Faithlife Sermons

Isaiah 41 (2)

Isaiah   •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  49:07
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Opening Illustration: What’s missing?
“And they lived happily ever after”- the plot, the rest of the story
“That’s one small step for man and one big splash for mankind”- rearranging words
“that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people..”- the ending
“Abraham quickly ran out to meet him. 49 Reaching into his shepherd’s bag and taking out a stone, he hurled it with his sling and hit the Philistine in the forehead.”- wrong character
“This is it, the final play of the game, they haven’t lost a game all season, there on the 2 yard line, and there behind by 4 points. He takes the snap, sees a man in the end zone..... Hey Dad can you take me to the store, I need some more gum
All these scenes have been tampered with. For ones that our dear to our heart, this is no small deal. To rewrite, leave out, add in, or stop a story that is not yours is actually a serious crime as is seen in some form at the beginning of all movies- “The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal.”
The author has the master script- the plot, characters, scene, conflict, climax, and resolution.
I think it would be a helpful imagery to view the chapters that we are in with this imagery. God is the author of His story. Everything moves at his direction. I think it is helpful to consider the fact that you live in God’s theater. When you think of theater, you may think of dim lights, reclining chairs, large room, and a big screen or stage. However, consider every event, person, mountain, cloud, star, tree, and birds song as part of God’s theater. No one directs Him. He directs the events with ease.
However, here is our problem with this setting. If we believe the truth that God is a powerful and good author, it sure looks like many people have tampered with His script which causes us to have a mistrust in Him. Another reality that we deal with is that we ourselves or dissatisfied many times with how God is running things.
I think it would be helpful as we begin to look at Isaiah 41, to consider what things you would you change in your life if you were the author?
The thought of having such a role may have some attractiveness, but I think any of us would sign up for the job. So what do we do? Just go along for the ride? Enjoy the good that we can? Though we are not the authors, we are participants who have choice. We have interaction with the author. God has given insight into his “script.” Is it possible to live each day with eager anticipation to be a part of the “script” that God has written. God wants to give you a promotion from being the story writer to that of His servant in His story. That sounds like demotion, but its not, for we are enslaved, frustrated, and confused in the stories we are trying to write. We are strengthened in the role of servant in what God is writing.

Keep silence before Me, O coastlands,

And let the people renew their strength!

Let them come near, then let them speak;

Let us come near together for judgment.

2 “Who raised up one from the east?

Who in righteousness called him to His feet?

Who gave the nations before him,

And made him rule over kings?

Who gave them as the dust to his sword,

As driven stubble to his bow?

3 Who pursued them, and passed safely

By the way that he had not gone with his feet?

4 Who has performed and done it,

Calling the generations from the beginning?

‘I, the LORD, am the first;

And with the last I am He.’ ”

God is always rightly moving every detail in your life unhindered by anyone else.

Who is He moving: your bosses, parents, siblings, your government. He does this with giving full choice to man. He does not author any evil. He does not treat lightly the evil that is done toward His own.
Their rejection, friendship, stubbornness, their understanding are all directed by Him.
So what is the response of those who experience this directing by God while not acknowledging him as the author?
Isaiah 41:5–7 NKJV
The coastlands saw it and feared, The ends of the earth were afraid; They drew near and came. Everyone helped his neighbor, And said to his brother, “Be of good courage!” So the craftsman encouraged the goldsmith; He who smooths with the hammer inspired him who strikes the anvil, Saying, “It is ready for the soldering”; Then he fastened it with pegs, That it might not totter.

You will naturally make idols if you don’t believe God is rightly moving every detail in your life.

Hello. I am an idol.
Don’t be afraid, it’s just me. I notice you’re turned off by my name: “Idol.”
It’s okay. I get that a lot.
Allow me to rename myself.
I’m your family.
Your bank account.
Your sex life.
The people who accept you.
Your career.
Your self-image.
Your ideal spouse.
Your law-keeping.
I’m whatever you want me to be.
I’m what you think about while you drive on the freeway.
I’m your anxiety when you lay your head on the pillow.
I’m where you turn when you need comfort.
I’m what your future cannot live without.
When you lose me, you’re nothing.
When you have me, you’re the center of existence.
You look up to those who have me.
You look down on those who don’t.
You’re controlled by those who offer me.
You’re furious at those who keep you from me.
When I make a suggestion to you, you’re compelled.
When you cannot gratify me, I consume you.
No—I cannot see you, or hear you, or speak back to you.
But that’s what you like about me.
No—I am never quite what you think I am.
But that’s why you keep coming back.
And no—I don’t love you.
But I’m there for you, whenever you need me.
What am I?
I think you know by now.
You tell me.

You are strengthened in life through submission to God’s sovereign working in your life

It takes courage to be hospitable
I’d say it means to give loving welcome to those outside your normal circle of friends. It’s opening your life and your house to those who believe differently than you do.- Matt Chandler
It takes courage to embrace hurt and evil in your life as something God intended for good. Dawn - beautiful in comparison to the darkness; faint in comparison to the light of full day
It takes courage to be gentle. Criticism feels like and attack. If you don’t set someone’s thinking straight, they won’t change.
It takes courage to love. You are choosing to believe that your relationship with the one you struggle with now will be dearer than your dearest friendship now.
Courage is almost a contradiction in terms.  It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die. “He that will lose his life, the same shall save it,” is not a piece of mysticism for saints and heroes.  It is a piece of everyday advice for sailors or mountaineers.  It might be printed in an Alpine guide or a drill book.  This paradox is the whole principle of courage; even of quite earthly or quite brutal courage.  A man cut off by the sea may save his life if he will risk it on the precipice.  He can only get away from death by continually stepping within an inch of it.- Chesterton
When opponents do their worst, and we’re still standing for Christ, that is “a clear sign,” a prophetic warning, that God is with us.  For example, when the Empress Eudoxia, in the fourth century, threatened John Chrysostom with banishment, he told her, “You cannot banish me, for this world is my Father’s house.”  “But I will kill you,” she said.  “No, you cannot, for my life is hidden with Christ in God.”  “Then I will take away your treasures.”  “No, you cannot, for my treasure is in heaven, and my heart is there.”  “But I will drive you away from your friends, and you will have no one left.”  “No, you cannot, for I have a friend in heaven from whom you cannot separate me.  I defy you, for there is nothing you can do to harm me.”
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