Judgment on the Nations
What fate came upon those hostile to God and His people?
These verses contain a dialogue between God and the prophet. Seeing a figure wearing blood-stained garments approaching Jerusalem from the direction of Edom, the prophet asks, “Who is this who comes from Edom, with garments of glowing colors from Bozrah, this One who is majestic in His apparel, marching in the greatness of His strength?” (63:1).
The figure replies, “It is I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save” (or as the NEB translates the verse, “It is I, who announce that right has won the day, I, who am strong to save.”).
The prophet again inquires, “Why is Your apparel red, and Your garments like the one who treads in the wine press?” (63:2). The Lord explains to the prophet that His garments are stained with blood because He has acted on behalf of His people (63:3-6) by dealing with those hostile to them (as represented by Edom) and intent on trying to frustrate His purpose for them.
Practical Consideration: Unbelievers will never prevail against God.
No person or nation intent on frustrating the purposes of God will ever succeed. It is foolish for any man or nation to think that God can be defeated or that His purposes can be frustrated. God will prevail.
A Recap of Israel‘s History
Why did the prophet review Israel‘s history?
These verses form a psalm of remembrance in which the prophet recalls the past mercies of God on behalf of His people. God’s great acts on behalf of His people were grounded in His steadfast love for them (63:7). The prophet reminded the people that they had been chosen by God (63:8) and delivered by God (a reference to the Exodus: 63:9). He also reminded them of their stubborn rebellion against God (63:10) and the consequent problems (63:11-14). The prophet reviewed the history of God’s people to set the stage for the prayer to follow in which he asked God to work on behalf of His people once again.
The Prophet’s Intercessory Prayer
What did the prophet ask God to do?
The prophet asked God to “Look down from heaven” (63:15) and to “come down” from heaven (64:1). The prophet asked God to look down from heaven to behold the condition of His people and the temple, both of which were in a ruined condition (63:15-19 and 64:10-11). The prophet confessed the sins of the people (64:5) and asked God to come down in a mighty display of power as in the days of old (recalled in 63:7-14) to rescue His people from their present distress (64:1-12).