Isaiah 64

The Word Made Fresh

1Oh that you would rip open the heavens and come down.
The mountains would shake at your presence.
2Come, like fire alights the brush and boils the waters.
Come, and make your name known to your enemies
and make the nations tremble at your presence.
3In days gone by, when you surprisingly did great deeds,
you came down and the mountains shook at your presence.
4From times past no one has heard and no eye has seen
any other God except you,
a God who rewards those who wait.
5You come to those who happily do what is right
and remember the things you have done.
But when you were angry, we sinned
because you were out of our sight.
6We are unclean; even our good deeds are like dirty clothes.
We shrink like a leaf that is taken away by the wind.
7No one called on your name.
No one tried to embrace you.
You hid your face from us
and let us suffer the consequences of our sin.
8But you are our father, LORD.
You are the potter, and we are the clay.
All of us are shaped by your hand.
9Don’t be terribly angry, LORD,
and don’t remember our shortcomings forever.
Remember instead that we are your people.
10Your sacred cities have gone to waste.
Zion is a desert. Jerusalem is desolate.
11Our sacred, beautiful temple where our ancestors praised you
has been put to the torch,
all our beautiful buildings have been burned
and our beautiful towns are but ruins.
12Considering all this, will you now be restrained, LORD?
Or will you keep silence and punish us even more?


1-12: Isaiah’s plea continues. He begs God to come down as in ages past. He confesses that they are “unclean,” that even their good deeds are unworthy of consideration. The situation is described as a terminal loop: they sin, God turns away, and because God has turned away, they no longer call on God, and since they no longer call on God they sin more grievously, making God forsake them, causing them to ignore the covenant even more, and on it goes. As a result, their cities were destroyed, and God’s house was burned down. Now, Isaiah asks, is this enough for you, God?


When life throws difficulties in our path, it may be instructive to consider what we may have done to allow it to happen.