defeat is vengeance taken for the suffering of His people and it becomes their salvation.

Another question follows: “Why is your apparel red, and your garments like his who treads in the winepress?” (v.2). Towards the end of the book of Revelation, John sees Christ on a white horse with His armies following Him. “In righteousness he judges and makes war,” John states. This is the Word of God, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who “is clothed in a robe dipped in blood… He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty” (Rev.19:11,13,15). We have it clear, then, when this battle takes place. It marks the end of the beast and the false prophet, just before the Millennium.

Isaiah quotes Him: “I have trodden the winepress alone… I trod them in my anger and trampled them in my wrath; their lifeblood spattered on my garments, and stained all my apparel” (v.3). His followers are in white, because He alone brings the victory. He alone takes vengeance and He alone redeems (v.4). “So my own arm brought me salvation, and my wrath upheld me” (v.5). Throughout all history and on to the end of time, there is only One to look to for help and salvation. He says that His wrath upheld him; His wrath is essential in carrying out righteousness and salvation. A divine indifference or apathy would be disastrous for His kingdom and for all its inhabitants.

“I trampled down the peoples in my anger; I made them drunk in my wrath, and I poured out their lifeblood on the earth” (v.6). The enemies of God and His people staggered from Christ’s blows and He worked to bring them to their end, as well as bringing final judgment upon the earth. We have already noticed the fact, but in this next section Isaiah amplifies that, His wrath and vengeance upon His foes, work for His love and salvation upon His people.

“I will recount the steadfast love of the Lord.” His love never wavers and never diminishes. All the blessing that they have received… great goodness, the text states… has been “granted them according to his compassion, according to the abundance of his steadfast love (v.7), and for no other reason. Any lesser reason would throw the people into a state of insecurity and doubt, because of their own imperfections.

I think, the importance of these next statements demand a direct quote. “For he said, ‘Surely they are my people, children who will not deal falsely.’ And he became their Savior. In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them; in his love and in his pity he redeemed them” (v.8,9). If He said, surely they are My people, then they and we can know surely, that we belong to Him. (As to “children who will not deal falsely”, see Ps.44:17 and 1 Jn.5:18.)

The Angel of His presence is an Old Testament term for Jesus Christ and He has become our Savior. He took our sins and He stands today as “a faithful high priest… to make propitiation for the sins of the people… sympathize with our weaknesses… Consequently, he is able also to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (Heb.2:17, 4:15, 7:25). He takes our afflictions or weaknesses as His own.

Moses pleaded with God, when the Lord threatened to cut the people off and begin afresh. Moses referred to the Egyptians and how they would interpret the Israelites’ destruction, concluding that they would see Israel’s God as unfaithful to them. Whenever “they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit”, He became Israel’s enemy and fought against them. Then, He remembered “the days of old, of Moses and his people.” Amazingly, the prayer of Moses continued in the Lord’s heart until the time of captivity and will continue through the end times!

The divine, spiritual principle remains to this day: “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Php.1:6). He remembered bringing them through the Red Sea and of the work of the Holy Spirit among them throughout. His work towards them was an everlasting, eternal work to “make for himself an everlasting name” (v.10-12).

“Like a horse in the desert, they did not stumble. Like livestock that go down into the valley, the Spirit of the Lord gave them rest. So you led your people, to make for yourself a glorious name” (v.13-14). He led them out of Egypt and through the desert; His Spirit worked in them to bring them in and gave them permanent dwelling in the Promised Land. All this, was not primarily for them, but was done to give God His rightful glory.

Isaiah concludes this chapter with prayer to His Father in heaven… in “His holy and beautiful habitation.” He calls upon Him to show His zeal and might, as He did in former times. This is a revival prayer and concerned Christians have prayed like this, when the Spirit of God awoke them to their desperate situation and moved them to call upon God for “the stirring of your inward parts and your compassion”. (v.15).

Their relationship with the Heavenly Father exceeds that of their patriarchs, Abraham and Israel. They are more than simply the children of Israel. Abraham may deny his heritage, but “You, O Lord, are our Father, our Redeemer from of old is your name” (v.16). They are children of God! Isaiah relied upon the Lord to keep His people; it must be “God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Php.2:13). There is no fear of God in fallen nature and there is no going in His direction. If they are to walk with Him, He must lead and inspire them (v.17). His holy people are those who are made holy and kept holy through the work of His Holy Spirit.  

Their enemies have come in and trampled His sanctuary… the place, where everything is fashioned and done according to His pleasure (v.18). Circumstances would indicate that the Lord has not called them and that He is not in charge (v.19). I beg you, my friend, to look at our circumstances and see the similarity. Does Christ rule; is He the Head of the church? Do we dare to call ourselves Christians, when we fall so short of living up to that name? Let us be the people, who begin to pray Isaiah’s prayer (it continues in the next chapter), and to do it desperately.

