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64 If only You would rip open the heavens
    and come down to earth—
Its heights and depths would quake the moment You appear,
Like kindling when it just begins to catch fire, or like water that’s about to boil.
    If only You would come like that so that all who deny or hate You
Would know who You are and be terrified of Your grandeur.

The prophet is convinced that there is no hope apart from God’s decisive action. It is not enough to address God’s people and the nations and urge them to do better next time. The world cannot be repaired this way; in fact, it can’t be repaired from below at all. It must be made new from above. So the prophet turns to God and utters a prayer, “Rip open the heavens. Come down. Strike your enemies with terror. Do for us what You did for Your people in times past.” This is what it will take to restore God’s people, illumine the nations, and repair a world desperately broken by sin.

We remember that long ago You did amazing things for us
    that we had never dreamed You’d do.
You came down, and the mountains shook at Your presence.
Nothing like that had ever happened before—no eye had ever seen,
    and no ear had ever heard such wonders,
But You did them then for the sake of Your people, for those who trusted in You.
You meet whoever tries with sincerity of purpose to do what You want
    to do justice and follow in Your ways.
But You became so angry when we rebelled and committed all sorts of wrongs;
    we have continued in our sins for a long time. So how can we be saved?
We are all messed up like a person compromised with impurity;
    even all our right efforts are like soiled rags.
We’re drying up like a leaf in autumn and are blown away by wrongdoing.
And it’s so sad because no one calls out to You
    or even bothers to approach You anymore.
You’ve been absent from us too long;
    You left us to dissolve away in the acrid power of our sins.
Still, Eternal One, You are our Father.
    We are just clay, and You are the potter.
We are the product of Your creative action, shaped and formed into something of worth.
Don’t be so angry anymore, O Eternal;
    don’t always remember our wrongs.
Please, look around and see that we are all Your people.
10 The places that You sanctified are reduced to nothing.
    Zion is a wasteland; Jerusalem sits in eerie desolation.
11 Our holy and glorious temple, where our ancestors worshiped You,
    has been burned to the ground;
Everything we loved is ruined by our enemies,
    a smoking pile of ash and debris.
12 Now with all this, Eternal, will You just stand by and watch?
    will You keep silent and let us continue to suffer?

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