The whole talk is worth hearing, but here’s one point that struck me. It’s that Isaiah 65 is, at least in part, God’s answer to the prayer of Isaiah 64 –
Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down,
that the mountains might quake at your presence …
God’s answer starts – gently, I believe – by reminding us that he’s not hidden.
I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me;
I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me.
I said, “Here am I, here am I,”
to a nation that was not called by my name.
The problem was not an absence of God. The problem was a rebellious people who follow their own ways (65:2). In fact, the Lord already had knowledge of people who faithfully sought him (65:10) – proving that there was ready access to God.
The Lord even hints at Isaiah’s personal experience. God’s ‘Here am I’ (65:1) is surely an echo of Isaiah himself (6:8) when confronted with the terrifying but cleansing vision of God as king.
God himself was not hidden – the presenting problem was really the hiddenness of people. The distinction between rebel against God and true seeker of God was obscure. To paraphrase Isaiah’s prayer from chapter 64: ‘When the people of God and the people against God are intermingled, I don’t know if God is present. Please God, show yourself.’
And to paraphrase God’s answer: ‘I am here. And when I bring the new heavens and earth, you will see who is my servant and who isn’t. So hear me and seek me today.’