Christmas 2019/ Isaiah 9:6-7, 42:10-17: God is the Mighty Hero of Our Story
If you would take your Bibles with me, open them to Isaiah will be reading from two portions of Isaiah. First to be chapter nine verses six or seven and then we’ll jump to 42 verses 10 through 17
[Isaiah 9:6-7 ESV] 6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.
[Isaiah 42:10-17 ESV] 10 Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise from the end of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that fills it, the coastlands and their inhabitants. 11 Let the desert and its cities lift up their voice, the villages that Kedar inhabits; let the habitants of Sela sing for joy, let them shout from the top of the mountains. 12 Let them give glory to the LORD, and declare his praise in the coastlands. 13 The LORD goes out like a mighty man, like a man of war he stirs up his zeal; he cries out, he shouts aloud, he shows himself mighty against his foes. 14 For a long time I have held my peace; I have kept still and restrained myself; now I will cry out like a woman in labor; I will gasp and pant. 15 I will lay waste mountains and hills, and dry up all their vegetation; I will turn the rivers into islands, and dry up the pools. 16 And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them. 17 They are turned back and utterly put to shame, who trust in carved idols, who say to metal images, “You are our gods.”
Thank you Caleb, Let’s pray,
Gracious father, would you help us to trust the you are the mighty God who saves. Help us to see this part of you and have
Faith in it.
Open hearts now to your word. Make us active listeners. Let us receive word and Lord, would you work through me now help me to speak well. Preach Wells so that your people can understand your word. Here we ask this in your precious. How many of you know the song, the kids song? My God is so big. Oh, a few. Okay, well then let’s sing it. Why don’t you guys stand with me, please. Do you know the hand motions to it?
My God is so big, so strong and so mighty. There is nothing my God can. Oh my God. It’s a big song and I don’t know if my God cannot do the amounts are his. The valleys are his. The stars are his handiwork to my God is so big, so song somebody does nothing. My God cannot. Come on. You can stand up. Ready? Let’s give it a truck. My God is so big, so strong and so mighty. There’s nothing my God can do. My God is so good, so strong and so mighty. There’s nothing my God cannot do. The mountains are his. The valleys are his. The studs are his hand. He worked to my God is so big, so strong and so mighty. There’s nothing my God cannot do for you. A good job, right? You can be seated. Good job. I brought out your inner seven year olds there for many of you, but it is the mighty hero of story. God is the mighty hero of our story. We know that God IDI, we have that knowledge up here, but how does his might work in our life?
You’re in Isaiah 42. The second name of God, I forgot to light the candles again. I know we don’t ever do things quite the right way with the advent candles. That’s okay. We always have four candles this year that candles were supposed to symbolize more the four titles of God that are given and they chapter nine. We’re technically on the second one this week. Well, we’ve got three candles. I do know how to count. We were supposed to be on the third one this week, but I changed how we were going to do it. And the first week was a manual. Last week was the wonderful counselor. This week is mighty God. Next week we’ll deal with the everlasting father and the Prince of peace in the same sermon. This was just the mighty God though he works for us. But how does it might work in our life from Isaiah 42, we’re going to see four, if you want, call it characteristics about God’s might and how it works in our life.
And the first one is that God’s mite is victorious. God’s might is victorious. Isaiah chapter 42, if you’re reading along, sometimes one of the things that is confused about Isaiah is it’s talking in the third person, like Isaiah is speaking. And then at times he writes in the voice of God. And that’s what happens. This change happens 10 through 13. Isaiah is talking, talking about how our God is mighty man or a mighty hero. It’s a word that’s used throughout Isaiah. Not only the mighty men in Jerusalem that were frankly quite disappointing. They were heroes at drinking wine and nothing else. They weren’t mighty at anything else other than what didn’t matter. But here it says in Isaiah nine it says that he will be the mighty God, the heroic God that will work on our behalf. And then in 42 he goes on to explain that he’s gonna be one a man of you stirs up his zeal.
Since he cries out, you shout the shows himself mighty against this photo. Verse 15 I will lay waste to mountains and Hills, dry up all their vegetation, turn rivers and islands and dry up the pools. Throughout Isaiah, mountains, Hills, and geographical items often refer to the mighty world powers. At that time, the enemies of the nation of Israel, the mountains a lot of times referred to here, a Syria or Babylon. These world powers that seemed invincible compare pear to just this Jerusalem and the two Southern tribes. So what are they going to do? Well, here it says that God will win the victory against Israel’s enemies. Now I want to ask you to your enemy. It’s okay to categorize these things theologically. It’s okay for you to ask today, what is your enemy for Israel? They were in captivity because of their sin. Stronger nations were oppressing them.
