Have you ever wondered why we don’t see the power and hand of God in our meetings today? Or maybe you feel like Gideon when he exclaimed “, “O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about,” (Judges 6:13). Jesus said in John 14:12, “he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do”. I have often wondered where are the greater works? I have often asked God what is missing?
I think Isaiah 59 has the answer.
“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy that it cannot hear” – Isaiah 59:1.
So it’s not because the Lord’s hand got tired of saving people and healing. It surely is not because His ear is not as sharp due to old age or weakness. His hand is still as strong today as it was the day he parted the red sea( Exodus 14), and his ear is as sharp today as it was on the day He heard Elijah’s prayer for fire and sent fire from heaven to consume the sacrifice( 1 kings 17).
But Isaiah 59 highlights two main reasons, which I believe are very applicable to today!
- The problem of Sin
“But your iniquities have separated you from your God;
And your sins have hidden His face from you,
So that He will not hear.”- Isaiah 59: 2(NKJV)
If there was one word to describe the cause of all the sufferings of the world, the fall of humanity, our lack of communion and fellowship with God, pains and diseases in our bodies, it would be Sin! Sin is detestable to God, because God is Holy! Oh how many times we have sung the hymns saying “Holy is the Lord” but it never sunk deep into our hearts. Our lips are full of praises and honor to God, but our hearts are removed far from Him. Lord Change us!
“Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths
And honor Me with their lips,
But have removed their hearts far from Me,” – Isaiah 29:13(NKJV)
When we reject his message and instead choose to listen to lies that give us comfort to continue in our ways of sinning, the repercussions will come for us suddenly when we least expect it.
“Therefore this is what the Holy One of Israel says:
“Because you have rejected this message,
relied on oppression
and depended on deceit,
13 this sin will become for you
like a high wall, cracked and bulging,
that collapses suddenly, in an instant.” – Isaiah 30:12-13(NIV)
It’s very foolish to think that we will not suffer the consequences of sin just because we are saved. That’s what Jeremiah 7 is saying. We cannot continue to live in lies, perversion, immorality & compromise and then stand before God and say I am safe because of “Grace”. That’s prostituting the precious blood of Jesus!
“‘Don’t be fooled into thinking that you will never suffer because the Temple is here. It’s a lie! 9 Do you really think you can steal, murder, commit adultery, lie, and burn incense to Baal and all those other new gods of yours, 10 and then come here and stand before me in my Temple and chant, “We are safe!”—only to go right back to all those evils again? 11 Don’t you yourselves admit that this Temple, which bears my name, has become a den of thieves? Surely I see all the evil going on there. I, the Lord, have spoken!” – Jeremiah 7:8-11(NLT)
If we are born of God, we have overcome the world. Because whatever is born of God overcomes the world. But if we claim to be born of God, but continue to Sin, we should stop and ask God if there’s that accursed nature that is of the devil still in us.
“No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.” – 1 John 4:6(NIV)
“No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God.” – 1 John 4:9(NIV)
So beloved Sin is serious. We cannot continue to sin and expect to have fellowship and communion with God. We must repent, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal anything that may be hidden in us (Psalm 139:23-24) and put to death what belongs to our earthly nature( Colossians 3:5) because we have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer we, but it is Him, that lives inside of us.(Galatians 2:20)
- The Problem of the Intercessor
“Then the Lord saw it, and it displeased Him
That there was no justice.
16 He saw that there was no man,
And wondered that there was no intercessor;”– Isaiah 59: 16(NKJV)
God is always looking for a partner on earth. He has always used men and women who were in alignment with His will to be his hands and feet on earth. Romans 8:26-27 says that “the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”. But for this Holy spirit to make intercession, He needs human vessels who are willing to be used.
However, He rarely finds such willing vessels. Thus, the frustration of God in Isaiah 59:16. “the Lord saw it and it displeased Him…there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor”. In another place, Ezekiel 22:30, the Lord shares the same frustration. “So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.” There was no one to stand in the gap! There was not a single person to cry out to God on behalf of the nation!
There was no intercessor! What a tragedy!
Intercession is more than prayer.
Intercession is not just intense prayer, although it is quite intense.
“There are three things to be seen in an intercessor, which are not necessarily found in ordinary prayer: identification, agony and authority” – Rees Howells Intercessor by Norman Grubb(RHI)
Identification is to be able to not only relate and empathize with the person or group that you are interceding for, but it is identifying with the said person or group by placing yourself in that person’s position and suffering, being tempted, humbling and lowering yourself to that person’s position.
“The identification of the intercessor with the ones for whom he intercedes is perfectly seen in the savior.” – (RHI)
“Because He poured out His soul unto death,
And He was numbered with the transgressors,
And He bore the sin of many,
And made intercession for the transgressors.” – Isaiah 53:12(NKJV)
“Identification is thus the first law of the intercessor. He pleads effectively because he gives his life for those he pleads for; he is their genuine representative; he has submerged his self-interest in their needs and sufferings, and as far as possible has literally taken their place” – (RHI)
Agony then comes as a byproduct of the initial act of identification. Take a look at this excerpt from the book Rees Howells Intercessor by Norman Grubb
“When the Holy Ghost really lives His life in a chosen vessel there is no limit to the extremes to which He will take him in His passion to warn and save the lost. Isaiah, that aristocrat, had to go “naked and bare-footed” for three years as a warning to Israel. We can hardly credit such a thing! Hosea had to marry a harlot, to show his people that the heavenly Husband was willing to take back His adulterous bride. Jeremiah was not allowed to marry, as a warning to Israel against the terrors and tragedies of captivity. Ezekiel was not allowed to shed one tear for the death of his wife, “the desire of his eyes”
“If the intercessor knows identification and agony, he/she also knows authority. It is the law of the corn of wheat and the harvest: “If it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” – RHI
Isaiah 59 shows us that the Lord’s hand is not short, nor his ear heavy but that our sins have separated us from God. Our sins have hidden His face from us, so that He will not hear. It also states in verse 16 that the Lord was displeased because there was no intercessor and no one to stand in the gap before the nation.
Will you hide in Sin and continue to live in it through the guise of “I’m struggling with this or I messed up this time”. Or will you be one to come before God in repentance and confess your sins, and ask for the Holy Spirit to help you walk out the worthy calling and authority you have as one Born of God?
Will you be that person that God is looking for to stand in the gap and cry out for the salvation of your friends, families, city, college, high school, and nation? Will you be like Abraham and intercede for the salvation of a whole city (Genesis 18:22-33)? We see in Genesis 19:20 that Lot asked for a town to be spared and it was spared! 2 peter 2:7 tells us that Lot was a righteous man, who was distressed by filthy lives of lawless men. God will surely hear the plea and intercession of a righteous person!
May we examine our hearts and repent before the Lord to be near Him today! May our sins and iniquities no longer create a wall and a barrier between the Holy One and us! May our prayers find favor before the Lord! May He give us a burden to be intercessors and to stand in the Gap praying for the Salvation of our Nation and the Nations today! In Jesus’ name! Amen!