A Heart-Cry For God's Presence

Bible Book: Isaiah  64 : 1-9
Subject: Revival; Renewal
Introduction

Every prayer delivered earnestly, biblically and in faith toward Jesus is a prayer worthy to be uttered; however, some types of prayer are more noble than others. It is easy to pray for bread when you are hungry, for health when you're sick, for deliverance when trapped, etc. But how much more noble is the spiritual prayer when one requests the presence of God. Such is the prayer that I want us to inspect today. Please turn to Isaiah 64:1-9 as we look at the subject Heart-Cry For God's Presence.

Isaiah lived when people had forsaken God. His cry was noble since it was of a spiritual type and also necessary since renewal was deeply needed by the people. We live in a similar time, under similar conditions.

We can say without equivocation that that every child of God in this Church Age has the presence of God judicially, but that does not mean that it is experienced fully. There is something called the “fullness of the Spirit,” which speaks of the Spirit having full control over the life of the Christian. I may have the Spirit of God in me without the Spirit having full control of me! Even in this New Testament age, we need to “experience” the presence of the Lord in all His fullness. Paul’s desire was to know Jesus and the power of His resurrection. The great apostle did not assume for a moment that he had attained all that God had for him. Herein lies the nub of the problem for many modern Christians. Sadly, many think that being saved is merely a ticket to heaven and after that we mostly give a nod toward heaven and live as we wish. In some ways this is a plague on the modern church.

Though we cannot apply the Old Testament text before us in exactly the same way that it would have been understood in the contemporary context in which it was written, we can gain from it much in the way of renewing a desire for a heart-felt presence of the Lord in our hearts and minds today. In our modern day we would refer to such as occurrence as “revival,” and how we do need that today!

Let us look today at 3 aspects of Isaiah: Heart-Cry for God's Presence.

I. The Praise

I remember while I was in college that I needed financial aid, so I went to a great industrialist who owned several textile plants in my area. I asked him for help, but before I asked him for a college grant I showered him with compliments about how wonderful I had heard he was toward students. After all those kind words he would have felt like a heel to say NO. Before I left his office, he agreed to give me some financial help - not one of the textile plants - but a little help nonetheless.

Isaiah begins his cry for God’s experiential presence with words of praise for the greatness and goodness of God. Notice how he does this.

A. For His Marvelous Works. vs. 2-3

Isaiah knows how marvelous God's works have been. We cannot praise God if we are not thoughtful of His power and how He has displayed it in wonderful ways.

Just as water must boil when it is set over the fire, God's people will have to do something if He comes in power upon our lives.

Like mountains quaked on Sinai when Moses met with God, there will be a shaking of our lives when we meet fully with His presence.

Like Red Sea parted at His presence, we will see a new path opened to us when we are ready for Him to fully expose us to His forceful presence!

Oh to see His wonderful works! But, we cannot see His mighty unless we are willing to submit to the fullness of His presence, and that begins when we acknowledge His marvelous works in history, in our lives and in the lives of those we know.

B. His Mysterious Wonders. v. 4

Isaiah continues by praising the Lord for his mysterious works. The Red Sea parting, the Manna from heaven, the incredible deeds done through His people are only possible for a people who realize that the same God who did those things is with us. His arm is not shortened that He cannot do them today. Liberalism may try to explain away these mighty deeds of the Lord, but the people who embrace His presence will see Him continue His mysterious works in our midst.

The mysterious works of God are provided for those who wait on Him. Isaiah acknowledges that when faith is present to trust the true presence of God, nothing is impossible.

C. His Merciful Ways. v. 5

When Joseph was sold into slavery, God used it to deliver his family from famine.

When people murmured against God in wilderness, God still led their descendants into Promised Land.

When the people were carried into Babylon because of their rebellion, God still sent remnant back to the homeland.

When Jesus was crucified, He still said, "Father forgive them they know not what they do."

Even today His mercy is extended. No wonder the Psalmist said, "His mercy endureth forever and ever."

