Please turn in your Bible with me to Isaiah 49, and we are going to read this full chapter.
Isaiah 49:1-26 ESV 1 Listen to me, O coastlands, and give attention, you peoples from afar. The LORD called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name. 2 He made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me a polished arrow; in his quiver he hid me away. 3 And he said to me, “You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified.” 4 But I said, “I have labored in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity; yet surely my right is with the LORD, and my recompense with my God.” 5 And now the LORD says, he who formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him; and that Israel might be gathered to him– for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD, and my God has become my strength– 6 he says: “It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved of Israel; I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” 7 Thus says the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One, to one deeply despised, abhorred by the nation, the servant of rulers: “Kings shall see and arise; princes, and they shall prostrate themselves; because of the LORD, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.” 8 Thus says the LORD: “In a time of favor I have answered you; in a day of salvation I have helped you; I will keep you and give you as a covenant to the people, to establish the land, to apportion the desolate heritages, 9 saying to the prisoners, ‘Come out,’ to those who are in darkness, ‘Appear.’ They shall feed along the ways; on all bare heights shall be their pasture; 10 they shall not hunger or thirst, neither scorching wind nor sun shall strike them, for he who has pity on them will lead them, and by springs of water will guide them. 11 And I will make all my mountains a road, and my highways shall be raised up. 12 Behold, these shall come from afar, and behold, these from the north and from the west, and these from the land of Syene.” 13 Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing! For the LORD has comforted his people and will have compassion on his afflicted. 14 But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me.” 15 “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. 16 Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me. 17 Your builders make haste; your destroyers and those who laid you waste go out from you. 18 Lift up your eyes around and see; they all gather, they come to you. As I live, declares the LORD, you shall put them all on as an ornament; you shall bind them on as a bride does. 19 “Surely your waste and your desolate places and your devastated land– surely now you will be too narrow for your inhabitants, and those who swallowed you up will be far away. 20 The children of your bereavement will yet say in your ears: ‘The place is too narrow for me; make room for me to dwell in.’ 21 Then you will say in your heart: ‘Who has borne me these? I was bereaved and barren, exiled and put away, but who has brought up these? Behold, I was left alone; from where have these come?'” 22 Thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I will lift up my hand to the nations, and raise my signal to the peoples; and they shall bring your sons in their arms, and your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders. 23 Kings shall be your foster fathers, and their queens your nursing mothers. With their faces to the ground they shall bow down to you, and lick the dust of your feet. Then you will know that I am the LORD; those who wait for me shall not be put to shame.” 24 Can the prey be taken from the mighty, or the captives of a tyrant be rescued? 25 For thus says the LORD: “Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken, and the prey of the tyrant be rescued, for I will contend with those who contend with you, and I will save your children. 26 I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh, and they shall be drunk with their own blood as with wine. Then all flesh shall know that I am the LORD your Savior, and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”
Let’s pray. Father, would you quiet our hearts now please. Some of these promises seem almost too wonderful, it’s hard to climb the heights of these promises to truly understand them. So would you give us eyes to see, ears to hear? Now, father, pray and ask to see your precious name.
So what do we do when we feel like our labor is in vain? What do we do? When we ask the question, Was it all worth it? If you know… So if you were here for my Isaiah walked through the word, you know some of the story of Isaiah. If you don’t, I’ll give you a brief overview here, Isaiah wasn’t all likelihood called, I believe as a young child, like Samuel was a… He lived during the reign of five different kings.
If you know is relate history at all, you know that as you read Chronicles and the kings, you’ll see a story, a brief paragraph given of each king, and at the end of each one are at the beginning of each one, it’ll say something along the lines of he did what was good in the eyes of the Lord, or he did what was bad in the eyes of the Lord are evil in the eyes of the Lord. And you know, you may know that Uzziah and Jotham were the first two kings probably of Isaiah’s adolescence and teenage life growing up, and these two kings were given actually a good commendation, but there was kind of a qualification in both lives… In both cases, it seems like they did not put away idolatry that was rampant in the land, in both cases, what they did what was good in the eyes of the Lord personally, but as a king, they did not usher Israel into a time of righteousness as a nation, and one of them particularly was well known for what I believe it’s the kings called His mighty siege works that he likely put on towers around Jerusalem so that his enemy armies would come in, they would be able to love these huge weapons at this huge ammunition at the opposing armies.
But it’s so interesting that that detail is included because in fact, when you go back to Deuteronomy and you read what the requirements of the kings of Israel were, it never had anything to do with amassing wealth or amassing armies or military might, in fact, they are commanded in Deuteronomy 18, not to do those things, rather, they are commanded to know the law.
