Isaiah 64 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Isaiah 64)

Verse 1

[1] Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence,

Rent — A metaphor taken from men, that when they would resolutely help one in distress, break and fling open doors and whatever may hinder.

Flow down — That all impediments might be removed out of the way: possibly an allusion to God's coming down upon mount Sinai, in those terrible flames of fire.

Verse 2

[2] As when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence!

Fire — Come with such zeal for thy people, that the solid mountains may be no more before thy breath, than metal that runs, or water that boils by the force of a vehement fire.

Known — That thine enemies may know thy power, and that thy name may be dreaded among them.

Verse 3

[3] When thou didst terrible things which we looked not for, thou camest down, the mountains flowed down at thy presence.

Terrible things — This may relate to what he did among the Egyptians, tho' it be not recorded, and afterward in the wilderness.

Looked not for — Such things as we could never expect.

Mountains — Kings, princes, and potentates, may metaphorically be understood by these mountains.

Verse 4

[4] For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.

Besides thee — This is to be applied to all the wonderful works, that God at all times wrought for his people: and thus they are a plea with God, that they might well expect such things from him now, that had done such wonderful things for their fathers.

Waiteth — This may be taken with reference both to the state of grace and glory, those incomprehensible things that are exhibited through Christ in the mysteries of the gospel.

Verse 5

[5] Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, those that remember thee in thy ways: behold, thou art wroth; for we have sinned: in those is continuance, and we shall be saved.

Meetest — As the father the prodigal.

Worketh — That rejoices to work righteousness.

Continuance — To those that work righteousness.

Be saved — In so doing, in working righteousness.

Verse 6

[6] But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

Unclean — Formerly there were some that feared thee; but now we are all as one polluted mass, nothing of good left in us by reason of an universal degeneracy.

And all — The very best of us all are no better than the uncleanest things.

Taken — Carried away to Babylon, as leaves hurried away by a boisterous wind.

Verse 7

[7] And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities.

That calleth — That call upon thee as they ought.

Take hold — Either to stay thee from departing from us, or to fetch thee back when departed.

Verse 8

[8] But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.

Our father — Notwithstanding all this thou art our father both by creation, and by adoption, therefore pity us thy children.

Verse 9

[9] Be not wroth very sore, O LORD, neither remember iniquity for ever: behold, see, we beseech thee, we are all thy people.

Thy people — Thou hast no people in covenant but us, and wilt thou not leave thyself a people in the world?

Verse 11

[11] Our holy and our beautiful house, where our fathers praised thee, is burned up with fire: and all our pleasant things are laid waste.

Pleasant things — The king's palace, and the houses of the nobles, and other pieces of state and magnificence.

Verse 12

[12] Wilt thou refrain thyself for these things, O LORD? wilt thou hold thy peace, and afflict us very sore?

Wilt thou — Do none of these things move thee to take vengeance? Thy peace - Wilt thou be as one that regards not?