Isaiah 64

1 Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains would tremble before you!
2 As when fire sets twigs ablaze and causes water to boil, come down to make your name known to your enemies and cause the nations to quake before you!
3 For when you did awesome things that we did not expect, you came down, and the mountains trembled before you.
4 Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.
5 You come to the help of those who gladly do right, who remember your ways. But when we continued to sin against them, you were angry. How then can we be saved?
6 All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
7 No one calls on your name or strives to lay hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us and have given us over to[a] our sins.
8 Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.
9 Do not be angry beyond measure, LORD; do not remember our sins forever. Oh, look on us, we pray, for we are all your people.
10 Your sacred cities have become a wasteland; even Zion is a wasteland, Jerusalem a desolation.
11 Our holy and glorious temple, where our ancestors praised you, has been burned with fire, and all that we treasured lies in ruins.
12 After all this, LORD, will you hold yourself back? Will you keep silent and punish us beyond measure?

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Isaiah 64 Commentary

Chapter 64

The church prays that God's power may be manifested. (1-5) A confession of sin, and afflictions bewailed. (6-12)

Verses 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.

Verses 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.

Cross References 31

  • 1. Psalms 18:9; Psalms 144:5
  • 2. ver 3; Micah 1:3
  • 3. S Exodus 19:18
  • 4. S Isaiah 30:27
  • 5. Psalms 99:1; Psalms 119:120; Jeremiah 5:22; Jeremiah 33:9
  • 6. S Psalms 65:5
  • 7. S Psalms 18:7
  • 8. S Isaiah 43:10-11
  • 9. S Isaiah 30:18; 1 Corinthians 2:9*
  • 10. S Isaiah 26:8
  • 11. S Isaiah 10:4
  • 12. S Leviticus 5:2; S Leviticus 12:2
  • 13. Isaiah 46:12; Isaiah 48:1
  • 14. S Psalms 1:3; Psalms 90:5-6
  • 15. Psalms 1:4; Jeremiah 4:12
  • 16. S Isaiah 41:28; Isaiah 59:4; Isaiah 63:5; Jeremiah 8:6; Ezekiel 22:30
  • 17. S Psalms 14:4
  • 18. Deuteronomy 31:18; Isaiah 1:15; Isaiah 54:8
  • 19. S Isaiah 9:18; Ezekiel 22:18-22
  • 20. S Exodus 4:22; S Jeremiah 3:4; Isaiah 63:16
  • 21. S Isaiah 29:16; Romans 9:20-21
  • 22. S Job 10:3; S Isaiah 19:25
  • 23. Isaiah 54:8; Isaiah 57:17; Isaiah 60:10; Lamentations 5:22
  • 24. S Isaiah 43:25
  • 25. S Psalms 100:3; S Isaiah 51:4
  • 26. Psalms 78:54; S Isaiah 1:26
  • 27. S Deuteronomy 29:23
  • 28. S Leviticus 26:31; S 2 Kings 25:9; Psalms 74:3-7; Lamentations 2:7
  • 29. ver 10-11; Lamentations 1:7,10
  • 30. S Genesis 43:31; Psalms 74:10-11; Isaiah 42:14
  • 31. S Esther 4:14; S Psalms 50:21; S Psalms 83:1

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Septuagint, Syriac and Targum; Hebrew "have made us melt because of"

Chapter Summary


The prayer of the church is continued in this chapter; in which she prays for some visible display of the power and presence of God, as in times past, Isa 64:1-3, and the rather, since unheard of and unseen things were prepared by the Lord for his people; and it was his usual way to meet those that were truly religious, Isa 64:4,5, and she acknowledges her sins and transgressions; the imperfections of her own righteousness, and remissness in duty, Isa 64:5-7, pleads relation to God, and implores his mercy, Isa 64:8,9, represents the desolate condition of Judea, Zion, Jerusalem, and the temple, and entreats divine commiseration, Isa 64:10-12.

Isaiah 64 Commentaries

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