God responded by giving me this Scripture:
"Let your hands be strong, you who are listening in these days to these words from the mouth of the prophets, those who spoke in the days that the foundation of the house of the Lord of hosts was laid, to the end that the temple might be built."
When I asked Him "which words," He led me first to the laments and pleadings of the O.T. prophets when His people turned from Him again and again through the generations. And for the first time I heard their words resounding down through the centuries, pleading for the people of my generation, pleading for me.
"Remember Your congregation which You purchased of old, which You redeemed to be the tribe of Your inheritance, and Mt. Zion where You dwell. Turn Your footsteps toward the perpetual ruins; the enemy has damaged everything within the sanctuary. Your adversaries have roared in the midst of Your meeting place; they have set up their own standards for signs... To the ground they have defiled the dwelling place of Your name. They said in their heart, let us altogether subdue them. They have burned the meeting places of God in the land.
Your holy people possessed Your sanctuary for a little while, our adversaries have trodden it down. We have become like those over whom You have never ruled, like those who were not called by Your name.
We do not see our signs. There is no longer any prophet. Nor is there one among us who knows how long... will the adversary revile and the enemy spurn Your name forever? Why do You withdraw Your hand, even Your right hand?"
There is no knowledge of You among us, there is no fear of You in our hearts; we do not walk in Your judgments, nor remember You in Your ways; we do not seek Your kingdom or Your eternal purposes, the desire of Your heart and soul.
* * * *
I have never asked with Isaiah:
"Who is this who comes... with garments of crimson colors, the One who is majestic in His apparel, marching in the greatness of His strength?"
"Why is His apparel red and His garments like the one who treads in the wine press?"
Isaiah 63:1, 2
I did not grasp God's answer; I did not fathom the depths of His sorrow and anger.
"I searched for a man among them who should build again the wall of righteousness and stand in the gap before Me for the land that I should not destroy it; but I found not one."
Ezekiel 22: 30
"I have trod the wine trough alone, and from the peoples there was no man with Me... For the day of vengeance was in My heart, and My year of redemption has come. I looked, and there was no one to help, and I was astonished and there was no one to uphold; so My own arm brought salvation to Me; and My wrath upheld Me."
Isaiah 63:3, 4
Nor had I heard God's similar expression of sorrow and anger, echoing from the pages of Handbook 2:
"Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands far away, for truth has stumbled in the streets, and uprightness cannot enter... Now the Lord saw and it was displeasing in His sight that there was no justice. And He saw there was no man, and was astonished that there was none to intercede; then His own arm brought salvation to Him, and His righteousness upheld Him. And He put on righteousness like a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on His head; He put on garments of vengeance for clothing and wrapped Himself with zeal as a mantle. According to their deeds, He will repay."
Then I was pierced with sorrow; I had not been there with Him. And I sensed that He might be sorry that He made me.
And I remembered David about whom He testified:
"I have found David, a man after My own heart who will do all My wills."
God surely was not sorry He made David nor that He called him out from the sheepfold.
"David served the purpose of God in His own generation..."
And I prayed:
"O that I had such a heart in me to 'do' all Your wills! And that I, like David, might serve Your purpose in my generation."