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Most college sports teams have some type of rally cry to unify their student body as they enter into the battle. Some are more impressive than others – here are just several that our family have experienced:

– Locally, we follow the University of Maryland: “Fear the Turtle” … (I guess that is better than having a spider for a mascot like the Univ of Richmond); basketball team having a great season

– For Princeton: “Going back to Nassau Hall” – more appropriate for reunions; not much of a fight song

– The Vanderbilt Commodores (referencing a navy-oriented theme) have a saying that is more powerful and applies well to today’s subject matter: “Anchor Down”

The Vanderbilt Anchor was adopted in 2004 as a symbol of unity and strength and accompanies the team to all home and away games. Before each home game, a group or individual is selected to run onto the field with the anchor and “drop the anchor” at midfield to mark the beginning of the sporting event.

As we enter into these final chapters of the book of Isaiah, we find a people that desperately need to Anchor Down – they need something to hang onto that will give stability and a sure foundation amidst the perplexities and uncertainties of life. They find themselves in an intense spiritual struggle – reminded of the love and faithfulness of their heavenly Father who has chosen them and remains committed to their future blessing, yet seeing around them in their immediate circumstances the consequences of their sin and rebellion. Theology does not present itself to them in a neat, tidy little package all wrapped up with a nice bow on it. They are wrestling with tension and paradox as they fight their spiritual battles.

Has not this been true for all of God’s people – even the giants of the faith?

– Think of the struggles of Abraham as he clung to the promises of God and yet compromised his integrity by repeatedly lying about Sarah while in Egypt?

– Or Moses who ended up being banned from entering the Promised Land despite such heroic leadership efforts;

– Or King David, the man after God’s own heart, who fell into the horrendous sins of adultery and murder. Look at his honest dialogue with God in the Psalms where he vacillates between despair and overwhelming joy.

– Or even the great Apostle Paul who characterized himself as the chief of sinners and revealed to us some of his inner struggles in Romans 7.

– We should not be surprised that we struggle in the same way to walk by faith and obedience.




(similar to what we studied in the Book of Judges)

A. (:7) The One Anchor for Conflicted Souls = The Lovingkindness of the Lord

1. Main Focus Highlighted

“I shall make mention of the lovingkindnesses of the LORD,”

Verse has 2 bookends of focus on lovingkindnesses of the Lord – hesed at beginning and end of the verse

Not enough to just reflect on the Lord’s lovingkindnesses – although that is essential; we must go beyond that to make mention verbally to others – first back to the Lord in praise and worship and then in testimony to others

Constable: This part of Isaiah’s lament consists of a review of Israel’s relationship with the Lord (vv.7-10) and a call for Israel to remember who He is (vv. 11-14).

Parunak: In these eight verses (7-14) Isaiah presents a summary history of Israel, recalling four distinct phases: • God’s grace to his people • their rebellion • his judgment • their awakening as they recognize what they have forsaken.

2. Major Components

a. Praises

“The praises of the LORD,

According to all that the LORD has granted us,”

These are not empty platitudes; based in the historical reality of what the Lord has done in demonstrating His goodness and faithfulness to us in the past

Recognizing that all that we have from the Lord is a gift of His grace – something He has granted us

b. Goodness

“And the great goodness toward the house of Israel,”

Parunak: Just as “praises” describes God’s deeds in terms of what they mean to him, “goodness” describes them in terms of what they mean to us: blessing, happiness, and care.

Not just goodness, but great goodness

Nehemiah 9:25-26 “And they captured fortified cities and a fertile land. They took possession of houses full of every good thing, Hewn cisterns, vineyards, olive groves, Fruit trees in abundance. So they ate, were filled, and grew fat, And reveled in Thy great goodness. But they became disobedient and rebelled against You, And cast Your law behind their backs and killed Your prophets who had admonished them so that they might return to You and them committed great blasphemies.”

