Isaiah 51

A Longing For God.

“Wake up, wake up, O Lord! Clothe yourself with strength! Flex your mighty right arm! Rouse yourself as in the days of old when you slew Egypt, the dragon of the Nile.” ­– Isaiah 51:9 NLT

When you watch the news on TV, check it out online or listen to it on the radio, do you ever find yourself longing for God to do something? Does all the bad news ever make you wish for a bit of good news, some righteous intervention by God on behalf of His people and a world suffering under sin?  The prophet Isaiah had the job of warning the people of Judah about God’s coming judgment. He was surrounded by sin and a people who had lost their moral compass. They had turned away from God and were committing spiritual adultery – proving themselves unfaithful to the One who had done so much for them. Every day Isaiah had to bring a message filled with doom and gloom to the people of God. And he saw few respond to what he had to say. So in the midst of all the negativity, he cried out to God. He longed for God to “wake up” and do something. And while we know God never sleeps or slumbers (Psalm 121:4), from Isaiah’s perspective it appeared as if God had fallen asleep on the job. Things appeared to be going from bad to worse. So he called out to God. He asked Him to do something, to flex His muscles and intervene on behalf of the people of God. Isaiah wanted to see God do something spectacular like He did when He parted the Red Sea. Isaiah wanted a good, old-fashioned miracle to happen. He longed to see God do His thing. He rhetorically asked, “Are you not the same today, the one who dried up the sea, making a path of escape through the depths so that your people could cross over?” (Isaiah 51:10 NLT). He knew God had not changed, even thought their circumstances had. He was just as powerful, merciful, gracious, loving, patient and kind. So Isaiah asked God to do something great. He wanted to see the God of the universe do what only He could do to solve their predicament.

Do you long to see God work? Do you fully understand that He alone is the solution to all of our world’s problems? God reminds you and me of our need for Him, just like He did the people of Isaiah’s day: “Listen to me, my people. Hear me, Israel, for my law will be proclaimed, and my justice will become a light to the nations. My mercy and justice are coming soon. My salvation is on the way. My strong arm will bring justice to the nations. All distant lands will look to me and wait in hope for my powerful arm.” (Isaiah 51:3-4 NLT). This has and always will be about God. This is His show. He alone is the central actor in this play called life. The universe revolves around Him and not us. He alone can do something about the mess we find ourselves in. But how bad do we want to see Him work? How desperate are we for God to intervene? How bad does it need to get for us to finally wake up and realize that it is we who are asleep, not Him? Rather than long for God, we have learned to long after all kinds of replacements for God. We long for wealth, health, ease, pleasure, recognition, comfort, power, possessions, fame, fortune, popularity, friends, peace, and a wide range of other things that are little more than poor substitutes for God. God wants us to long for Him. He wants us to call out to Him. He wants us to turn to Him and wait eagerly for Him to reveal His power on our behalf.

God assures us, “I, yes I, am the one who comforts you. So why are you afraid of mere humans, who wither like the grass and disappear?” (Isaiah 51:12 NLT). So go ahead, watch the news. But don’t panic. Don’t fear. Don’t worry about all the evil you see taking place around you. God is in control. He can and will do something about it all. You can count on it.

Father, I long to see you work. I am tired of seeing what men can do. I am sick of watching how my own scheme turn out – usually for the worse. So I want to see Your power revealed in my circumstances. I want to watch as You do what only You can do. Flex Your might right arm! I watching and waiting. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men