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Isaiah 63:16-64:8

You Are the Potter and I am the Clay, O LORD!

16 For you are our father, though Abraham does not know us and Israel does not acknowledge us; you, O LORD, are our father; our Redeemer from of old is your name. 17 Why, O LORD, do you make us stray from your ways and harden our heart, so that we do not fear you? Turn back for the sake of your servants, for the sake of the tribes that are your heritage. 18 Your holy people took possession for a little while; but now our adversaries have trampled down your sanctuary. 19 We have long been like those whom you do not rule, like those not called by your name. 64:1 O that you would tear open the heavens and come down, so that the mountains would 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, so that the nations might tremble at your presence! 3 When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect, you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence. 4 From ages past no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who works for those who wait for him. 5 You meet those who gladly do right, those who remember you in your ways. But you were angry, and we sinned; because you hid yourself we transgressed. 6 We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. 7 There is no one who calls on your name, or attempts to take hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us, and have delivered us into the hand of our iniquity. 8 Yet, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.

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Musings

The oracle continues with a frustrated plea from the Israelites. Things are so tough that they argue that Abraham and Israel (Jacob) have abandoned them. They call upon God as father (63.16 and 64:8) (one of the few places that God is referred to as father in the Old Testament) with a direct, yet personal, plea for help. While they seem to be acknowledging their sins, they suggest it is because God hardened their hearts (as God did to Pharaoh) and remained hidden from them (as though they had been trying to find God). This passage ends on a Psalm-like, up-beat, appeal to God as "our Father" and a request for direction - "you are our potter; we are the work of your hand."

Note: Second Isaiah's staunch monotheism is echoed in third Isaiah only in 64:4 (which is possibly paraphrased later by Paul in 1st Corinthians 2:9).


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