Entire chapter is similar in content and expands the themes dealt with here by Isaiah

3. Motivation = the Lord’s Compassion

“Which He has granted them according to His compassion,”

4. Main Focus Restated

“And according to the multitude of His lovingkindnesses.”

MacArthur: All the plurals in this verse imply that language is inadequate to recite all the goodness and undeserved mercies God has showered on the nation time after time because of His everlasting covenant with them. By His elective choice, they became His people and He their Savior (43:1, 3); this guarantees that they will not always be false, but someday true and faithful to God because of His sovereign election of them (cf. Eph 1:3,4).

B. (:8-9) Stage 1 = RESCUE/REDEMPTION — God’s Saving Presence Demonstrated in His Initiative of Love and Compassion and Mercy

1. (:8) Commitment to Save Israel

“For He said, ‘Surely, they are My people, Sons who will not deal falsely.’

So He became their Savior.”

Hesed of God shown fundamentally in His election of Israel to be His people; adopting them as sons into His own family

Oswalt: But an expectation went with that election, one that is particularly important in the context of Isa. 56-66. That is the expectation that his people would respond to their election with lives of absolute loyalty and integrity; they would not be false. . . God’s relationship to them was one of deliverer. Interestingly, this assumes that he will not prevent hard things from coming to them because they are in this favored relationship, but that when they come, they can know he is at their side to deliver them from (or even through) those circumstances.

Imagery sets up God in the role of the disappointed Father as He has every expectation that his children will be appreciative and loyal but is heartbroken at their unfaithfulness

2. (:9) Commitment to Care for Them

“In all their affliction He was afflicted,

And the angel of His presence saved them;

In His love and in His mercy He redeemed them;

And He lifted them and carried them all the days of old.”

MacArthur: The angel, who delivered the Israelites from Egypt, was none other than the Lord Himself (Ex 14:19; 23:20-23; 33:12, 14, 15; Nu 20:16). He is sometimes identified as the Angel of the Lord. He was close enough to His people that He felt their afflictions as if they were His own.

Young: The language used points out forcefully that God bears our burdens and carries our sorrows. When affliction is directed against us and we must suffer for His sake, we may remember that He too is bearing that affliction and suffering.

Motyer: The noun love (ahba) is used here for the only time in Isaiah; it is the love which delights in the companionship of the loved one.

Sufficiency of Christ – He has done all for us

Borgman: God never came to a point where He said: “You are grown up children now, so you should go out from the house and live on your own”; instead He constantly carried His people in His arms as little lambs; we mature but we never become independent of our Father; spiritual self-sufficiency and autonomy always ends in tragedy; we were designed to be carried all the days of our lives; God never gets tired of carrying us; we cast all our anxieties on God; He delights in that; in spiritual life (unlike physical) greater maturity leads to greater dependence!

What’s lacking on God’s part? Nothing! Even more true for us under the New Covenant

God has done it all and promises to continue to do it all; we lack nothing

C. (:10a) Stage 2 = REBELLION — Recurring Rebellion of Israel and Its Impact on the Holy Spirit

“But they rebelled And grieved His Holy Spirit;”

Emphatic: “But they” = exact opposite of what we would have expected;

The entire history of the nation of Israel (and of mankind as a whole) is one of rebellion with brief cycles of repentance and deliverance

Only a person can be grieved

Ephes. 4:30 “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”

Rebellion and idolatry grieve the Holy Spirit

Oswalt: rebellion shows a hostility to the transcendent power and moral perfection of God. Thus sin is finally a matter of the will, and until the will has been brought into submission to the Holy Spirit, consistently holy behavior is not possible.

