In this chapter we see God’s people in exile calling out for God to intervene on their behalf – they are desperate! In the first four verses, the language is similar to other OT passages such as Psalms 18:7-15; 68:7-8; 77:14-20 that describe a visible appearance of God. A past event is referred to when God revealed himself in awesome power as the one true God. “Mountains trembled” could relate specifically to the events at Sinai (Exodus 19:16-18), but alternatively could be a figurative device to denote another occasion of dramatic manifestation by God on behalf of his people.
In verses 5 to 7 we see that the problem for God’s people is that despite his anger with their sin they continued to sin against him and as a result he justly afflicted them with his more severe judgments, most notably exile in keeping with the covenant stipulations (see Leviticus 26 & Deuteronomy 28). The question, “How can we be saved?” represents an expression of the desperate situation facing God’s people. “You have hidden your face from us” speaks of the reality of God withdrawing from his sinful people.
In the final four verses of the chapter, once again, as in 63:16, appeal is made to God as the Father of his people. The sovereignty of God over his people is acknowledged in the analogy of the potter and the clay. The request is made that God would not remain angry with the sin of his people indefinitely. The context of his plea for mercy is the ravaged land where various cities and the temple have been overrun. The historical situation presumably relates to the Babylonian invasion that precedes the deportation of God’s people to the land of that foreign power.
How desperate are we for God to break-in to our nation? What would it take for us to rally and join together to call on God in concerted and impassioned prayer? The need of our nation and town is great and now is surely the time to give ourselves to calling out to God for him to have mercy. Why not take advantage of less busy diaries and connect with others of your church family by joining us ever Sunday evening to pray with us in our Zoom Engine Room, details to be found in the weekly email? This could become a new priority for us as a church that carries through beyond the lockdown.
PRAYER: Read the following poem and reflect. Now pray for a mighty move of God to bring salvation to the people of our nation.