Isaiah 64* The church prays that God's power may be manifested. (1-5) Aconfession of sin, and afflictions bewailed. (6-12)1-5 They desire that God would manifest himself to them and forthem, so that all may see it. This is applicable to the secondcoming of Christ, when the Lord himself shall descend fromheaven. They plead what God had used to do, and had declared hisgracious purpose to do, for his people. They need not fear beingdisappointed of it, for it is sure; or disappointed in it, forit is sufficient. The happiness of his people is bound up inwhat God has designed for them, and is preparing for them, andpreparing them for; what he has done or will do. Can we believethis, and then think any thing too great to expect from histruth, power, and love? It is spiritual and cannot becomprehended by human understanding. It is ever ready. See whatcommunion there is between a gracious God and a gracious soul.We must make conscience of doing our duty in every thing theLord our God requires. Thou meetest him; this speaks hisfreeness and forwardness in doing them good. Though God has beenangry with us for our sins, and justly, yet his anger has soonended; but in his favour is life, which goes on and continues,and on that we depend for our salvation. 6-12 The people of God, in affliction, confess and bewail theirsins, owning themselves unworthy of his mercy. Sin is thatabominable thing which the Lord hates. Our deeds, whatever theymay seem to be, if we think to merit by them at God's hand, areas rags, and will not cover us; filthy rags, and will but defileus. Even our few good works in which there is real excellence,as fruits of the Spirit, are so defective and defiled as done byus, that they need to be washed in the fountain open for sin anduncleanness. It bodes ill when prayer is kept back. To pray, isby faith to take hold of the promises the Lord has made of hisgood-will to us, and to plead them; to take hold of him,earnestly begging him not to leave us; or soliciting his return.They brought their troubles upon themselves by their own folly.Sinners are blasted, and then carried away, by the wind of theirown iniquity; it withers and then ruins them. When they madethemselves as an unclean thing, no wonder that God loathed them.Foolish and careless as we are, poor and despised, yet stillThou art our Father. It is the wrath of a Father we are under,who will be reconciled; and the relief our case requires isexpected only from him. They refer themselves to God. They donot say, "Lord, rebuke us not," for that may be necessary; but,"Not in thy displeasure." They state their lamentable condition.See what ruin sin brings upon a people; and an outwardprofession of holiness will be no defence against it. God'speople presume not to tell him what he shall say, but theirprayer is, Speak for the comfort and relief of thy people. Howfew call upon the Lord with their whole hearts, or stirthemselves to lay hold upon him! God may delay for a time toanswer our prayers, but he will, in the end, answer those whocall on his name and hope in his mercy.
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