Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Isaiah 62:1-9 Rending the Heavens

KEY TEXT: Isaiah 64:1-2 Oh, that You would rend the heavens! That You would come down! That the mountains might shake at Your presence — as fire burns brushwood, as fire causes water to boil — to make Your name known to Your adversaries, that the nations may tremble at Your presence! (NKJV)

KEY THOT: This prayer of Isaiah echoes the Lord's Prayer: 
(1) "Oh that You would rend the heavens! That you would come down!--"Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven" 
(2) "to make Your name known to Your adversaries, that the nations may tremble at Your presence" -- "Hallowed be Your name!"

This parallel helps us understand what the kingdom is in the Hebrew mindset: that it is about a powerful intervention of God in human affairs to demonstrate his presence and power. And this is precisely what happened on the Day of Pentecost: Heavens was rent open and the kingdom of God came down in power: "When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting" (Acts 2:1-2). And this would be the first of many such rendings of the heavens throughout church history. We typically call these events "revivals".

Especially in these final days before Jesus' return, we should all the more expect God to "rend the heavens". In the final hour, Christ himself will rend the heavens and will appear in glory with the destruction of this old earth and the appearance of the new heavens and new earth: "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells." (2 Peter 3:10-13, NKJV)

As the Lord has taught us, so we pray daily, "Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." We pray for God's kingdom to be manifested in our midst in preparation for the full revelation at His coming. When God's kingdom is manifested in our midst, we will experience what the NT church experienced in Acts 2:43-45, "Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need." When God shows up, the church will grow--even without any overt evangelistic method because the church itself will be the "method": "And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved" (v.47). 

We should be very focused in our prayer meetings to pray not just for our daily needs (which is a valid petition: "Give us this day our daily bread"). But we must not neglect the first petition: "Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come!" That must remain the priority of all prayer meetings. Prayer meetings are not about us, nor are they for us. Prayer meetings are for God to "rend the heavens" and "come down!". It is the channel for divine intervention into human affairs.

Jesus tells us to ask the Father for the outpouring of His Spirit and He will give to us as His children: "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!"  (Luke 11:13).

Abba-Father, may Your kingdom come! May Your name be hallowed! May Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven! Amen.

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