In The Message version, Isaiah pleads with God; verse one begins like this:
"Oh that you would rip open the heavens and descend..."
Isaiah is begging God to come down to earth and make things right, because His people are so hopelessly mired in their sin.
And, He did come down.
As we begin the Advent season we look forward to the celebration of His birth, on Christmas Eve. "Silent night, holy night." On that night when He made His entrance into the world, God did rip open the heavens. He then filled them with His angels who testified to the quaking shepherds, those simple men who cowered in terror at His majesty and glory revealed.
I've tried to put myself in the place of the Jews of Jesus' day and the centuries before, looking and longing for a Deliverer. The book of Isaiah is full of prophecies about the Messiah, and the people earnestly prayed for Him to come. A common phrase in that day for "in the sweet bye and bye" or "someday when all is right" was "when Messiah comes...."
The Jews are still waiting.
We’ve sinned and kept at it so long!
We’re all sin-infected, sin-contaminated.
We dry up like autumn leaves—
No one prays to you
Because you’ve turned away from us,
(vs, 5-7 The Message)
On my Christmas tree is a long, iron spike, attached to the tree by a simple red ribbon. A nine-inch nail, if you will. Why is it there? Its presence, front and center, reminds me of why God ripped Heaven open to descend to us.
Yes, He did come down. He came down to save us, to heal us of our sin, to give us hope. He was born as a baby whose birth we celebrate with joy. But, He came to die, to become the sacrifice for our sin. No, God the Father did not leave us to stew in our sins. He sent His Son, and they called His name Jesus.
It is for this reason we can repeat these words from Isaiah 40:1-2 to the people of God:
"Be comforted, be comforted my people.
Your sin is taken care of...forgiven!"
Father God, thank you for ripping Heaven open to save me from my sin. I worship You and praise You for Your immense compassion, mercy and love. You knew that my own efforts to earn my own salvation were going to fall short of Your standard of Holiness, and you knew the only way to redeem me was to descend to earth in the form of a baby, a God-child, Jesus. What man could have devised such a plan? Only You, Lord God Almighty, only You! In Jesus' name, amen.