“Lord, why don’t you tear the sky open and come down?”
On the first Sunday of Advent we heard the desperate cry of the prophet Isaiah, “Lord, why don’t you tear the sky open and come down?” (v.1 GNB). Isaiah’s cry was born out of his frustration over the fact that, instead of faithfulness, God’s people had chosen the path of unfaithfulness and therefore self-destruction. They had forgotten God’s faithfulness and justice. They had forgotten their sinful condition before their sovereign and holy God and the mercy if that same God (Isaiah 64:4-7). So, Isaiah prayed, “Why don’t you tear the sky open and come down, and make the mountains tremble before you?” (Isaiah 64:1-3).?read on at
Perhaps you are feeling a bit like Isaiah now. Our nation’s political leaders and people are abandoning godly values like the sanctity of marriage and of human life. God’s people themselves are increasingly abandoning God’s Word and his church. We or our families are suffering under the weight of personal difficulties. The future doesn’t look promising. In dismay and desperation, we may want to join Isaiah in his cry, “Lord, why don’t you tear the sky open and come down?”
The good news we proclaim at Advent and Christmas is that God has answered both Isaiah’s prayer and ours, but not in the way we might expect. The Lord did come down, but not at first with a torn-apart sky and trembling mountains. Isaiah had also announced, “A virgin shall conceive and give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). “For unto us a child is born” (Isaiah 9:6). God came down as a human baby, wrapped in strips of cloth and laid in a manger. God entered the frustration and messiness of our world. He came to glorify his Father’s name by his sacrificial death on the cross. He came to show God’s unsurpassed faithfulness by tackling sin head on, by taking God’s anger at human sin upon himself. He came to show that God was not angry beyond measure and would not remember our sins forever, but would look with mercy on those who put our trust in him.
In the reassurance of that good news we can look forward to the time when the Lord will indeed “tear the sky open and come down” and the mountains will indeed tremble before him. We can look forward to that day remembering how faithful, just and forgiving God is. Despite the messiness in our world and in our lives, we can confidently remember with Isaiah, “Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him. You come to the help of those who gladly do right, who remember your ways” (Isaiah 64:4-5).
So, as we celebrate our Saviour’s first coming and long for our Saviour’s second coming, it is right for us to join Isaiah and pray:
Stir up your power, Lord, and come. Protect us, so that we may be rescued from the threatening dangers of our sins, and saved by your deliverance. For you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.