Their enemy was captivity, poverty, their own sin, estrangement from God, danger, threat and a ton of other things and death itself. That was their enemy. And it’s in that context that God says, I will show myself mighty against your foes, against all of those. The mountains, like I said, represent the Goliath that they were facing at the time. And so I’m wondering today, what are your mountains that God will crumble? It says here lay waste to the mountains and to the Hills. Have you ever seen a before and after picture of Mount St Helen’s? It’s going to pull it up behind me. You guys know Mount St Helens in 1980 it went off. It blew the top off the mountain and it changed quite literally the planet. My dad swears he got Alan, the aftermath of that, at least that’s what you told me one time.
I get affected people hundreds and thousands of miles away. It changed the very planet because cause this volcano blew the top off. See how Tolo was. How fun would that be to climb? Really fun to see on this side. It’s been decapitated. The head’s been cut off in chapter 41 of Isaiah, it talks about how the servants of the Lord will be the one that will thresh the mountains. Have you ever seen how they strip mine mountains? Just layer after layer off the top of the mountain. I tried looking for pictures that were anything close to this. Nothing. There is nothing like this out there. No human can do this. I don’t care how powerful they are. This is God exploding with power. It’s an illustration of how God can decapitate mountains and I want to say God can conquer the giants or the enemies that you face in your life. What are they for you?
Is parenting your kids the right way that feels like an insurmountable mountain? Is it sickness or a disease that you are facing now? The long road ahead, immediate problems, whatever it is. Is it some sin struggle that you have that feels like you will never beat it? Is it your commitment to your marriage? Is it a trial you’re facing? Is it waiting for God to give you something that your heart desires? Is it financial struggles? Is it anxiety that hangs over you like a rain cloud? What are though? What is that mountain in your life? God raises up as a mighty man of war to conquer and destroy the mountains in your life. So God’s mite is victorious. Now I want you to hear this, understand this. God’s might normally gains victories in one of two weights, okay? You have to keep these categories in your mind.
This will help you immensely. The first way is in a miraculous deliverance. We see these all over the scriptures, the parting of the red sea. You know what I’m talking about? Okay? When they, the sun stood still in the sky, right? Or how about Jesus? When he calms the storm, when the disciples are out in the middle of the, of the sea and the storms raging miraculous moment deliverance where you ask God for something and God intervenes and gives you a miraculous victory in some unknown way that you couldn’t have even imagined. Have you ever had one of those events in your life? I’ve had a few. I haven’t had many, and I would dare say that the vast majority of people experience just a whole of those in their life. Maybe some experience. Those aren’t the norm. We pray for those things. We ask God, God, deliver me from the sin struggle once and for all, God, would you heal my body so that I would not struggle with whatever this ailment is?
And sometimes God answer those prayer requests like that, but there’s a second way that God’s might works victory for you, not just in the miraculous deliverance, but it’s also in his sustaining grace, the day, moment by moment where you go back to God and he gives you morass power to have faith in him that day again, to trust him through that trial, to pair it the way you should, to devote yourself to your marriage, to fight that sin in your life. He gives you that sustaining grace. That is the vast majority of the area that we live in are live in our life. That does not mean don’t ask God for miracles. Absolutely ask God for miracles, but you have to recognize both. This is the reason why we come to church week after week, come to church week after week to receive God’s sustaining victorious grace.
He works in us and shapes us and forms us. And one Sunday might be different than a hundred others that you participated in where God gives you this miraculous moment of victory over trial or this hope that you didn’t think was possible. And we long for that and we hope for that. And guess what? I preach for that every Sunday. I preach my heart out every Sunday that this would be the day of God’s miraculous victory in your life over sin, God’s miraculous victory in your life to open your eyes so that you would believe in Jesus Christ. God’s miraculous victory in your life, to give you faith, to sustain you through a struggle. But I know as a pastor and you need to know as a Christian that the vast majority of God’s mercy, a victory in your life is going to occur in the moment by mint moment things sustaining grace.
It’s why you open your Bible and pray day after day, once every once in a while. God might hit you with a lightning bolt from it. Does that happen every morning? We can be honest here. Does that every morning this God hit you with a lightning bolt. Every time you open the word of God, does that mean we don’t still go to the word of God and submit ourselves under it day after day to allow it to form us? No, we absolutely do. That day after day after day, pressing on and hoping for the moment of miraculous victory that God may give us, God’s might is victorious, but God’s might is not just victorious. God’s might is also timely. Look at verse 14 for a long time I have held my peace. God says, I’ve killed and restrain myself. Now I will cry out like a woman in labor.