To live by the law, and to lead by them, and if they did things, there was a promise that God would protect them. And so when you move forward and you understand that one of these two kings, they were good, but they didn’t put out idolatry and they focus their efforts probably on military might and alliances, you start to realize real quick, okay. They weren’t all in, they had dipped the toe, now, you may know how Isaiah 6 starts that famous chapter where you hear the angels saying, Holy holy… Hey, there it is. Yeah, it’s right. Three, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hopes. That passage I say is calling the ministry, and there’s language in there that is mirrored from Samuels called a ministry, and that’s why I think it was that… I think he was young when this occurred, and you know, do you know how the first starts of Isaiah 6 In the year that King Zia did? In the year the King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. So he’s transported in this vision where he sees a high and holy God.
There is a reason why Isaiah and no other authors in the Word of God refer to God as the Holy One of Israel. Do you know why? Because in that vision, he saw high and holy, holy, holy. That’s how he knew God.
What happens in that moment? Do you remember? He’s stunned by it all. An angel. He says, Boy, I’m unworthy. Woe is me. And an angel comes and He takes a coal from the altar, and I think their significance there, I think we’re supposed to envision that altar as having already burnt a complete sacrifice, and then we’re just applying the work of that complete sacrifice to Isaiah is what his lips why his lips… ’cause he was a prophet who was supposed to preach, and so yes, it represents his entire body, but specifically, he was purified and prepared to preach and to teach, but do you remember the second half of Isaiah chapter 6? He says, God says, Whom shall I send? Who will go for us? And Isaiah says, what? Here I am, send me, and God says, Go to this people. You know what, when you go, they’re gonna see, they’re gonna listen, you’re gonna be around them, but they’re not gonna really be… They’re not gonna really… Okay.
They’re not gonna harken to your voice, they’re never gonna live the way they were called, Isaiah was promised, I believe as a boy, maybe eight or nine years old, he was given his vision, and he was told, Listen, you’re gonna have a lifetime of ministry and during that lifetime of ministry. You know what? People aren’t gonna listen to you. It’s hard. Well, then there’s the entire reign of King Jonathan, which lasts over 10 years, so he grows up during this time period, and through that time, I imagine he told his mom and dad about the vision. I think that’s what happened, and he is not given from what we know, another word from God, another vision for an extended period of time, in fact, until he has a white… So it’s a while, at least 10 years, Jonathan comes and goes, he does, and A has the king rises. No, Ahaz was an evil king, and it’s especially under a has rain that just injustice was right throughout Israel, the powerful, the strong, the rich, were able to take advantage of the poor in the week, and they did it, and they did it, and they did it more and it says The Princes and the rulers of Israel, instead of giving their mind in their heart to the law of God, they instead gave their heart and they’re mine to strong drink, woke up in the morning, got drunk, partied all day long.
The line that they probably got drunk, it was off the backs of servants of the backs of widows and forefathers were terrible rulers under the King, as not only that, but as was also consumed with the concept that if we were only able to Ali ourself with another power house, we will be protected from the powers around. Now, let me give you a little bit of the political entry around Israel, you guys know the map of Israel, okay, you got the Mediterranean Sea that goes down like this at a Slam, right? You got over here, the Dead Sea, I’m sorry, the sea of Galilee, and then down here is the Dead Sea, and there is the Jordan River that flows between them, Jerusalem is located somewhere in here, now, here’s the crazy part, literally on every side of them at this point, in time where either enemies are almost enemies. So yeah, Jerusalem, the Southern Kingdom, above them is Northern Israel is referred to, I don’t think at this point in time of Northern Israel as part of actual Israel. They’re not anymore, they had lived wickedly for centuries and had walked away from God, and at this point in time, they are making an alliance, as I say it grows up, he gets married, they’re making an alliance with another power house up here known as Syria.
Have you heard Syria, not Assyria, Syria. Now, these two together, their plan was they’re gonna form an alliance, come down to Jerusalem that’s at right at the heart of all of this area, they could only capture that, that they would have power over this entire area. That’s their plan. Now, down sell. You remember Egypt, right? Who previously was an enemy, and at this point, we’re kind of in it for themselves. There was a hope that maybe from a has to Egypt that they would be able to make an alliance, but in fact, each it proved unreliable, it made the alliance, and then they didn’t come through, and that’s all recorded right here in the Book of Isaiah. Okay, so that’s Egypt down here like a desert region of South region and east of Egypt is Moab and Edom, two nations of wanderers that are not really friends to Israel, not really friends to Jerusalem, and then if you go up and you follow the coast line down, between Egypt, on the coast line and Israel would be Philistines. The Philistines, do you remember them? You know, you know the famous Philistine, Goliath, they have many battles against the Philistines at this point in time, a Philistine is not a strong empire, but they’re still not friends, and then you’ve got on the coast land up here, you’ve got Tyre and Sidon, which aren’t really their own nations, there are port cities that were very powerful because they control all the ports and the SE trade, all of it.
