Awake, awake, Clothe yourself in your strength, O Zion; Clothe yourself in your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; For the uncircumcised and the unclean Will no longer come into you. Shake yourself from the dust, rise up, O captive Jerusalem; Loose yourself from the chains around your neck, O captive daughter of Zion. For thus says the Lord, “You were sold for nothing and you will be redeemed without money.” For thus says the Lord God, “My people went down at the first into Egypt to reside there; then the Assyrian oppressed them without cause. “Now therefore, what do I have here,” declares the Lord, “seeing that My people have been taken away without cause?” Again the Lord declares, “Those who rule over them howl, and My name is continually blasphemed all day long. “Therefore My people shall know My name; therefore in that day I am the one who is speaking, ‘Here I am.’ ” How lovely on the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who announces peace And brings good news of happiness, Who announces salvation, And says to Zion, “Your God reigns!” Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices, They shout joyfully together; For they will see with their own eyes When the Lord restores Zion. Break forth, shout joyfully together, You waste places of Jerusalem; For the Lord has comforted His people, He has redeemed Jerusalem. The Lord has bared His holy arm In the sight of all the nations, That all the ends of the earth may see The salvation of our God. Depart, depart, go out from there, Touch nothing unclean; Go out of the midst of her, purify yourselves, You who carry the vessels of the Lord. But you will not go out in haste, Nor will you go as fugitives; For the Lord will go before you, And the God of Israel will be your rear guard.
Israel is in the midst of its third captivity.
There is a general sense of lethargy and despondency among the people who have been carried away in this captivity.
There are a number of similarities between the response of the people to this round of captivity and the time they spent in slavery to the Egyptians.
The people were enslaved againt their will.
They were brutally treated.
The people want to be delivered, but don’t expect to be.
They cry out to God, but do nothing themselves to try to improve their circumstances.
Isaiah was a man studing God’s word to find out what God had said about the circumstances. Why wasn’t anyone else?
Despondent - discouraged, dis-spirited, down hearted, down cast
The nation of Israel was shamed by their being beaten.
How many times throughout the Old Testament do we see the accounts of God winning victories in amazing fashion when the Israelites were walking closely with their God?
Yet here we find them defeated, broken, and bowing before a foreign power.
They wondered, as a people, if God had abandoned them.
The people carried away into captivity did not believe they had any control over their lives.
They were going through the motions of their daily lives.
They were going along to get along.
Because of fear and lethargy, they didn’t want to rock the boat.
As individuals, their walk and their worship was at an ebb.
Their walk and their worship was at an ebb.
Their walk and their worship was at an ebb.
They were not free men who could worship as their conscience saw fit, but instead were enslaved and beholden to the whims of a foreign master.
They could not properly offer sacrifices in the temple, but had to settle for the best that they could do.
They saw themselves as victims of circumstance, and circumstance prevented them from being all that they thought they could be in God.
We have a President that is at least attempting to roll back some of the losses of liberty and attempted government intrusion into the matters of faith and worship.
We had better be praying for God to protect him and to raise up more leaders like him that realize that government has no business writing definitions for what marriage is.
Government and courts of law should not be able to force someone to participate in events or practices that spit in the face of a perfect Creator.
Your time, talents, and resources are gifts from God; and no government or court has the authority to rule contrary to the Biblical mandates that this nation was founded upon.
Awake, O Man / O Woman
Awake, O Man / O Woman
The time is short. We are closer to the return of our Lord than we have ever been.
This is not the time to be suffering a spiritual stupor.
This is not an hour when we can afford to sit back and wait for the world to come to us, but we must go outside the walls of the church and compel them to come.
Isn’t that what our King would have us to do?
To go out into the highways and the byways and compel the stranger to come the the wedding feast of the lamb?
DO not be weary in well doing because you shall reap in due season if you faint not.
This is not a social club that meets 3 times per week.
We are not supposed to be gathering to pat each other on the back and look down out collective noses at a world that is actively rejecting their Savior.
We are supposed to be the voice of one crying in the wilderness, “make straight the way of the Lord”.
There will be people that go to hell, but as Charles Spurgeon once said, “If they are going to go to hell, let them going while our hands are around their knees pleading with them to receive Christ. Let them have to go their while stepping over our bodies with out stretched arms doing our very best to oppose their every step.
We are not victims here.
Let us arise as a nation, as individuals, and as churches.
Let us shake off the stupor that we have been in.
We may have been born into slavery, but the moment Christ intervened in our lives all things became new.
Our chains of sin fell away, our weak and feeble limbs were made whole, and our blinded eyes were opened, so that we could see where we were walking.
Do not neglect so great a salvation as this.
Do not get complacent with just going through the motions.
God is not limited by the location of a church or the color of the neighborhood surrounding it.
God put us here to minister to this community. What will we say to Him if we fail to do so?
Will we say that we couldn’t because they don’t look like us?
Will we say that we couldn’t because they wouldn’t come worship with us?
Have we invited them to come? Have we let them know that they would be welcome?
Let me ask you a tougher question, one that we all need to seriously search our hearts and answer, Would they be welcome?
If the real answer to that question is “No”, how will we explain that to our King?
Are you awake?
Are you excited about what God wants to do here at Azalea Baptist Church?
Are you telling others about how you see God working here?
Are you inviting people to come?