Isaiah 65


Divisions of Chapter 65


I.                    65:1-16 address the people of Isaiah’s day

a.       65:1-7 address those who rebel against Yhwh and pursue the pseudo spirituality of pagan religions

b.      65:8-16 contrasts the destiny of those who rebel against and those who serve God

II.                 65:17-25 describe the glorious future of Zion in the Eternal State


Why do people not respond to God?

It is not because he is not reaching out and communicating.


Why do the people, even God’s people, not understand what he is doing?
God deals with the real issues.  We are looking for surface answers.

For example:  We want physical deliverance.  God wants to remove us from sin.

God is answering a different question than we are asking.

God is solving a problem that we have yet to identify as a problem.

God is working and moving in areas that we chose to ignore.

It is like Jesus responding to Nicodemus (John 3) or the woman at the well (John 4)


Chapter 64 is filled with an appeal from an apparent pious nation saying things like:

1)      “Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down.” (64:1)

2)      “Come down to make your name known” (64:2)

3)      “You are our Father” (64:8)

4)      “Look upon us, we pray for we are all your people.” (64:9)

5)      “Will you keep silent.” (64:12)

God now responds to this pseudo-pious attitude and explains it is not a matter of Him now appearing but instead it is:

1)      Their false religion

2)      Their inability to ask the right question, deal with the real issue and see above their worldly point of view.



Chapter 64 comes across as flowing and poetic in its writing but it has missed the point.

When God interrupts this flowery speech of the people he is blunt and direct. 


The point is this: God revealed himself long before the people started praying in chapter 64.  The reason the people think they are waiting is because they cannot see God.


If God only moved when people asked nothing would get done. 

These people are too self-righteous, too pious, too self-important.
You can see this is true when they start laying the problems at God’s door.


The point of this verse is that God seeks people before they seek him.

This verse is speaking to Israel in Isaiah’s day but is a principle that is always true and is applied to the Gentiles in Romans 10::20.

This verse does not support predestination anymore than it supports the free will response of man for salvation.  God initiates a response from both those who accept him and those who reject him.



Prayer is often associated with raising hands toward God or reaching out to him.

In this verse God says that he is the one who is holding out his hands.

It is not the people who are appealing to God.

God is appealing to the people.


The people are not seeking God’s ways, but their own in the name of God.

They think they are following God, but they are following a god they have created in      their own imagination.


When we seek God to bless our own ways and imaginations he does not respond.

Then we cry out to God for ignoring us.

God is saying He is calling to us to walk in his ways.
God is crying because we ignore him.



65:3-4 describe these rebellious religious people. 

These are the people God is reaching his hands out to in verse 2.

The description here may be:

1)      of the pagan practices that have crept into Israel’s worship of YHWH

2)      the dead ritual with out reality of Israel as they mechanically followed the law with their mouths and their actions but their heart was far from God

These people are described in these ways:

1)      continual

a.       this would indicate a way of life, a world view or the philosophy that is in their souls.

2)      provoke God

3)      provoke God to his face

a.       brazen disrespect for his ways which they do not know

b.      When applied to the nation at that time some people were truly repentented but others simply followed a ritual and then claimed to be seeking God.

c.       The people called the rebels may indeed think they are repenting but are merely doing so because it makes them look sincere and it flatters themselves.

d.      Chapter 58 discusses the self serving fasts that do not draw people to God but simply promotes themselves. (58:3-9)

4)      offering sacrifices

5)      sacrifice in gardens

a.       Fertile gardens where honored for their prosperity and abundance.  This was a spiritual force the people were trying to harness.

6)      burning incense

a.       burning of incense stimulates the senses and provides an allusion of the mysterious and the spiritual

b.      This was used here in place of true spiritual worship by the Holy Spirit

7)      burn incense on brick altars

a.       Brick where not to be used on Israel altars. 

b.      The altars where to be made of uncut stones.

c.       A brick altar was clearly pagan and represented the ways and technologies of man

8)      sit among graves

a.       This shows that the spirits they were in contact with where demonic and not God himself

9)      secret night vigils

10)  eat pig flesh and pots of unclean meat

a.       this shows that not only was their practice corrupt and unclean they themselves became unclean.




Here it is clear they are worshipping themselves for they are “too sacred” for the average person.

POINT:  Anytime you are too good for someone you due to your religious activities your god is yourself.


When believers or nonbelievers lose their moral compass right becomes wrong and the unclean becomes sacred.


Just like smoke in your nostrils burns and drives a person away so do these religious rebels cause God to react.



See” emphasizes the seriousness of God’s anger.

“it stands written before me” refers to the people’s sin and the certainty of their judgment.


Ironically in chapter 64 the people were asking God to respond to their needs, but now God says he will not keep silent.  He is going to judge their ways instead of satisfy them.



God defines who’s sins are being judged.   Not just the sins of the fathers, but even Isaiah’s generation who had done the same thing.


Notice here it is clear these are people who are worshipping God or YHWH.

The problem is they have changed the worship and the character of YHWH to match their own desires. 

They do not know any better because this is what their fathers taught them.


Judgment will not fall on the land or the weather or the economy.

This judgment will come right to them, it will fall into their lap or bosom which means right into the very center of their being.


God continues to respond to the prayer of Isaiah 64 but he addresses a different crowd of people.  These are those who have responded to God’s call that the first crowd did not respond to.


These verses will tell us that the servants of God, contrary to the rebellious religious people, will:

1)      Respond to God

2)      Seek God

3)      Live in Obedience to God


Three sections in verses 65:8-16

1)      8-10 – promise to deliver

2)      11-12 – promised judgment of the rebels is reinforced

3)      13-16 – contrast of the destiny of the religious rebels against God and those who sought God



There will be a remnant. 



Promise of Israel’s future


This would ultimately be the Millennium Kingdom



Begins with “but as for you” to remind them of the contrast between the good and bad grapes.


“Fortune” and “Destiny” are a reference to people trying to control their future and their destiny.  One may be positive and the other negative.

It is an attempt to gain luck, advantage, prosperity


The table and the bowls of wine refer to an offering and meal with the gods


God will set their destiny because they did not respond





Notice the free will here:

1)      God called and spoke

2)      They

a.       did not answer,

b.       did not listen,

c.       did evil and

d.       chose what displeases God.


The balance of the contrast between those who rebel and  those who respond