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—to make Your Name known to Your adversaries, and that the nations might tremble at Your presence! When You did awesome things that we did not look for, You came down, the mountains quaked at Your presence. 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. You meet him who joyfully works righteousness, those who remember You in Your ways. 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. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. There is no one who calls upon Your Name, who rouses himself to take hold of You; for You have hidden Your face from us, and have made us melt in the hand of our iniquities. But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and You are our potter; we are all the work of Your hand. Be not so terribly angry, O LORD, and remember not iniquity forever. Behold, please look, we are all Your people.
Listen to Isaiah's words: "Oh that You would rend the heavens and come down!" Isaiah is longing for God to come near, longing for the presence of the Lord. He is almost heartsick for him—our living water, our breath of life. Isaiah looks back to the old days, when Israel walked with God through the wilderness and met him at Mount Sinai. Now those were the days, Isaiah feels.
But it isn't like that anymore. And why? Because the people have done evil in their words and thoughts and actions; they have cut themselves off from the Source of life, from God Himself, and they suffer for it. And Isaiah confesses that this is true of him as well.
It's true of us, too, isn't it? We too have sinned. We too have wandered far from the Lord, and we long for the God we forsook. But just like Isaiah and the people of Israel, we cannot get back to God's presence on our own. Either God rends the heavens and comes down, or we are lost. It is that simple.
From his point in history, Isaiah pleads with God. "Be not so terribly angry, O LORD, and remember not iniquity forever." Isaiah has hope because he knows that God is merciful. But from our point in history, we have something even better—the knowledge that God has already heard our prayers, has opened the heavens and come down—as the Man Jesus Christ, our Savior, born to deliver us.
Now we don't need to long for the good old days of God's presence at Sinai. We have something far better—God in the flesh, bearing our sins on the cross, and leaving them behind in the grave as He rises from the dead three days later. Now we have Jesus, who is our life and salvation. Our longing hearts can be satisfied, because He has said to us, "I will never leave you nor forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5b).
Lord, let me live always in Your presence. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Dr. Kari Vo
1. When do you feel lonely or sad?Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
2. What do you do when you feel a longing for God?
3. How do you know that Jesus is with you, whether you feel Him or not?
When do you feel lonely or sad?