How many times have I read the book of Isaiah?
And still I am nearly blind!
Over the last 45 years, I have probably read the famous Jewish prophet at between 20-25 times. Over the last two years, I have probably read Isaiah 64:1-4 at least 350 times. It is taped to the outside of my shower door and greets me nearly every day. It has been a comfort and a goad to pray and trust God for miracles I haven’t seen but desperately want to see before I die.
So it was a surprise last week when I saw a singular where I had always seen a plural. How had I not seen that before. So I checked some other translations. Some were ambiguous. One was plural, like I had always read it. But most, surprisingly were singular, and yet I had never seen it!
Next step: Go back to the Hebrew. I had one question, “should it be translated as a singular or a plural in verse 5 based on the grammar and context?”
1 Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down,
that the mountains might quake at your presence—
2 as when fire kindles brushwood
and the fire causes water to boil—
to make your name known to your adversaries,
and that the nations might tremble at your presence!
3 When you did awesome things which we did not expect,
you came down and the mountains quaked at your presence.
4 From of old no one has heard
or perceived by the ear,
no eye has seen a God besides you,
who acts on behalf of the one who waits for Him.
There it is in verse 4. That last line.
It doesn’t say,
“who acts on behalf of those who wait for Him.” nor
“who acts on behalf of the people who wait for Him,” neither does it say,
“who acts on behalf of the nation who waits for Him,” nor
“who acts on behalf of a special few who wait for Him.”
It says that he acts on behalf of the one who waits for Him.
He acts on behalf of you and me, individuals, people who wait on Him. And that last phrase, that “waiting on Him” is metaphor for trusting in Him in time, over time. The Lord our God delights to act on our behalf when we trust Him.
He will act. We must trust.
Trust Him even when the wait is long and the trusting is hard. Trust Him even when the wait is painful. Trust Him, even when your heart aches for release and your questions multiply because there is no other God and on one besides Him who hears and acts on behalf of the one who waits for Him.
Trust Him. His answers may be delayed (to us) but they are sure.