Presence of Trinity here – Yahweh / the Angel of the Lord / the Holy Spirit

Constable: If the Lord was capable of defeating Israel’s enemies, as the previous revelation of the Warrior claimed, why had He not acted for Israel already? This intercessory communal lament explains that delayed salvation was not because of Yahweh’s inability or disinterest, but because of Israel’s manipulative attitude toward Him. . . Even though the Israelites pledged themselves to follow the Lord faithfully, they rebelled against Him and so grieved His Holy Spirit. This verse helps us understand what grieving the Holy Spirit involves, namely, rebelling against the Lord (cf. Eph. 4:30). This verse, the next, and Psalm 51:11 are the only places in the Old Testament where “holy” describes God’s “Spirit.” We offend the holiness of God when we rebel against Him. Of course, we also offend His love since we “grieve” or “hurt” Him. Holy behavior is impossible without a will that is compliant rather than rebellious toward God.

D. (:10b) Stage 3 = RETRIBUTION — Judgment and Discipline by Way of Opposition and Estrangement

“Therefore, He turned Himself to become their enemy, He fought against them.”

Finally, they came to an end of their rope and God acted in judgment and discipline; used wicked and cruel enemy nations as his instrument of chastening

Good father would not spare the rod and spoil the child

E. (:11-14) Stage 4 = REPENTANCE AND RESTITUTION — Israel’s Return to the Lord — Remembering His Faithful Shepherding at the Red Sea in the days of the Exodus

1. (:11a) Encouragement From the Past

“Then His people remembered the days of old, of Moses.”

2. (:11b) Anxiety Over Apparent Abandonment

a. Where is the Shepherding that Leads Us to Deliverance and Victory?

“Where is He who brought them up out of the sea with the shepherds of His flock?”

b. Where is the Spirit’s Presence and empowerment?

“Where is He who put His Holy Spirit in the midst of them,”

3. (:12-13) Memorials of God’s Past Faithfulness – Miraculous Red Sea Crossing

a. (:12) Miracle of Dividing the Waters

“Who caused His glorious arm to go at the right hand of Moses,

Who divided the waters before them to make for Himself an everlasting name,”

Nothing is too difficult for God

b. (:13) Miracle of Leading Them Safely Through the Depths

“Who led them through the depths?

Like the horse in the wilderness, they did not stumble;”

Seeing His people safely through to the other side

4. (:14) Ending With a Good Conclusion

a. Rest for God’s People

“As the cattle which go down into the valley,

The Spirit of the LORD gave them rest.”

Motyer: Flocks are brought down from the high pastures to feed in lush valleys; even so the Spirit gave them rest in Canaan.

We all long for the rest spoken of here

Heb. 4 — MacArthur: God’s true rest did not come through Joshua or Moses, but through Jesus Christ, who is greater than either one. Joshua led the nation of Israel into the land of their promised rest. However, that was merely the earthly rest which was only the shadow of what was involved in the heavenly rest. The very act that, according to Ps 95, God was still offering His rest in the time of David (long after Israel had been in the Land) meant that the rest being offered was spiritual – superior to that which Joshua obtained. Israel’s earthly rest was filled with the attacks of enemies and the daily cycle of work. The heavenly rest is characterized by the fullness of heavenly promise (Eph 1:3) and the absence of any labor to obtain it.

b. Glory for God’s Name

“So didst Thou lead Thy people,

To make for Thyself a glorious name.”

Keep your theology God-oriented; not man-centered

Ultimately God is working to glorify His name – that is why the actual unfolding of events and the timetable are not understandable within our finite frame of reference


You have seen here in our text in Isaiah 63 the struggle of God’s people to fully embrace the love and mercy and compassion and goodness of God regardless of outward circumstances. So I am asking you today to Anchor Down in a sense – commit yourself to the struggle against sin and the spiritual warfare that faces each one of us because God is faithful and He loves us dearly.

He knows the struggles that each of us face –

– That is why He has provided Jesus Christ as our great High Priest who is intimately familiar with all our weaknesses and yet acts as our Advocate before the Father

– That is why God promises that no temptation is too great but that His grace has provided a way to be victorious

– That is why He has given us His Holy Spirit to indwell us and empower us

– That is why He exhorts us to put on the armor of God and stand up and fight the spiritual battles with courage and perseverance

– That is why Jesus promises to come again soon and take us to glory – helping us to Anchor Down as we fix our eyes on this glorious hope

Lam. 3:21-25 “This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. 22 The LORD’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Thy faithfulness. 24 “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.” 25 The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the person who seeks Him.”


