Isaiah 64

* The church prays that God's power may be manifested. (1-5) A

confession of sin, and afflictions bewailed. (6-12)

1-5 They desire that God would manifest himself to them and for

them, so that all may see it. This is applicable to the second

coming of Christ, when the Lord himself shall descend from

heaven. They plead what God had used to do, and had declared his

gracious purpose to do, for his people. They need not fear being

disappointed of it, for it is sure; or disappointed in it, for

it is sufficient. The happiness of his people is bound up in

what God has designed for them, and is preparing for them, and

preparing them for; what he has done or will do. Can we believe

this, and then think any thing too great to expect from his

truth, power, and love? It is spiritual and cannot be

comprehended by human understanding. It is ever ready. See what

communion there is between a gracious God and a gracious soul.

We must make conscience of doing our duty in every thing the

Lord our God requires. Thou meetest him; this speaks his

freeness and forwardness in doing them good. Though God has been

angry with us for our sins, and justly, yet his anger has soon

ended; 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 their

sins, owning themselves unworthy of his mercy. Sin is that

abominable thing which the Lord hates. Our deeds, whatever they

may seem to be, if we think to merit by them at God's hand, are

as rags, and will not cover us; filthy rags, and will but defile

us. Even our few good works in which there is real excellence,

as fruits of the Spirit, are so defective and defiled as done by

us, that they need to be washed in the fountain open for sin and

uncleanness. It bodes ill when prayer is kept back. To pray, is

by faith to take hold of the promises the Lord has made of his

good-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 their

own iniquity; it withers and then ruins them. When they made

themselves as an unclean thing, no wonder that God loathed them.

Foolish and careless as we are, poor and despised, yet still

Thou art our Father. It is the wrath of a Father we are under,

who will be reconciled; and the relief our case requires is

expected only from him. They refer themselves to God. They do

not 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 outward

profession of holiness will be no defence against it. God's

people presume not to tell him what he shall say, but their

prayer is, Speak for the comfort and relief of thy people. How

few call upon the Lord with their whole hearts, or stir

themselves to lay hold upon him! God may delay for a time to

answer our prayers, but he will, in the end, answer those who

call on his name and hope in his mercy.

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