II. The Problem

A. Forsaken Cleanliness

In this passage the Hebrew word ‘tame’ is used. This word means ‘foul,’ ‘polluted,’ or ‘defiled.’ God’s people had begun to mix faith with worldliness. Two ideas are used here. First, the deeds that the people sought to do were considered ‘rags.’ It was not their evil deeds that were consider as useless rags; it was their righteous deeds that were worthless. Without faith, our deeds are dead. Even an atheist may act in a moral way, but that does make him righteous before God. For us, in the modern era, we need to remember that there will be a day of judgment when even the Christian will come before Jesus for or works to be reviewed. This will not be to determine whether we will enter heaven, but will be to determine if our works were done in faith – through His presence in us – or whether they were simply wood and hay.

In this passage, Isaiah also reveals that our days are numbered. We are like a leaf falling from a tree. We are alive one minute and dust in the next. We must consider redeeming the time for the days are evil! We must not forsake the purity of submitting our lives to the fullness of the Lord.

B. Forsaken Call of God

In Isaiah’s day, the people had ceased to call others to the Lord. The witness for the Lord had died. Proclamation had ceased. Why does this happen? When God’s people are not filled with the presence of the Lord, they cease to have a powerful witness. After all, we are not simply witnessing for Him, but He is witnessing through us.

Also, the people were not involved in fervent prayer to the Lord. They stopped calling upon the Lord. No one can live in the fullness of God’s presence without a faithful prayer life! Just look at 2 Chronicles 7:14 to see that this is true.

C. Forsaken, Thus, Consumed

God’s people were beginning to melt and be consumed by the flesh and the world. The Hebrew word used here means ‘to make soft.’ So they were losing ability to stand against enemies. Dear people, if we forsake the fullness of God’s presence, we will become weak before our enemies. Only His presence can give us strength to stand firm as Christians, as a church and as a nation.

III. The Plea

So Isaiah makes his plea!

A. Commitment like Clay to the Potter

As the potter's mud must yield to his hand, so must we yield to God's hand. His presence will not be fully experienced unless we are willing to be clay in the potter's hand.

B. Confession Like a Child to a Parent

As a son comes to his father asking for mercy, after some dreadful mistake, so we must come to God. We must confess those areas of our lives that falls short of God's will and plan. It is not just the things we do, but encompasses the things that we fail to do. We must stop pointing fingers at others, especially at the world in general, and look in the divine mirror. When we come humbly to the Lord, He forgives and restores us. He fills us with His Spirit. He strengthens us. He revives us!

Conclusion

We need a revival of God’s presence in our hearts. We will never see homes restored, our loved ones saved, our joy renewed, our peace increased, and our church on fire from above, until we cry out for Him to fill us! Let us come before Him with remembrance that leads to sincere praise, with a confession of our uncleanness, and with a sincere plea for Him to take us like clay in His hand and mold us into all He desires for us to be. We must come like the Prodigal Son and throw ourselves upon His mercy.

When I was a teenager, I did something that I knew was wrong. I hated to face my father with the truth, but I knew it was the best thing to do. When I came before him, he did not scold me or punish me, but rather gave me complete mercy. That is what our heavenly Father will do, if we will but admit that we have a need to be restored and to know the complete fullness of His Spirit within our lives. But, it must be a heart-cry for His presence!

Some years ago, I had an evangelist come to preach a revival in the church I pastored. The preacher delivered God's Word that week in a simple manner, accompanied with stories of people whose lives had been changed by the power of God. During that week, people began to fall under conviction. We had experienced revival services before, but not like the services we had that week. What was the difference? Instead of people talking about how awful the world had become, and how terrible some of the people were, they began to fall down and weep before God concerning their own weaknesses and sins. The cry I heard that week was, "Lord, cleanse me! Forgive me for my arrogance. Make me pure and use me for your sake!" The simple cry from the hearts of God's people brought a movement from heaven.

People who were occasional Christians became committed Christians. They began to ask for ways they could serve. Our stewardship soared. People starting bringing friends to church for many weeks after that meeting and numbers of them were saved. People started having prayer meetings that were not planned by me or by the church. A divine love filled our people and that passion created a unity that every church should have. A heart-cry for God's presence went up to the Lord and the cleansing, refreshing, mighty power of God fell on our fellowship. That is what we need today. Lord, send a revival!