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Last week the message was Anchor Down! – Focus on the lovingkindness of God



A. (:8-9) Stage 1 = RESCUE / REDEMPTION

B. (:10a) Stage 2 = REBELLION

C. (:10b) Stage 3 = RETRIBUTION

D. (:11-14) Stage 4 = REPENTANCE / RESTITUTION

The Big Idea statement from last week remains the same for the 2nd part of this 2 part message:


This wrestling and struggle and tension and dialogue we have with God over the disconnect between our experience (our present circumstances) and our high calling (as God’s chosen holy people) intensifies when we can’t see the blessing of God – Where is our God when we need Him? Where is our Help or are we left to struggle on our own? Will God deliver us?

The complexity of the different layers of our life only makes the struggle more difficult. Think of these different layers and how they are interconnected: 7 main layers:

– Family / Friends / Relationships

– Finances / Material Possessions

– Health

– Devotional Life

– Work / School

– Country / Government

– Church

What is going on in our life in each arena? How can we anchor down on the lovingkindnesses of God? Where does God seem distant and not coming to our aid? Where has our sin impacted our experience of God’s blessing?

Form = community lament

Follow Motyer’s outline and analysis in this section:

Motyer: The remembrance has now established a basis for prayer (63:7-14) by reminding himself and the Lord of the ever-unfailing-love in the divine nature, the special place before God of his people and sons. To such a God prayer can confidently be made for such a people. This prayer is a powerful poem in seven stanzas of which the first (15-16) is slightly longer, and the sixth (8-9) slightly shorter, than the eight-line norm established by the rest. . . the basic elements of historical reminiscence, complaint, confession, petition, and declaration of trust are all manifestly present.

Beautiful chiastic structure with the heart of the prophet’s message at its center core; so we will attack the onion by peeling away the outlying sections and finishing up with the core takeaway at the center of the passage.



A1. (63:15-16) Appealing for Deliverance to the Mighty God in His Heavenly Habitation – Where is Our Help?

1. (:15) Appealing to the Compassion of Almighty God

“Look down from heaven, and see from Thy holy and glorious habitation;

Where are Thy zeal and Thy mighty deeds?”

The stirrings of Thy heart and Thy compassion are restrained toward me.”

Constable: Isaiah called on God to condescend to look down from His holy and glorious habitation, heaven, on His miserable chosen people below (cf. 1 Kings 8:44-53). The prophet could see no evidence of His zeal and mighty deeds for them. Even His affection and compassion for them were hidden from view (cf. Ps. 22:1). The poet knew of God’s commitment to His people (vv. 7-14), but he saw no evidence of it.

Beall: Where is Your zeal for Your people? (63:15-19) Given this history as background, Isaiah then asks that the Lord evaluate His current relationship with Israel (vv 15-19). In v. 15, Isaiah asks the Lord to look down from His holy and beautiful habitation. He wonders where the Lord’s zeal, strength, and compassion have gone. He wonders if the Lord’s mercy has somehow been restrained. In a similar way, Ps 22:1 says, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” It is a cry that many over the ages have echoed.

Parunak: “the sounding of Thy bowels” — In unusually graphic language, Isaiah depicts the emotional turmoil that God feels at the abuse of his people in terms of internal discomfort so great that it causes the bowels to rumble. Compare an earlier verse,

Isa 16:11 Wherefore my bowels shall sound like an harp for Moab, and mine inward parts for Kirharesh.

Oswalt: In contrast to God’s intimate nearness through his Holy Spirit during the days of the exodus and conquest, Isaiah envisions a time when God will seem far away. He will have restored his people form the exile, yet it will seem as though he is doing no mighty miracles. The people will seem helpless before their enemies, and much more, before their own sinfulness. Where is God in moments like these?

