Faithlife Sermons

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Leading yourself in the wrong direction
This time of year, people are traveling to family Christmas parties, gatherings with friends and other festivities to bring them cheer.
However, this time of year also brings about some frustrations as people traveling get lost along the way, may get trapped in an airport because a blizzard has derailed their plans.
During these times it is helpful to think about what is really necessary and what is truly needed during this time.
Often when people are confronted with their plans unraveling, a change of direction is needed.
In my own life, I have often mentioned that it was a blessing to be derailed from what I had planned for myself.
I never would have ended up where I am at this moment in time, surrounded by the people who I love and cherish.
Believing the task would be easy
In our culture, it is often told that you can become whatever you want to.
In truth, this is a very arrogant assumption that you may do whatever you wish to do.
It has caused people to not listen when confronted with harsh realities or when faced with unrealistic views or goals in their life.
Now, that is not to say that hard work, determination, and perseverance are not good characteristic traits to have, but our culture is often soft when faced with being told we are incapable of doing something.
This is especially true when it comes to the times when we have closed our eyes and ears to what God has planned for our lives.
We ask for the many blessings to be poured out upon our lives without truly submitting to the will of God.
The task that God has for each and every one of us is not an easy task.
An example provided by one of the greatest prophets, Isaiah leaves us with the vision that such tasks given by God are daunting, difficult, and even downright impossible.
If we are honest with ourselves, we will realize that the holiness of God which we speak about, sing about, preach about, is also incomprehensible with His demands.
Only God can satisfy the Holy demand of Himself and therefore, it is also with God’s mercy that we are able to experience that holiness and walk with Him in His will.
God’s Commission for Isaiah
When Isaiah saw the vision in the temple, he was immediately in awesome wonder and understood so deeply what separated humanity from the eternal holiness of God.
After this recognition, Isaiah did what most would in the face of such truth.
He submitted his iniquity as what was keeping him from experiencing what God really wanted for his life.
It was something more than he bargained for.
Something that would shock Isaiah when he hears it.
God wants us to put into action what we hear
Isaiah proclaims that God is asking who would speak on His behalf.
As the vision of God is on the throne, Isaiah understands that the holiness of God would be too much for humanity and recognizes that God is asking that someone should answer the call of God and go into the world.
Here is the wording that proclaims that there is more than one who is asking to be represented.
The holy trinity, “who will go for us?”
Immediately Isaiah proclaims for God to recognize that he is willing to go.
I’ll do whatever you ask of me Lord.
I’ll go wherever you send me.
But God’s demand for Isaiah is not what Isaiah had expected.
His ideas about what a prophet was to do were still not quite in line with God’s plans.
There are many of us who continue to listen but do not hear, we look upon the world as it goes by and never understand the hand of God working all things because He is sovereign over His creation.
We fret and have anxiety because we get so stuck believing we have to always do things the same way and then never understand why our communities, families, churches, and country continually turns away from God.
Butler, Trent.
Holman Old Testament Commentary - Isaiah.
Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 2002.
Accessed December 11, 2021.
ProQuest Ebook Central.
Butler mentions that just as God had sent the prophet Moses to harden the hear of the Pharoah, He once again has called the prophet to harden another heart.
Instead, it is the hearts of His own children, the ones He rescued from the bondage of slavery but because they chose to turn away from what God had asked them to do, He was going to allow them to be removed from the land.
He was going to allow their eyes to be blinded by other things of the world and they would not be able to perceive any longer the workings of the will of God in the world.
Isaiah uses the word insensitive.
In order to be insensitive, you must decide to not see things from another person’s perspective.
And even if they explain well what their position is your refusal to hear them out on their position will continue to harden your heart against what they would have to say.
This is what the people of Israel did when they chose to not be healed by God fully.
God desired to have a relationship with His people but they continually turned to others.
Isaiah received one of the most difficult assignments.
You can imagine Isaiah stepping back and thinking, he questions God?
How long must I work to harden the hearts of the people you have sent me to?
How long must I speak the truth to them about the way they have been living their lives?
Wouldn’t it be easier for me to continue just living the way I have been where I never confront the sin that I see in the world?
But God’s holiness demands much more than we are willing to give up.
Even after the confrontation and recognition that Isaiah’s iniquity prevented him from speaking to God, he falters back as any human would and doubts God in this moment.
God answers Isaiah with the longevity of the hardening.
A proclamation that the cities, land, and houses would be utterly vacant.
Completely overrun.
It is the LORD’s desire that the land be made fallow for the many years that it was worked without rest.
Just as the people who were worked hard by the Pharoah, the Israelites worked the ground too long.
God would allow the land to return to a forsaken state.
Allow the briars, thorns, thistles, and brush to overtake the land.
When would the people be able to return to the land.
When would Isaiah be allowed to tell them they were ok to hear the prophet’s words speak pleasantries again?
God proclaims there would only be a remnant that would be able to return.
However, they would be subjected to burning again but there would be something coming that would break the hardening of Israel.
Just as God allows people to turn to their own ways, He allows entire countries to do the same.
Utter ruin and destruction will come upon the people who continually turn their hearts away from God.
God loves you so much He allows you to have your own way.
He will not force you to make a decision to see Him.
However, He doesn’t stop at the judgement and says there is a Holy seed coming.
There is a prophecy about holiness itself being born out of the hardening of Israel.
In a time when the country was being persecuted by Romans, the holy seed would enter the world.
Your Calling is From God
God did not have Isaiah pen these words just to give you a historical account of what He wanted for Isaiah.
No, He wanted you to see that there are going to be times needed to tell the people the truth about where they are.
If they have blinded themselves to the truth about God by making their lives comfortable instead of truthful, there will be a reckoning coming for them that cannot be stopped.
Hopefully, there are people in your life that are able to be truthful with you.
If you continually turn the truth down in your life and turn up the falsehoods that make you feel good, make you feel comfortable, and make you happy instead of closer to God then your hardness has already started from within.
Your Task is From God
Do not shy away from bringing up the truth, but do it with love (Eph.
If God’s love was that justice and righteousness were restored through His laying down His life at the cross then what allows us to stand back and wait on our command to tell people of His love.
It is a difficult task but not one that you will ever do on your own.
It is God’s love through us which compels us to understand that He desires us to speak the truth of who He is to the world so that all may be saved.
In this season of Christmas remember the holy seed that was promised in 739 BC by the prophet Isaiah.
God keeps His promises and He delivered Himself to the world into a broken country, broken people, and decided to work through those people to show the world His love.
How much more could be shown to the world today if we recognized what God is calling us to do today?
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