Isa.4:5,6 – When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and purged the bloodshed of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and the spirit of burning, then the LORD will create over the entire area of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, and smoke, and the brightness of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory will be a canopy.
Over the last few years revival has become the talk of the church. Everyone has a different view of what revival would look like, in today’s passage we catch a glimpse of God’s view of revival. The first part of verse 5 in today’s passage immediately makes everyone quite uncomfortable. The Lord says He will wash away “the filth of the daughters of Zion”. No one wants to talk about that part of revival, we all want the crowds, you know, the fruit. The Lord is after the fruit more than anyone but this painful part must come first. Outpourings of the Spirit begin with exposing, cleansing, and regretfully purging. That’s what Isaiah is seeing in his vision. The Lord washes away the sin and then the cloud and fire come. This is how Matthew Henry describes this passage.
“The filth will be washed away, for evil is filthiness, and bloodshed, for which Jerusalem was notorious and which defiles a land more than any other sin, is especially filthy. The reformation of a city is its cleansing. When evil customs and fashions are suppressed and the open practice of evil is restrained, the place that previously was a rubbish heap is made clean and pure, and this will support not only its reputation among foreigners but also the health and strength of the inhabitants themselves.”
The exposing and cleansing of sin is never fun but what follows makes the cleansing part a distant memory. After the filth is washed away the cloud of His glory comes on the scene. In this cloud is the very fire of God. This fire moves from cleansing to empowering, revealing, and filling our hearts with passion. The results of this amazing outpouring is seen in vs.2, “On that day the Branch of the LORD will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth will be the pride and the beauty of the survivors of Israel”. The fruit of His outpouring is bigger and more amazing than we can know. So bring revival Lord, it may be painful but we know it is glorious.