P-131Finney OT Sermon
Sermon on Isaiah 65:17-25
It was supposed to be the ideal nation. All of the former problems of life were supposed to disappear. The miseries caused by the injustices of this world were supposed to be done away with. No one would go hungry, because there would be plenty of food for everyone. All of those people who had no jobs were to find new ones in this new land of opportunity. There would be no more disabilities, no more imperfections found in society. Everything would be perfect, because the leaders would make it perfect. Specifically one leader would make it all happen. This would be their savior from all of their worldly problems. They could be proud of their country because it would be a model for the rest of the world. And the world would be in awe and in fear of the greatness of their great nation.
Now many of you are probably thinking that I am talking about the nation that we live in. That a former president gave the promises that were made. You would be surprised then if I said that these were the promises made by Adolph Hitler to the German people in his grab for power. And as most of us know now, he was not out for the best of all God's people. His ideal of perfection was a single ethnic race with no imperfections. If you were born with a defect then you would die young. If you were not born from the right bloodlines then you would spend your life in miserable servitude or in torturous death. He had one goal in mind, power. Power for him as the leader of the Aryan race.
The picture that the end of the 65th chapter in Isaiah gives us is a material dream much like what Hitler was preaching to his followers. Both situations were based on present worries about existing as a people. In Germany’s case, they were reeling economically and socially from the great depression. In Israel’s case they had been conquered by the Assyrians, exiled to Babylon and were now preparing for the day when they would be sent bask to their homeland in Judea.
But the promises made to the Israelites were more than worldly wealth and comfort. God was going to give them spiritual life and eternal hope. He would give them much more than a material perfection. This is a perfection built on a peace only given by God. A perfection that is beyond human abilities. A new heaven and earth where the miseries and pain of the past is remembered no more. This is to be a blessing to all of God's chosen people and to be a curse to all those opposed to his will. The people will be joyous and the land given to the people will be a delight for them.
The promises that Hitler made to the German people ultimately were never filled and led to a war that could not and did not bring a new earth. The promises that the world makes are not the same type of promises that God makes. The world is full of people saying and selling empty promises. Isaiah's vision from God was not built on empty promises. The prophet Isaiah did not proclaim empty prophecies left to be unfulfilled. The word of God coming from the mouth of Isaiah was not to be taken lightly.
In this prophecy we see the misery of life passing away. There will be no more crying and no more cries for help. Mothers will not see their young children die. Children will grow old like they were meant to. Sinners will get what is coming to them and suffer a mortal death. Even nature will be at peace with animals lying down with their predators and predators acting in peaceful ways.
We can see in the promises made by Hitler that the new world power that he was envisioning for Germany was not to be built on peace. The new nation that Hitler was proposing the German people to build was to be built upon man made inventions and ingenuity. The promises and vision that he sold the German people were those that would bring them material comfort and vindication for their misery at the hands of the other nations. His promises would take hard work and battle against other nations.
The promises of God are those that give his people rest. His promises are not built on what His people do, but on what He does for them. God’s promises give people hope when they can see no end to their misery. This is to be compared to those promises made by the world where hard work can overcome all odds. What happens when the continual hard work brings us just more misery. Just when does it all end many might say.
In these few verses God gives us a picture of what the kingdom of God is supposed to look like. The Israelites would have been looking eagerly to this new kingdom, because they were tired of being a part of one that was not their own. Of laboring for something that they could never own. Isaiah was showing them a kingdom of God that would be fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth brought near to us in His birth, life, death and resurrection. A kingdom unlike anything that an earthly king could give the people of God. A kingdom where there is no hunger. Where the houses that God’s people make, they get to keep, which not always happens. Where the food that they plant, they get to eat. Where there is no suffering or death for His chosen people. Where young newborns do not die and people are not enslaved. A kingdom to be built on a new heaven and a new earth where the old shall pass away and be forgotten, so that the new glorious life can be enjoyed and celebrated.
Would you like a new place in life? A new life that is given to you and not something that you have to earn. A place of rest and comfort that can be counted on to be there for you. A new start in a new place where you are sure to be welcomed, loved and blessed. A place where you are perfect. Where everything is perfect. This is the new heaven and a new earth that that God gives us in our salvation in Christ. In Christ we have a new life. It's not just a new life, it's a perfect life. Without corruption without sin. A brand new perfect life in our baptism in the Holy Spirit. This new life is given to us in Christ’s resurrection from death on the cross. His blood gives us new life, His resurrection brings us a new heaven and His second coming brings us a new earth.
As God’s people we are his possession. He has bought us and redeemed us with the death of his son, Jesus Christ. This is not something that was bought by worldly means, by silver or gold, but by heavenly means, by the blood that was shed in the death of Christ. We are His possession, something that God takes joy in and that He blesses. And as His treasured possession we are more than just subjects and servants. He takes joy in His people and he will bless them, something that a master does not do for a slave.
If we look at verse 24, this is a key verse in how God will be in relationship with his treasured people. “Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear.” You see, He knows our needs before we come to him with our requests. That is a comfort that no human can give us. It’s why God from the beginning of time knew that Jesus had to die for our transgressions. He gave us the answer before we knew we had a problem. He gave us new life and a new heaven before we thought or even knew that we could lose it. He gave us a heavenly promise that was built with God’s hands and not with ours. A heavenly promise of a new heaven and a new earth. A promise that He keeps for us.