In the midst of glorious promises regarding the culmination of all of God’s plans, the closing chapters of Isaiah also record the pleas of His people in the days of the prophet and beyond. Although Isaiah ministered prior to the destruction of the temple by the Babylonians, he wrote of the desperation that would come with that future event. They would cry out to God, “Oh that You would rend the heavens and come down.”
The people of the Almighty would want their Lord to be near to them and to rout their enemies, but would they be able to survive if God came in person? They feared that He would judge them as well. God could be safely close to the worshiper who “joyfully works righteousness.” Yet they remembered that they had been in their sins “a long time.” Isaiah honestly admitted their inadequate efforts to cover over their evil deeds with holy ceremonies, knowing that “all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.”
Israel’s experience in the days of Isaiah and in the generations to come would often be less obedient and less reassuring than they might have desired. They would call out to God, but also acknowledge that He had hidden His face from them. He had delivered them into “the hand” of their own “iniquities.”
What could they do? They could call out to God with words that Jesus would teach His disciples to pray: “Our Father.” They could ask Him to remember that He was the Potter, and that they were the clay, “the work of Your hand.” They could plead with Him to forget their sins. Why? “We are Your people.”
The destruction of the temple in Jerusalem would surely come. “Our holy and beautiful house, where our fathers praised You, has been burned by fire.” Israel worshiped the Lord in a building that could be destroyed by their enemies. The Lord who hears His children in their desperate pleas had a plan to build another sanctuary in the New Covenant era. This holy place where He would be present with His people would not be made with impressive stones and precious metals. God would send His Son to be the Cornerstone of a resurrection temple that would never be destroyed.
God has truly become our Father through the work of His beloved Son. He remembers His promises and He fulfills all His plans. In every age, if we are paying attention at all, we feel the tension between the Lord’s moral perfection and the pollution of our sins. Our Savior has provided a life for us beyond our shame. Christ’s death has brought us eternal life. His resurrection temple will never be destroyed.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Come down now, O God. We need You here today. There is much to be done, but there are enemies within and without the gates who are against Your Kingdom. We are fading away in our distress. We need to be a strong tree of righteousness in Your Son. You are the Father, even our Father. You are the Potter. Shape us to be vessels of Your mercy for Your own good pleasure.