And so, literally the King of Tyre, during this time, the writing of Isaiah, he says, he calls himself the king-maker because an alliance with Tyre, who mean that you would become a king. That’s how powerful they were, and they were very condescending toward Israel at this time, and that’s not all there is this dark shadowy figure, dark shadowy nation of Syria above Northern Israel, and they’re known as Assyria. Have you heard of them before? We have a ton of records from the Assyrian Empire, we actually, from dating back 3000 years, we’ve got tablets and giant stone edifices from the King who was over Assyria during this specific time, and he recounts his battles and he actually… He’s got this interesting account, he doesn’t detail the time later on under King Hezekiah that 180000 of his troops died like that overnight, he doesn’t include that, which is kind of funny, but he does say that he left the King of Israel caged up like a caged bird now, what’s so fascinating about that is that was probably well-known propaganda, and Isaiah actually includes a reference to that in the book, which is awesome.
Okay, so just cool little details like that, all over the place, and then the only other awesome nation you probably heard up previously as a super power, and you know at some point again, they become a super power, is further east than that they are known as Babylon or babble, they are the original evil empire, and they’re not powerful now, at this point, they’re paying homage and they’re giving all their taxes to Assyria, but shortly battle on and actually Persia… There’s a lot of things that happen, and when Israel finally does go into… When Israel finally does go into captivity, they go into captivity in Babylon 2 centuries later, after I say that gives you a break down, they’re a small nation in the middle, completely surrounded by more powerful, more deadly nations. That’s what Isaiah grew up under. So when God gives him a word in Isaiah Chapter 7, to go to King Ahaz and tell him, Hey, don’t be afraid of this new alliance forming between Northern Israel and Syria. Don’t be afraid of that. You can imagine why a would be like, What do you mean? Don’t be afraid of that. We’re like two steps away from being destroyed as a nation, so Ahaz response, and Isaiah actually gives them the promise like This isn’t gonna happen, and he offers God offers to Ahaz, I’ll give you a sign to prove that what I’m telling you is true, that alliance won’t last, they’re not gonna come down against you, your job is only to trust me… That’s all your job is. I’ll give you a sign. And it has… What does he say? He says, I don’t not a sign, please. Post a little bit of pride and he says, Well, I’m not gonna ask a sign from God, and God responds, Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign, a virgin shop and see, and you’ll call his name and man.
So he is offering through that statement a sign to Ahab. Now, what does that sign in to be… So this is literally the first word of God that I say has ever been given, is to go to the king and to tell the king that alliance is not gonna work out, you need to listen and trust me, and here’s the proof that a Virgin’s gonna conceive you shall call his name Emmanual. The very next chapter, chapter eight goes out of its way to explain how Isaiah’s new wife, is that Virgin is going to conceive. The very next chapter he goes out of his way to explain how Isaiah’s new wife is the virgin, is Maher-shalal-hash-baz. Remember that name? No, that’s fine. That literally means that the prey and the spoil are gonna speed up, they’re coming quickly if you won’t listen, and then in the following chapter, three separate times, I say it goes out of his way to say this is happening. They’re coming for you. It’s this dark shadowy figure that’s gonna conquer Syria and then Northern Israel and is gonna completely taken them into exile, you don’t know who they are yet, but it’s gonna be Assyria to this point of Shadow nation, they’re gonna come. They’re gonna conquer you. And three different times, Isaiah says in manual, at the end of that pronouncement of judgment.
You know how God’s gonna be with you, because this is going to happen within the next few years before this child turns two, three years old, so then all of that comes true. And The second half of Isaiah chapter 8 is devoted to this idea, are there any remaining in Jerusalem who are still faithful to God? and the answer is Yes, Isaiah, his family and a couple of disciples, not many.