2. (:16) Appealing to the Family Relationship as Father and Redeemer

“For Thou art our Father,

though Abraham does not know us, And Israel does not recognize us.

Thou, O LORD, art our Father,

Our Redeemer from of old is Thy name.”

As our Father and Redeemer you have an obligation to come to our aid

“Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name”

Act as our Father; Act as our Redeemer in our present distress

Your name and reputation are at stake in how the nations of the world look on our circumstances

They had not been faithful to live in accordance with the traditions of Abraham and the elect nation – their character and lifestyle would be unrecognizeable to the father of their faith [as opposed to most commentators who take this as a recognition that God is their true Father in contrast to Abraham]

Oswalt: Not only is God our Father but his name, his reputation, is inseparably tied to us. What is that name? Our Redeemer from ancient times. This is who God has been known to be. He is the one who has redeemed Israel not only from Egypt (v. 12) but also from hosts of other enemies (v. 14). Can he now afford to allow his people to go unredeemed? Can he continue to allow them to be held in bondage by their sin and unrighteousness? Can he continue to leave them in a condition where there is no distinction between them and the pagan peoples around them? Will he be able to leave his temple in a state of ruin? Can a God like this continue to leave the nations of the world in darkness? Surely not! Surely he will take whatever steps he needs to protect and preserve the great name he has made for himself.

B1 (63:17-19) Complaining That the People of God Are Not Being Treated Like the People of God

1. (:17a) Questioning the Opposition of God

a. Opposing Us in our Course of Life

“Why, O LORD, dost Thou cause us to stray from Thy ways,”

Very difficult verse from theological sense since we know that God is not the author of sin

b. Opposing Us in the Condition of Our Heart

“And harden our heart from fearing Thee?”

Constable: Isaiah meant that God had caused Israel to sin and had hardened the hearts of the people in a judicial sense (cf. 6:9-13; Rom. 1:18-32). Because they had chosen to continue in sin, He judged them by allowing sin to dominate them. Isaiah wanted to place as much responsibility for the Israelites’ condition on God as possible. He had not saved them, so He could be said to have caused them to stray from Him and to harden their hearts. Really Israel had done these things, but because God had allowed it He could be said to be responsible for it.

Oswalt: Whatever else this verse claims, it does not claim that the people are not responsible for their sinfulness. No one could read this book and believe that Isaiah thought the people were forced to sin by God. At the same time, Isaiah is obviously at one with the rest of Scripture, which insists that a person’s relationship with God is not a matter of human initiative with an essentially passive deity. If persons turn to God, it is because God in his grace has enabled them to do so. If persons do not turn to him, it is because God has not given them the desire to do so.

2. (:17b-19) Pleading for a Restoration to God’s Favor –

How Long Before Our Situation Matches Our High Calling?

a. (:17b) Pleading Based on Their Status as God’s Heritage

“Return for the sake of Thy servants,

the tribes of Thy heritage.”

We have been called to belong to God in a special sense as His privileged servants, dwelling in the Promised Land which had been allocated by tribe for an ongoing possession;

Instead we are scattered about the world with no place to call home

Grogan: The word “return” may suggest the return of the shekinah glory to the temple as the symbol of God’s dwelling among his people (cf. Ezek 43:6-12). Certainly v. 18 implies that their sense of alienation from him is not unconnected with the destruction of their sanctuary. There is a deep sense of special election in v.19.

b. (:18) Pleading Based on Their Calling to Holiness

“Thy holy people possessed Thy sanctuary for a little while,

Our adversaries have trodden it down.”

We have been called to holiness and worship – centered around the temple in Jerusalem;

Instead the wicked and the profane have trodden down the temple ruins

c. (:19) Pleading Based on Their Kingdom Identity

“We have become like those over whom Thou hast never ruled,

Like those who were not called by Thy name.”

