“For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither has the eye seen, O God, beside you, what he has prepared for him that waits for him.” - Isaiah 64:4
The ASV has the thought: "Neither has the eye seen a God besides you, who works for him that waits for him." In the KJV, the thought is that no eye has seen the thing that God has prepared. In the ASV, no eye has seen a God, besides our God, who works for him who waits for Him. To both, the two thoughts are common: that our place is to wait on God, and that what the human heart cannot conceive will be revealed to us. The difference is the following: in the ASV, it is the God who works; in the KJV, the thing He is to work. In 1 Corinthians 2:9, "But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love him," the reference is in regard to the things that the Holy Spirit is to reveal, as in the KJV, and in this chapter we will keep to that.
The previous verses in Isaiah, especially Isaiah 63:15 refer to the low state of God's people. The prayer has been poured out, "Look down from heaven" (v. 15). "Why have you hardened our heart from your fear? Return for your servants' sake" (v. 17). And 64:1-2, still more urgent, "Oh that you would rend the heavens, that you would come down . . . as when the melting fire burns . . . to make your name known to your adversaries!" Then follows the plea from the past, "When you didst terrible things which we looked not for, you came down, the mountains flowed down at your presence" (v. 3). "For" - this is now the faith that has been awakened by the thought of things we looked not for, He is still the same God - "neither has the eye seen, O God, beside you, what He has prepared for him who waits for him."
God alone knows what He can do for His waiting people. As Paul expounds and applies it: "The things of God knows no man, but the Spirit of God" (1 Cor. 2:11). "But God has revealed them to us by his Spirit" (v. 10). The need of God's people, and the call for God's intervention, is as urgent in our days as it was in the time of Isaiah. There is now, as there was then, as there has been at all times, a few who seek after God with their whole hearts.
But, if we look at Christendom as a whole, at the state of the church of Christ, there is infinite cause for beseeching God to rend the heavens and come down. Nothing but a special interposition of almighty power will avail. I fear we do not have a proper conception of what the so-called Christian world is in the sight of God. Unless God comes down "as when the melting fire burns to make [His] name known to [His] adversaries" (Isa. 64:2), our labors are comparatively fruitless. Look at the ministry: how much it is in the wisdom of man and of literary culture; how little in demonstration of the Spirit and of power. Think of the unity of the body: how little there is of the manifestation of the power of a heavenly love binding God's children into one. Think of holiness - the holiness of Christ-like humility and crucifixion to the world. How little the world sees that they have men among them who live in Christ in heaven, in whom Christ and heaven live.
What is to be done? There is only one thing. We must wait on God. And what for? We must cry, with a cry that never rests, "Oh that you would rend the heavens . . . [and] come down, that the mountains might flow down at your presence" (Isa. 64:1). We must desire and believe; we must ask and expect that God will do unlooked-for things. We must set our faith on a God of whom men do not know what He has prepared for them who wait for Him. The wonder-doing God, who can surpass all our expectations, must be the God of our confidence.
Yes, let God's people enlarge their hearts to wait on a God able to do exceeding abundantly above what we can ask or think (Eph. 3:20). Let us band ourselves together as His elect who cry day and night to Him for things men have not seen. He is able to arise and to make His people a name and a praise in the earth. "The LORD will wait, that he may be gracious to you - blessed are all those who wait for him" (Isa. 30:18).
“My soul, wait only on God!”