Bible Pathways 8/13/2000
Isaiah 64 -- 66
The powerful Assyrians conquered one nation after another. Most of the Northern Kingdom of Israel was defeated and carried away captive by the Assyrians during the reign of King Pekah (Isaiah 7:1; II Kings 15:27-29). About 12 years later, Samaria, the capital city, was defeated and the rest of the Northern Kingdom was taken captive and carried off into various parts of the Assyrian Empire. About 10 years after that, Assyria captured 46 of the cities of the Southern Kingdom of Judah and took captive about 200,000 of Judah's people. Undoubtedly Isaiah was greatly encouraged with godly King Hezekiah, whose reign followed that of wicked Ahaz.
After Hezekiah's death, his ungodly son Manasseh ruled. Manasseh was one of the most wicked kings in Judah's history. It was during this time that Isaiah cried out to God with intensity: Oh that You would rend the heavens, that You would come down, that the mountains might flow down at Your presence. . . . Since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither has the eye seen a God besides You, and what He has prepared for them who wait for Him (Isaiah 64:1,4).
Isaiah prayed that the mountains (of opposition) might flow down, but they were rising from without as well as within. Judah, the kingdom entrusted by God to possess His Temple and the Ark of the Covenant, containing His original revelation to Moses, was being brought very low. The people had abandoned their Lord. They were either listening to popular false prophets or turning to the false gods of neighboring countries. Isaiah identified himself with the nation when he cried out to God: There is none that calls upon Your Name, that stirs up himself to take hold of You . . . You have hid Your face from us, and have consumed us, because of our iniquities (64:7).
Much of Judah's land had already been made desolate: Your holy cities are a wilderness . . . Jerusalem a desolation (64:10). Her people were scattered, and only a small minority were loyal to the Lord God of Israel. In Judah, the Word of God as proclaimed by Isaiah had been ignored: I have spread out My hands all the day to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts (65:2). The Lord responded: I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none answered; when I spoke, they did not hear: but they did evil before My eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not. Hear the Word of the Lord, you that tremble at His Word (66:4-5).
Some of our mountains are the result of active opposition from Satan. However, other mountains of hindrance actually arise from our neglect of the Church: our lack of assembling with other believers, reading the Word of God, praying, and worshiping the Lord (Hebrews 10:25). Selfish interests often become mountains between us and our relationship with God, and they rob our lives of spiritual power. The Lord God will remove, or provide strength to overcome, every mountain and every difficulty when we turn to His Word, the only means of knowing His will.
The Apostle Paul quoted from Isaiah 64:4 to encourage the Corinthian church: Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love Him (I Corinthians 2:9).
As the Creator of new heavens and a new earth (Isaiah 65:17; 66:22; compare John 1:1-3; II Pet. 3:13). As the One whose glory will be declared among the nations (Isaiah 66:18-19; Rev. 5:12-13).
64:3 terrible means awesome; 64:11 are laid waste means have been destroyed; 65:14 howl for vexation of spirit means cry out in misery; 66:6 voice means sound.
Government Officials: Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (FL) and Rep. Peter Visclosky (IN) · BPM Staff: George Kopchak · Pray for the American Center for Law and Justice · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio Broadcast in honor of Linda Kennon · Country: Angola (9 million) in west-central Africa · Major languages: Portuguese and Bantu dialects · Christianity is gradually being driven underground by communism · 60% Roman Catholic; 20% Protestant; 5% belief in ancestor spirits, witches, and medicine men · Prayer Suggestion: Pray and lift up your prayers to God with the spirit of understanding (I Corinthians 14:15).
I Peter 3
Memory Verse for the Week:
II Thessalonians 1:9