2 July 2015Isaiah 64:1-9
“Yet no one calls on your name or pleads with you for mercy. Therefore, you have turned away from us and turned us over to our sins.” (v. 7) (NLT)
Psalm: Psalm 39
The New Living Translation starts verse 7 with the words "yet." Verses 5 and 6 describe a really dire situation. Life is becoming rather bleak, things are just not as they should be, yet why is no one calling on God? Look back in the passage to Isaiah has just said in verse 4:
"From ages past non one has heard,
no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides you,
who works for those who wait for him."
Throughout the ancient near east at that time, the gods people served were numerous. Yet the God Isaiah is talking about is the only God who has actually ever done anything. What an amazing thing to consider. Here we have a God that actually does things, so why (in verse 7) are people not turning to him when life is a mess?
It is within this confusion of these passages that we once again can see the ministry of Jesus taking place in our current lives. We have a God that has done so much for us, a God who has demonstrated action throughout history, a God who crowned that action through Jesus dying on the cross, rising again and providing us with a forgiveness that we don't deserve. Isaiah was looking forward to a time when God would act again, where the issue of sin was dealt with and the people were once again able to move forward with God.
Jesus did that. He sorted out the issue of sin, and provided a way for sin to not be remembered any more. Yet here we are, 21 centuries later, still experiencing at times being swept up in the winds of sin, forgetting sometimes that Jesus dealt with that and shame and guilt compete within us. Maybe what is needed here is for us to remember God, to remember that no other god in history has acted for God's own people, and turn to God and pray. Then we need to let go of the shame and guilt that holds onto our sins for us and let God deal with them, which God did through Jesus.
- Jesus came so that we might have life (John 10:10). Knowing that, how do you feel this passage describes life without forgiveness?
- We are told in Jeremiah 31:34: "I will forgive their iniquity [wickedness], and remember their sin no more". How would you share today's passage with someone in light of this?
- What does it mean for you to be in a relationship with a God who acts in the interests of God's own his followers?