June 5, 2020
Are You Longing for the Lord's Return?
By Skip Heitzig
Do you ever wish God would show up and make things right? I do. There are certain things I see or read about in the news that make me say, If God would just show up right now in blazing glory and take care of that, that would be okay with me.
He's promised that one day He will, but until then, we wait and long for Him to break into our world, echoing the cry of Isaiah the prophet in chapter 64 of his book. When Isaiah penned this passage, the superpower Assyria was conquering its way through Israel, so he simply cried out, "Oh God, show up. Help Your people."
There are three exhortations we can glean from Isaiah's prayer as we wait for God to show up:
1. Long for God's presence. This is really the theme of this prayer (see vv. 1-3). In verse 1, Isaiah wrote, "Oh, that You would rend the heavens! That You would come down!" He was pleading with God to miraculously intervene. And notice the reasoning behind it: "To make Your name known to Your adversaries, that the nations may tremble at Your presence!" (v. 2). He was basically saying, "God, do Your will, Your way, for Your glory, without restraint, in our generation." That's a prayer of longing.
2. Look at God's provision. Now, was there ever a time when Isaiah's prayer was answered and God came down from heaven to earth? Yes—in the person and provision of Jesus Christ. As John 1:14 says, "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us." Without Jesus, God would still be fuzzy, distant, and unknowable. Instead, He was made manifest in the person of Jesus Christ (see Matthew 1:23; John 1:18; 14:8-9). It was as if Isaiah said, "Oh, that You would rend the heavens and come down!" and Jesus said, "Okay—here I am."
3. Lean toward God's power. Will there ever be a time when Isaiah's prayer will be answered even more fully than it was at the first coming of Jesus? Yes—at the second coming of Jesus. Revelation 19:11-16 describes the day Jesus will return from heaven and establish His kingdom in power here on earth. All the prophets anticipated this worldwide takeover (see 2 Samuel 7:12-13; Isaiah 9:6-7; Daniel 2:44), and Jesus Himself predicted it (see Matthew 24:29-30). In John 18:36, He told Pontius Pilate that His "kingdom [was] not of this world"—yet. But it will be one day.
In the meantime, are you looking forward to that coming kingdom, to "the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13)? Some Christians just see the second coming of Christ as something that's intellectually stimulating. But then there are those believers who look for it and lean toward it like Isaiah and the prophets did. I hope and pray that's where you're at today—standing on your tiptoes in anticipation of that glorious event and longing for the Lord who will return and make all things right.
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Best-selling author Joel Rosenberg uses fiction and his own unique perspective to shed light on biblical prophecy in The Jerusalem Assassin. Discover a dramatic adventure ripped from the reality of today's headlines and set against the backdrop of the Middle East.