We have been called to be member of God’s kingdom; ruled over by God; reflecting the name of God; Instead we look no different than any other impoverished, vanquished, suffering nation

C1. (64:1-3) Testifying to the Awesome Impact of God’s Manifest Presence on the Nations

1. (64:1-2) Desiring God to Manifest His Presence in the Present

“Oh, that You would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might quake at Your presence –

As fire kindles the brushwood, as fire causes water to boil—

To make Thy name known to Thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at Thy presence!”

Fire often associated with the presence of God

Parunak: The metaphor presents God’s wrath as expected and unexceptional. It is as straightforward to him, as ordinary and common a process, as the kindling of a cooking fire and the boiling of water, something that happened thousands of times every day among the tents of Israel. “Lord, it is nothing to you to intervene. It’s no harder than making tea in the morning.”

2. (64:3) Reflecting on the Impact of God Manifesting His Presence in the Past

“When Thou didst awesome things which we did not expect,

Thou didst come down, the mountains quaked at Thy presence.”

Ex. 34:10 – a new thing; a terrifying and dreadful thing

Deut. 10:20-21 — has done these great and awesome and terrible things for you

Parunak: (64:1-3; 5b-7) In the first paragraph of this level, they ask that God would unveil his face to the nations to destroy them. But in the second, they recognize that they have also become his adversaries by sinning against him, and it is the hiding of his face of care and blessing that is the source of their distress.

D. (64:4-5a) God’s People Must Wait in Faith and Obedience for God to Intervene and Deliver His People

1. (:4) Only God Can Intervene in Such Amazing Ways On Behalf of Those

Who Wait for Him

“For from of old they have not heard nor perceived by ear,

neither has the eye seen a God besides Thee,

Who acts in behalf of the one who waits for Him.”

This is the heart of the lament/prayer – this is the core takeaway

Young: There is a waiting in which hope, confidence, and patience are combined.

Rom. 4:18-20 Abraham shows what it means to wait on God

2. (:5a) God Will Intervene and Deliver Those Who Wait in Faith and Obedience

“Thou dost meet him who rejoices in doing righteousness,

who remembers Thee in Thy ways.”

Our context is one of agitation and perplexity and confusion and wrestling with how things are vs. how we think things should be; but God’s answer is one of peace and rest and submission and waiting in faith and obedience

Parunak: stark contrast between God’s responsibility and ours:

• God “doeth”. This verb, which appears 2640 times in the OT, is the most generic, vanilla term for action in Hebrew, very much like “do” or “make” in English, without the notion of purpose included in “prepared.” God is characterized by action, by doing.

• Our job is to “wait for him.” He is active; we are passive. We naturally try to fix things ourselves. But the Lord insists that he is to do, and we are to wait.

So Moses exhorts the people at the shore of the Red Sea:

Exo 14:13 Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD

Or Jehoshaphat to the nation, faced with invasion by a powerful alliance:

2Ch 20:17 Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem:

Or the Lord, encouraging Ahaz not to go to Egypt for help:

Isa 30:15 For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not.

David bore witness,

Psa 40:1 I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.

And Isaiah summarizes his introduction to this whole section with the promise,

Isa 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Other gods place impossible demands on their worshippers. The God of Israel does for those who wait.

C2. (64:5b-7) Confessing the Devastating Impact of Sin –

Causing God to Hide His Face From His Chosen Nation

1. (:5b) Devastating Due to the Unleashing of God’s Anger — Is Deliverance Possible?

a. God’s Anger Justified

“Behold, Thou wast angry, for we sinned,”

b. Persistence in Sin Inexcusable

“We continued in them a long time;”

c. Salvation in Question

“And shall we be saved?”

Parunak: “We have been going on like this for a long time; is salvation possible for us?”

2. (:6) Devastating Due to the Impact of Sin on the Nation

a. Defiled the People

“For all of us have become like one who is unclean,

And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment;”

b. Destroyed the People

“And all of us wither like a leaf,

And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.”