I will gasp and pant. I’m not going there in my exposition of this sermon. I’m not going to use an illustration of that. But you see the, the, this, this moment where God is, is maybe pictured as sitting there waiting. I came with my kids where I’ll sit or I’ll lay down and I won’t do anything and they’ll come up and they’ll like get closer and closer and like try to push me or grab me or stuff like that and I’ll just sit there and sit there and sit there. Then all of a sudden I’m a flurry of action and I grab them and I pull them all close and you know, I’m wrestling with them. That’s the picture here. God waits and he waits. The fullness of the judgment on Israel needed to happen.
He was giving time for urea to repent from their sin. And so he waited and he waited and he waited. But do not mistake waiting for weakness. Do not mistake or confuse timeliness with apathy. God does care. He just has a plan for the time when that victory would happen. God’s might is timely. How many of you have been praying the same prayer requests for 10 years now? At least 10 years. Yeah. Yeah. Right. You prayed that first time and were you hopeful after the first time you had God would answer it like that. And he did it. So you went back to him, the next thing back to him the next year, and you go back to them again and you’ll keep going back to him.
Because God’s mite is timely, but waiting is not weakness. God is not weak in him. He’s not unable. He’s just waiting for his time to give you victory. So keep it back to him. [inaudible] Crane. Number three, God’s might rescues our souls. Look at verse 16 and I will lead the blind. This is God talking again in a way that they do not know past that they have not known. I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them and delight the rough places into level ground. These are things I do and I do not forsake them. God might rescues. It’s just a few of the illustrations that he uses here. First of all, the blind, the idea of being blind in in, in Isaiah especially is picturing what it’s like to be with God. I believe her to not know God’s deliverance from sin.
And when it says in a way they do not know and pass that they have not known, I will guide them. The paths that are being talked about are, you guessed it, the path walking in the truth, walking in obedience to God. They don’t know those paths and Jesus, God here says, he says, I will lead them in those in righteousness. I’ll show them how to do it. I’m going to guide them into righteousness. I will turn the darkness before them into like the rough places and the level of ground. These are the things I do. I do not forsake them. The darkness there again is the picture of them not even knowing where to go to God. God is light and they are living in darkness. That means they’re far, far away from God. The rough places in the level ground, he levels things out so they can go. There are many mountains that rise. Listen, there are many mountains that rise in the middle of fundamentally broken world, sin, cursed world.
It doesn’t take a rocket genius rocket scientist. I know it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that our world’s broken turn on the news, pull it up on your phone. Things are fundamentally broken out there. We live in the middle of a broken world, and if you expect to get through life unscathed, unscarred by the brokenness in this world, it’s not going to happen. However, and our most honest moments, we realize many of a lot that some of the mountains or many of the mountains that rise in our life that need to be cut and conquered by God, our mountains of our own foolishness and our own. Now understand that’s not always the case, but it often is the case. We face mountains because we give ourselves to things that don’t matter. That’s described over and over again in Isaiah, the people who are living for partying, the people who are living alcohol, the people who are living for just finances, whatever, they’re giving themselves to those things and they don’t matter, and because of that, God has brought judgment on that consequences for their actions. A Syria comes and conquers them. We face mountains because we make wicked decisions that destroy our lives. No lingo of our world, we would call these self destructive habits. Ever hear that phrase? We do things that destroy our own soul and life. This is the person that feels depressed. So they draw all the curtains and they spend all day long on social media. Self-Destructive. This is the person that pursues a adulterous relationship with someone else other than their spouse, pursues this adulterous relationship and it brings their marriage crumbling to the ground.
We face mountains because we make decisions that destroy our lives. We faced mountains because we trust ourselves and not God. We think if we just push a little bit harder, a little bit further, we try a little bit more than finally things are going to work out and we’re going to get this. They’re going to happen, right? Trusting God. We have blindness. We have darkness all around us, but there are only a handful of places that this word mighty is used of God in the Bible. And there are a few verses that are really important. Jeremiah 32 says you show steadfast love to thousands, but you repay the guilt of fathers to their children after them. Oh, great and mighty God whose name is the Lord of hosts. And Zephaniah three 17 the Lord your God is in your midst, the mighty one who will save you. He will rejoice over you with gladness. He will quiet you by his love. He will exalt over you with aloud singing.
God has to rescue us first from ourselves, from our sin, from our darkness, from our trust of self, from our wickedness, from the fact that we constantly want to walk in paths that are self destructive, destroy our soul, that are wicked to our God. We constantly give ourselves to things that don’t matter. And that’s what this verse is about. Read the verse again with that in mind. God steps forward saying to the faithful remnant, he looks at them and he says, listen, you’ve not been faithful to me fully. You’ve not been faithful to the covenant fully. Here’s what I will do in response to your sin. I will lead the blind eye in a way, not no and past they have not known. I will guide them. I will turn darkness before them, until the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do and I do not forsake them.
