Dave Fowler spoke yesterday in church on Isaiah 65.
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.’