Damariscotta Baptist Church
Monday, September 24, 2018
Growing personal relationships with God and community

06/10/18 Sermon - We Have Reason to Sing

“We Have Reason to Sing”

Isaiah 11:10 - 12:6

Last week we read how a shoot will come from the stumps of destruction. This shoot will come from the root of Jesse, the father of David. As we continue to read in chapter 11, this root of Jesse will stand as a banner to the people. A banner that brings all nations to God, which includes the Jew and the Gentiles.

In Isaiah 5:26, we read how the banner was used to call all the nations to judgement against Israel,

He lifts up a banner for the distant nations,

   he whistles for those at the ends of the earth.

Here they come,

   swiftly and speedily!

This time the banner calls all the nations to come experience the blessings of the Messiah.

This is a call for another Exodus of the Jewish people which will deliver them from all the nations, wherever they may be, back to Jerusalem. Nations will not go to war anymore against one another. Conflicts will be taken care of immediately by the Messiah and His government. If you happen to be part of a disobedient nation, such as a Philistine and Edomite or Moabite, or a person from Ammon, you will be punished. This chapter closes with the image of a highway for the remnant of His people. Those nations that are gathering will have no obstacles keeping them from returning to the Messiah.

Many biblical scholars believe that we have already begun to see the beginning of the fulfillment of these promises. Since the end of WWII Jewish people have been gathered back to Israel from all over the world. The very kingdoms mentioned in this passage that are around Israel, currently make up what is known today as the kingdom of Jordan. And this kingdom is at peace with Israel.

Certainly God is not done with His plans for His people, but as believers we can be sure He will do as He said. The exciting part will be to see how He does it.

Chapter 11 gives us a glimpse of the reign of the Messiah, while Chapter 12 represents the praise from the heart of someone who has recognized and surrendered to the Messiah as King and enjoys the benefit of His reign. The chapter begins with this person praising God, even though God has been angry with them. Gloriously, God’s anger is turned away. This is where we are today. God’s anger is turned away because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. The crucifixion was the absorption of all of God’s anger, for all the sin that all of humanity has done and will do. Jesus placed himself between us and the anger of the LORD. His resurrection, buried that anger forever. Under the New Covenant, God’s anger is eliminated.

However, there are times when God chooses to discipline or chasten us, and it may feel like He is angry with us, but in fact He does so to teach us what is best. Hebrews 12:11 states it quite clearly,

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

Actually, this is God showing His love, not His anger. As parents we can relate, because we know that discipline needs to occur, after we have resolved our own anger. Then our discipline will produce what it is designed to produce, to change a negative behavior into a positive one. When discipline is done, in love, the following can occur, as the next verse demonstrates, God then comforts us. Oh that we experience the comfort of God when we have messed up and received His discipline.

All of this gives assurance that God is our salvation. Isaiah tells us the worshiper has come to realize that the worshipper is not able to save himself.

What the worshipper does, whether its his good intentions, his good thoughts or good deeds, none of these are good enough to bring salvation. The sad thing today is that many do not feel they have a need for salvation. They think their lives aren’t so bad.

Why one just needs to read the paper or watch the news to recognize there are a lot worse people in the world?

This comes about because the world has become their standard instead of Scripture. The world says we should compare ourselves to each other. Success comes from being above others. Scripture says regardless of how others behave, our example is Jesus. We recognize we can never be like Jesus, without the power of the Holy Spirit, which comes to us when we accept our sinful state, repent and receive the gift of salvation.

As we continue to read in chapter 12, Isaiah shares that the worshiper thinks it so important to recognize that God is salvation, that he repeats himself. And because he is sold out on the idea, the worshiper is not afraid. Trusting in God takes away fear. When we know that God is our salvation, not ourselves, not our spouse, not our friends, our job, our bank account, but God is our salvation, we can have both peace and security. Yet, when we put our trust in unfaithful people and things fear appears. Paul figured it out and put it like this in

Romans 5:1

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

The worshiper goes on to state that he will trust and not be afraid. This a decision of the will. This is not based on feelings, because feelings will come and go.