God has to step into your sin to deliver you from it and the way he does that is revealed and in 11 short chapters, your sin needed to be put on Jesus Christ on the cross there he received all the darkness. He reads the wrath of God for sin and he exchanged back his perfect record so that we can stand before God and be his people and in that, in that in our mighty God, he works in and through us to lead us into righteousness. He actually enables our heart and our hand tongues to walk in the path that we should walk, to live the righteous way we should live. That’s what our God does for us. He didn’t have to do any of that. He rescues our souls. This is the mighty God. This is the hero warrior who has to also fight ourselves our own worst enemy, right?
God’s might is victorious. God’s might is timely. God’s might rescue souls, and finally God’s might is trustworthy. God’s might is trust for 17 they’re turned back and utterly put to shame who trust in carved idols who say to metal images, you are our God. What’s the flip of that verse you’re not put to, she put your trust in him, but if you put your trust in anything else you’re put to shame. Now, don’t, don’t post carved idols, these metal images, all these things don’t be thrown by that same well. I don’t have a carved idle. Don’t be idol is anything in our life that you turn to for deliverance. What are you running to for deliverance?
To what? To you turn to be rescued? You turn to the mighty God who can chop the heads off mountains or to yourself. Do you turn to distraction? Do you turn to hard work? Do you turn people think of you to get you through the day. What delivers you when you get anxious and you need help? What do you run to? What controls what you do on a day by day basis? What do you fear the most, your life? What in your life would need to change for you? Be happy. These are your idols, these hurdles, these are the things that are getting in the way of your trust in God. So let me kind of break this down. My bad, awful, terrible habit. I get stressed out and I’ve gotten into the habit of doing one of two things, stressed out about something. So well if I just work on it a little bit more, I’ll figure this out.
So I keep working on it. I keep typing and I keep typing. I keep typing and I keep thinking, I keep talking out loud. I keep calling people to ask them their advice. So I keep working on it. So I work, I turned to work to deliver me. I turn to myself to deliver me. You know what? The second thing I turned to is distraction. It’s the exact opposite. It’s like I want to get away from this as I can. So I’m going to go watch a show on Netflix. That’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to go watch an NBA basketball game and just distract my mind for awhile. I don’t want to deal with this right now. This thing, this show is going to be from the anxiety that I feel neither option ever delivers me. Neither option ever helps. Neither option ever gives me peace and yet time and time again, I turned to those things.
Okay? You guys are going to need to be reminding me this of a lot in the near future. I’m going to tell you about that just in a few minutes. The thing I should be turning to is God, get on my knees and pray. God deliver me from the anxiety of this struggle. God deliver me from what’s going on here. I don’t. I can do the best I can here, God, but then I need to have the ability to turn off the computer and be done and say, God, I did the best I could for you. It’s for your honor and glory. I’m done on. I’m not obsessing over it or I need to, instead of turning to a TV or something like that, I need to turn to God to deliver me for you. It might not be TV for you and might be a different kind of hobby for you.
It might be relationships for you. It might be what people think for you. It might be can’t wait for the weekend for you to be any number of other things that you turn to in your heart. When things get tough, that’s where your mind drifts. That thing to get you through the day and it’s God who gets you through the day. Listen, they are turned back and utterly put to shame who trust in entertainment, who say to busy-ness, you are my God who will deliver me. You’re going to be put to shame in that, but God, on the other hand, he is trustworthy. God’s might is victorious. God’s might his time, God’s might rescues our souls. God’s might is trustworthy. God, God’s might will work on your behalf. We don’t believe that. What are we even doing here? Right? We don’t believe that God can work on our behalf, that he has that kind of power. He had God worthy of worship.
No. Well, I’m asking you today, make God the mighty hero of your story. If you are not a believer today, turn to him to deliver you in might and say through Jesus Christ alone. If you are struggling with a sin, turn to Jesus today, the mighty God who will deliver you from that sin. If you’re facing Isles sickness, struggle, whatever it might be, turn to the mighty God who may miraculously heal you are may give you the sustaining grace to get you through day by day. Turn to the mighty God who works in you today and trust him. Would you stand with me please and we’ll cry.
But thank you that you are the mighty God, the mighty hero of our story. Father, we praise and worship you because you’ve done that and you will do that in and through us. I asked today that you lie this word like good medicine to the various enemies that your people here face today. Let it be healing to their soul, refreshment to their soul. Give them confidence in you, the mighty God. [inaudible] Your precious amen. Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise from the end of the earth. Let them give glory to the Lord and declare his praise in the Coast’s land because the Lord mighty man like a man of war, he stirs up his zeal. He cries out, he shouts aloud. He shows himself mighty against his foes. We’ll do that for you if you turned to him. Amen.