Text: Isaiah 64:1-6
1-7 Oh, that you would rip open the heavens and descend,
make the mountains shudder at your presence—
As when a forest catches fire,
as when fire makes a pot to boil—
To shock your enemies into facing you,
make the nations shake in their boots!
You did terrible things we never expected,
descended and made the mountains shudder at your presence.
Since before time began
no one has ever imagined,
No ear heard, no eye seen, a God like you
who works for those who wait for him.
You meet those who happily do what is right,
who keep a good memory of the way you work.
But how angry you’ve been with us!
We’ve sinned and kept at it so long!
Is there any hope for us? Can we be saved?
We’re all sin-infected, sin-contaminated.
Our best efforts are grease-stained rags.
We dry up like autumn leaves—
sin-dried, we’re blown off by the wind.
No one prays to you
or makes the effort to reach out to you
Because you’ve turned away from us,
left us to stew in our sins.
Written by who is called Trito-Isaiah, this text is the regret (all our righteous deeds are like contaminated rags) and a petition (O that you would tear open the heavens and come down).
The text nests within an acknowledgment of who God is and what He has done. “You came down, and the mountains quaked at your presence. When you were angry you hid yourself and delivered us to our evil deeds.” “Left us to stew in our sins,” as the Message says it.
The Psalmist also recognizes the importance of waiting on God. “Waiting” means attention focused on hearing God and being responsive to God. Waiting means pushing aside distracting things to give space to God in one’s life.
Advent is a good time to practice waiting. It is also a good time to ask what things in our lives keep us from being ready for God’s presence. This increases the possibility that we will be left to “stew in our sins.”
Are you waiting?
My soul with patience waits
by Tate & Brady, 1698
My soul with patience waits
For Thee, the living Lord:
My hopes are on Thy promise built,
Thy never-failing Word.
My longing eyes look out
For Thy enlivening ray,
More duly than the morning watch
To spy the dawning day.
Let Israel trust in God;
No bounds His mercy knows;
The plenteous source and spring from whence
Eternal succor flows;
Whose friendly streams to us
Supplies in want convey;
A healing spring, a spring to cleanse
And wash our guilt away.
Dear Father, help me to be still as I await Your presence and direction. Give me the wisdom to recognize what, at this moment, is what is best.
God, wait on you please abide in me I pray. I yearn for You, Oh Lord my God, embrace me in your loving arms. I am vulnerable, defenseless and on my knees, crying out to You; please draw near.
Please be with me as I wait. In Jesus’ name I pray this. Amen.
Choose someone with whom you can wait. That waiting may be praying with them, reading to them, or just conversing with them. Our world is so fast and so distracting, this may seem like a difficult task. Write a note to yourself about how you experienced “waiting” with someone else.