The worshiper goes on to say, that not only is the LORD salvation, He is also my strength and my song. Where do you get your strength? When the bottom seems to fall out from under you, and the world offers confusion and destruction, where do you find strength? This week, the senseless death of a fourteen year old friend is as close as it gets to confusion and the bottom falling out. Where did I find myself in this confusion? Leaning on prayer, crying out to God, seeking His comfort. He became my refuge.   When the LORD is our song it means He is our joy. It is in Him that we find purpose. Again, not in what the world offers us for purpose, but what God gives us, can we find purpose.

The worshiper than claims we will receive water from the wells of salvation. Jesus put it this way in John 4:14,

“...but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

This picture is beautiful for those who are in the semi-arid climate of Israel. A place where water is rare and a well means life.  This is a picture that demonstrates just how precious a gift it is where you can come continually and meet your needs.

The worshiper recognizes that there is not only one well, but many wells of salvation. This doesn’t mean there are many ways to be saved, but that many wells can get water from the same water table.

The worshiper also reminds us that this is something we must do. The verse says, you will draw water. We need to want the water badly enough to go get it. God is the provider, it is His water, His well, His rope and His bucket that we use to draw with. And we should be doing so “with joy.”

The worshipper closes by exalting God among everyone. He has realized his salvation comes from God.

God has provided him with wells of salvation and that living water is flowing out of him and he can’t help but tell others and encourage them to worship and trust the LORD. Not only does he proclaim God’s greatness, he sings unto the LORD. The worshipper sings to anyone who will listen. The LORD has become his song and he has no problems singing it to whomever will listen.

The worshipper goes so far as to cry out and shout. Now this is excited praise. Holy rollers all the way! The worshipper gives two reasons for such great praise. First,  because He is the great and second, this Great One is in our midst. Amazing!

Chapter 12 represents the evangelical worshipper of today. To start with, it is God who initiates salvation. Israel did nothing to earn God’s grace towards them, in fact, they behaved horribly and yet God’s grace abounds. The only way reconciliation could exist was from God.

It wasn’t the trust or faith of the Israelites that produced their salvation, but it instead, trust and faith were the responses to God’s reconciliation. The same goes for the answer to our sin. When God himself, satisfies His own justice and then invites us to trust Him, what else can we do? According to the worshipper.. We can sing.

Scientists have come up with 11 physical benefits of singing:

  • Strengthens the immune system

  • Is a workout

  • Improves your posture

  • Helps with sleep

  • A natural antidepressant

  • Lowers stress levels

  • Improves mental alertness

  • Can widen your circle of friends

  • Boosts your confidence

  • Broadens communication skills

  • Increases your ability to appreciate other singers

As Christians, this chapter should cause us to reflect on the work of Christ. Paul writes to the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 5:19 and explains it this way,

that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

God did it. He reconciled us sinners, through His own work on the cross. Generally when you reconcile, it takes two, but not in this case. We have nothing we can offer God in the way of negotiation. We are condemned sinners, in need of a savior. God had it in His plan to satisfy His own justice, himself. He could have left us with judgment, but instead He offers us encouragement.

The Holy Spirit is the ultimate comforter. In the King James version of the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit is called the “comforter.” Today’s definition of “comfort” has been watered down but in its original sense the comforter came to help us stand against the “Accuser” and keep the faith, knowing we are forgiven,        end of story.

The comforter reminds us that not all is lost when we mess up, even one more time. More importantly, the comforter gives us strength to be mocked and taunted by a world that refuses to accept Jesus. This comforter is the one who gives us the strength through the power of the cross and resurrection.

Don’t we all desire this comfort? Deep down inside we want desperately to be accepted, just the way we are, regardless of our blemishes and shortcomings.

This all may sound nice but how do we put it into our lives and make it real?

Surrender is the word.

Letting go of our fears, letting go of our need for control, Letting go of having to have all the answers and letting God lead.

If God is the sole Creator of this world and

even if we have found a way to alienate ourselves from Him,

And He still wants to reconcile and allow us to join His family and come home again?

Well if you ask me, that’s good news.

And today, more than ever, the world needs good news. This gives us reason to sing.

Let’s pray.