Grogan: Verses 5-7 present a many-sided doctrine of sin, remarkably full for an OT passage. Sin is a continual practice, it is defiling, it is destructive, and it creates a barrier between God and man – both from man’s side, for we do not want to pray, and from God’s, because he will not hear us.

3. (:7) Devastating Due to the Bondage of Sin

a. No Ability to Turn to God

“And there is no one who calls on Thy name,

Who arouses himself to take hold of Thee;”

MacArthur: Such seeking and calling on the Lord as Isaiah describes in 55:6,7 cannot occur apart from the powerful conviction and awakening of the sinful heart by the Holy Spirit.

b. No Escaping the Bondage of Sin

“For Thou hast hidden Thy face from us,

And hast delivered us into the power of our iniquities.”

Oswalt: Because God would not look on the people with mercy (63:15), they are at the mercy of their iniquities. God has given them into the power (hand) of that which they have chosen (Rom. 1:18-24), and the result is that the people are helpless. They had thought that they would be independent if they could just free themselves from the tiresome constraints of the God of heaven. Instead, they have discovered a worse bondage than they ever dreamed possible. They are like leaves on the wind, not even having a desire to call on the name of the Lord.

B2. (64:8-9) Submitting as the People of God to Their Sovereign Designer, Righteous

Judge and Covenant-Keeping Father

1. (:8) Submitting to the Sovereign Designer – Sovereign Controls Our Destiny

“But now, O LORD, Thou art our Father,

We are the clay, and Thou our potter;

And all of us are the work of Thy hand.”

Illustration: Carrie Underwood song: Jesus, Take the Wheel – about a woman who is driving along with her baby strapped in a car seat in the back and hits a patch of black ice – as many of us find on the road of life – could just as easily be submitting to the potter who takes control of his wheel of designing the clay pot

Young: Great as is the wickedness of the people, they know that Yahweh is their Father and they expect His grace.

2. (:9a) Submitting to the Righteous Judge – Judge Will Do What is Appropriate

“Do not be angry beyond measure, O LORD,

Neither remember iniquity forever;”

Young: To remember iniquity is to visit it with the punishment that is its due. The prayer is that this remembrance will not be eternal (cf. 54:7,8)

3. (:9b) Submitting to the Covenant-Keeping Father – Covenant God Loves His Elect Nation

“Behold, look now, all of us are Thy people.”

A2. (64:10-12) Appealing for Deliverance to the Jealous God Who Must Lament the Devastation of His Earthly Habitation – Where is Our Help?

1. (:10-11) Shocking Devastation – Stirring God to Jealousy

a. (:10) Devastation of the Holy Cities – Especially Jerusalem

“Thy holy cities have become a wilderness,

Zion has become a wilderness,

Jerusalem a desolation.”

b. (:11) Devastation of the Holy Temple – Impacting the Praise Offered to God

“Our holy and beautiful house, Where our fathers praised Thee, Has been burned by fire;

And all our precious things have become a ruin.”

At the time Isaiah wrote, this was a prophecy of future burning and destruction of the temple.

2. (:12) Silence of God is Deafening – Final Appeal for Deliverance

“Wilt Thou restrain Thyself at these things, O LORD?

Wilt Thou keep silent and afflict us beyond measure?”

Oswalt: Will God restrain the compassion that Israel’s history has shown to be his most characteristic quality, and will he refuse to respond to their cries (be silent) for mercy and so continue to afflict them to the point of extinction (extremity)?

There is no question of God’s justice, nor are any excuses offered for Israel’s persistent sinning. There is clearly no hope at all in those directions. The only question is whether God’s pity for the condition of his children and his concern for his name, which is inextricably linked with Israel, might prompt him to intervene in the hearts and lives of his people, doing in them what they cannot do for themselves.

Ps. 10:1 “Why do You stand afar off, O Lord? Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble?”

Ps. 13:1 “How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me?”


The questions in this lament are not definitively answered in this section alone.

Ps. 121 “I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.”