Daily Arts Web Nucleus


Discover the Arts! Each day a different image from the Literary, Performing, or Visual Arts representing a portion of Scripture
plus an explanation with links and a discussion forum

2013 August 13

The Wanderer Above the Mists (1817-1818)
Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840)
German Romanticism Style
Kunsthalle Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Image Source: Web Gallery of Art

     Explanation: In Isaiah 64 the prophet offers an earnest plea to the LORD for help. We may imagine Isaiah standing, as it were, between heaven and earth like the wanderer pictured above and calling upon the LORD to rend the heavens and come down, melting the mountains (literally causing them to 'quake') with his presence, causing the enemy nations to tremble (1-2). He asks that the LORD's coming might be like the time when the LORD did amazing (literally, 'terrifying') things which they did not expect (a reference to the Exodus and the time in the wilderness, particularly in his earth-shaking presence at mount Sinai) - (3). In fact, says Isaiah in his prayer, it is common since the beginning of the world for God to do amazing, unexpected things for those who wait for him - who work righteousness and remember him (4 - 5-a). But God is angry because of their continued sins, for their uncleanness, and their neglect of God; for these things they have been blown away like a faded leaf and consumed (5-b - 7). Nevertheless, the prophet turns again to God reminding him that he is their father, the potter, and they are the work of his hand (8). So Isaiah pleads that the LORD will not be wrathful or remember their iniquities, but rather that he will hear their prayers - the prayers of his people (9). He concludes the prayer with a recitation of the desolations of the land and its holy cities and the burned-down Temple and asks the LORD not to refrain or hold his peace and to end his affliction (10-12).

Isaiah 64

     1 Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence, 2 As when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence! 3 When thou didst terrible things which we looked not for, thou camest down, the mountains flowed down at thy presence. 4 For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him. 5 Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, those that remember thee in thy ways: behold, thou art wroth; for we have sinned: in those is continuance, and we shall be saved. 6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. 7 And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities.
     8 But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand. 9 Be not wroth very sore, O LORD, neither remember iniquity for ever: behold, see, we beseech thee, we are all thy people. 10 Thy holy cities are a wilderness, Zion is a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation. 11 Our holy and our beautiful house, where our fathers praised thee, is burned up with fire: and all our pleasant things are laid waste. 12 Wilt thou refrain thyself for these things, O LORD? wilt thou hold thy peace, and afflict us very sore?

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