The “Day of the Lord” is both a day of “favour”, a jubilee of jubilees and a day of vengeance.  God pronounces judgement on sin and evil. For believers in Jesus, there is the good news that their sin was judged on the Cross but for those who reject Jesus, there is still the judgement day to come.

Read Isaiah 63-64

A warrior leader is seen returning from the fray, from Edom, one of Israel’s rivals. Who are they?  We are meant to recognise them as the anointed one, the servant, saviour, king.  Their clothes are bloodstained and this will cause us to think of Christ’s death on the Cross but the imagery here is more of the bloodshed in battle.  Even as God acts in mercy to save his people, he also acts to bring vengeance against the enemies of him and his people (63:1-6).

This contrasts with his steadfast love to rebellious Israel. They were stubborn and rejected him, leading to discipline. Note the striking language “He became their enemy.”  However, he did not give up on them.  There is a repeated historical pattern of rescue and salvation that goes back to Moses day (63:7-14).

These eternal truths are designed to provoke the people at the point when they are under discipline to turn and repent. There is a point when  despite their ancestral heritage, they cannot claim to be true Israel, they are a people that Abraham would not know and would disown.  This truth about Israel also offers hope to Gentiles who put their hope in Christ.  We can even more recognise that we are not known by Abraham and yet God shows us mercy (63:15-19).

So, now in Isaiah 64, the prophet speaks, sings, prays on behalf of the people at the very point when they are under judgement, as they face exile.  He pleads with God to act as he did in the past, to show compassion and power, to come and deliver his people. He acknowledges God’s awesome power (64:1-4) and contrast his holiness with their uncleanness (64:5-7).

He recognises God’s sovereignty. He is like a potter who can form the clay as he desires.  Again, even as he recognises God’s right to do as he wills, he pleads with God to show mercy (64:8-12).


Meditate on the opening words of Isaiah 65

Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down

  1. Give thanks for the truth that God has already done this through Christ’s first coming, death and resurrection, as well as through the Holy Spirit.
  2. Consider the implications of this verse pointing to the final day when Jesus returns.
  3. How might we pray this prayer for our context now? What would it look like for God to “rend the heavens and come down” into your situation?

We pray “come Lord Jesus.”  It’s a prayer that you would intervene in the affairs of our world today, in what is happening in our church, in what is going on in my life.  But we also pray “Come quickly Lord Jesus” as we look forward to your coming again in power and glory to make everything new.

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