Isaiah 64

“Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might quake at your presence!” (v.1). The church is a heavenly institution. Whenever man takes over and it functions according to human power, we are less than God intended for us to be. It is time to pray this prayer that we might see days of heaven on earth. Away with the statis quo! Will you excuse or defend it? The saints throughout the church age, who prayed this prayer, put us to shame. Why do I say this? Because our situation in this 21st Century is worse than in their days, but apparently we are not able to see it. We ought to be praying like they did, desperately and with tears, but we are indifferent and cold. Never mind the sin, false doctrines, mentality and modes that prevail among us. Please Lord, deliver us from the appearance of godliness that lacks the glorious might of God, the Holy Spirit!

It doesn’t matter whether we are speaking of the church or of Israel in Isaiah’s time, His people need to see God doing that, which only He can do… a demonstration of power that overwhelms the elements of earth. “That the mountains might quake… as when fire kindles brushwood and the fire causes water to boil!” This is what we need! What is the motive? “To make your name known to your adversaries, and that the nations might tremble at your presence!” (v.2). The fear of God in society depends upon the church, as it depended upon Israel in Isaiah’s day. God’s chief problem is with His people; they are to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth.

We have former times as testimony to the fact that He can do it again and we even have a few examples alive today of the moving of God that He has brought about through the prayers of His people: “When you did awesome things that we did not look for, you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence. Notice, Isaiah is calling for an encore of exactly that, which he knows that the Lord has done in the past.

"From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him (v.3,4). Paul makes it clear that no one by mere human understanding, even the most studied and intellectual experts, can perceive the things of God. He must receive divine illumination from the Holy Spirit to hear and see them: “As it is written, ‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him’… these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit” (1 Co.2:9). Therefore, a remnant, a small minority among the earth’s population, must be the praying people, who storm the gates of heaven.

A song claims It Is No Secret What God Can Do, yet the things of God remain a mystery to the majority. The mightiest works that the world has ever seen are the works of God. God cannot and will not deny the sincere and hungry heart… Those who love Him, Paul said, are those, for whom God has prepared heavenly acts: “You meet him who joyfully works righteousness, those who remember you in your ways. They know the difference between His ways and man’s ways. They confess and repent, not only of their sin, but the sin of their land. “Behold, you were angry, and we sinned; in our sins we have been a long time, and shall we be saved? We have all become like one who is unclean and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment” (v.5,6a)

“We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away” (6b). Our spiritual life lost its luster, its zeal and its love, and our sins blew us away. They determined the direction and the speed that we have traveled. Is there anyone who recognizes the lack of the reality of God and is willing to confess the number of those who have fallen among us? If anyone can truly see it, he will be a person “who calls upon your name, who rouses himself to take hold of you” (v.7). Isaiah said, “There is no one.”

“For you have hidden your face from us, and have made us melt in the hand of our iniquities. But now”… with all this said and admitted, there can still be a but now. Thank the Lord! Read carefully and prayerfully: “O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand” (v.8). This is deeper truth than all our failures and it brings us hope. He is the potter: He can shape us in the form that He wills. He is our Father; He will discipline us and love us, until we become what He wants us to be.

Isaiah begs that the Lord’s anger be placated… we would call upon Him to, please, view the cross and the people, who have all hope placed in the work done there by His Son... “Be not so terribly angry, O Lord, and remember not iniquity forever. Behold, please look, we are all your people” (v.9) Isaiah calls upon God to view now the devastation, as Hezekiah called upon Him to look at the enemy’s letter, spreading it before the Lord: “Your holy cities have become a wilderness; Zion has become a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation. Our holy and beautiful house, where our fathers praised you, has been burned by fire, and all our pleasant places have become ruins” (v.10,11)

Assured that the Lord has taken in the entire situation, Isaiah ends his prayer with two questions: “Will you restrain yourself at these things, O Lord? Will you keep silent, and afflict us so terribly?” (v.12). Perhaps you noticed that I have quoted the entire chapter 64, word for word. I think that I have left nothing out, because I wanted to be sure that you would contemplate with me the inspired word of the Holy Spirit in this powerful chapter. I am sure that the Lord heard Isaiah’s prayer and what has happened in Israel in our time, is partly a result of that prayer. He is restoring Israel and He will also respond to our prayer. People, who understand that we can do nothing without Christ and are absolutely dependent on His leadership and power, will pray. People, who understand their own weakness and inability, will make prayer the number one priority. 


Post a Comment