Monday, January 23, 2017

Hiding His Face

Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save,
    nor his ear too dull to hear.
But your iniquities have separated
    you from your God;
your sins have hidden his face from you,
    so that he will not hear. 
Isaiah 59:1-2

There probably aren't any words in scripture which contain more sadness than these. Isaiah is among those prophets who gave the messages of doom and gloom because of the unfaithfulness of Israel. In these opening verses of Isaiah 59, several facts are established. 1. God has not lost his power to save, nor has he closed his ears to the prayers of his people. 2. People are separated from God because of sin. 3.  Sin hides his face from us so that he will not hear. 

If you want to really get depressed, keep reading about the situation of Israel.  Not only were they content in their sins, it seems as if there was no concern on the part of anyone that their present condition was leading to disaster. 

We are looking at intercessory prayer, the prayers we pray on behalf of others. Would you pray for a people like these?  When you pray, do you specifically mention those whose lives are separated from God?  For the people in Isaiah 59, it was the repetition of lifestyle they had grown accustomed to, the lifestyle of sin, confession, and redemption. Over and over again.

I mentioned these were among the saddest verses in scripture, but there is one observation that tops all the others when it comes to sadness. Verses 15-16, "Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey. The Lord looked and was displeased that there was no justice. 16 He saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene."

Did you catch that? No doubt God was displeased because of the absence of truth. There is no question that God was upset because there was no justice. The Bible says God was appalled that no one was interceding.
In an age where we are quick to judge others, speedy to spread the news of failure, and insistent on not making room for a second chance, I am wondering if God is asking his people, "Why haven't you prayed for them?  Why haven't they been the primary focus of your intercessory prayers?"

That gives us a new perspective on the importance of praying for each other. Surely there is a list of people you know who would appreciate you mentioning them to God when you pray. When the people of God talk to him on behalf of others, we are unleashing an unlimited source of power; the power to overcome, the power to forgive, and yes, the power to love as God loves us. 


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