One of those disciples was probably the profit Amos… They all huddle together, their loyal to Yahweh, they’re trusting Him, but Ahaz is not, and they know that as a result of his disobedience, Assyria is a threat to the very existence of Israel. Now from there, because all of that does occur exactly like I say it would in chapter seven and eight, we have chapter in Isaiah 9 verse 6, a son shall be born to you, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. How do we know that’s going to happen? There’s gonna come a day when one is born, who’s gonna bring everlasting peace to this world, how do we know that’s going to happen? ’cause Isaiah’s already proven that he’s a prophet of the YAWEH and these things already did happen. That’s the flow. Now what happens? Ahaz dies… later on. Doesn’t Listen to Isaiah at all? He has died. A king name, Hezekiah rises. Stay with me here. Now, I know this is long, there’s gonna be a pay-off here, a king named Hezekiah who does some good things, but he’s not able to establish righteousness and peace in the land like He promised…
Like the king was supposed to do.
Now, he has a couple of awesome moments, if you read the stories, but then by that time, he… Akin of His rain, Isaiah is an old man, and throughout all of his life, probably 80 to 90 years. He lived to be an old man, 80 to 90 years. No one listened to him. That was the promise of Isaiah 6. And wasn’t going to happen.
And then Hezekiah son came in to rule Hezekiah son, his name was Mensa, he was the longest reigning king of Jerusalem ever until Jesus reigns from there. And he was the worst king in his related history, he was an evil evil man, and we don’t have it actually recorded in the Scriptures, other than a little note in Hebrews Chapter 11, about a faithful one who was sawn in half. What we do know is that is a reference to a record, a historical record, a traditional historical record, where they believe that Isaiah, who some historical records say was actually the grandfather of Manas, Isaiah was running from Minas for his life and found a hollowed out tree and hid inside this hollowed out tree and Menashe upon him and ordered his men to take the saw and cut it in half with him in it, and the kid, that’s how Isaiah met his own, as an old man running for his life at the hands of probably his own grandson, after a lifetime of nobody really listening to his message. Now that man, you go back to Isaiah 49, that is the one who says in verse 4, I flavored in date, I’ve spent my strength for nothing, and for vanity, then first few chapters are clearly the prophetic call and preparation for ministry of Isaiah, God had prepared Isaiah with a sharp tongue, the ability to speak and teach, and yet people wanna listen to them, and it comes down here, and he says in verse 4, his response and this Already not yet time, I say He knows what’s coming, but he still lives in the now, and he’s still in the now, looks at is like… Looks and his ministry, looks at all that he’s done, and he says, Alright, did I do everything in vain? Was it really worth it? He has a doubt, a moment of doubt, and it’s a moment that we’ll see in a moment, I think every servant of God, which we all confess to be here today has is what I’ve done, or it is a worthy… We, God responds to him, and he tells him in verse 6, Look, here’s my response to you. It’s too little of a thing that you would only be my servant to save or raise up the tribes of Jacob and Israel. No, I’m gonna make you a light for the nations, God looks at I say it and says, Look, it’s not just going to be this here, now, I’m actually gonna use you in ways you can’t imagine, and you are proof today that I say is promise here, the promise to Isaiah came true you hear today across the world in America, in a different nation, or saved, partially because of the prophecies and the promises promises that Isaiah made under the inspiration of God, a Iris, rational Holy Spirit. You, me, today, there’s a reason why in the early part of the church, Isaias quoted so much in the New Testament, why… ’cause they went back to Isaiah to figure out who this Messiah was, who was Jesus. They quoted it so much, got to fill his promise to Isaiah, but not only that, he goes on and he says, I have answered you, I keep you, I give you as a covenant for the people, I’m gonna establish the land to portion the DECA heritages in other words, you’re looking at your land right now and you’re thinking… You’re looking at the land of Israel, a Jerusalem. You’re thinking you’ve lost… You’ve lost your inheritance. You’re never getting it back. And God says, No, you don’t understand. Actually, through your ministry, I’m gonna give an inheritance to God’s people, I’m going to give this world you will be an inheritor of the entire world, and he goes on here, there’s a few other promises, you’re gonna say to the prisoners, come out to those in darkness, a peer, you’re gonna be…It’s gonna be through your ministry that people are gonna be set free from their prisons.
Some people carry their prisons with them, I’m gonna call us out of darkness, get a feed along the path. In other words, he’s gonna lead us and guide us. There’s word pictures there of God leading his people like a shepherd leads his sheep, and he goes on, and there’s all these promises here, verse 14, comes in, Zion says, This is another name for Jerusalem. It’s the redeemed of Jerusalem, the truly loyal ones to God. We’re gonna say to God, the word is forsaken. You see, they live in this Already not yet with Isaiah during the middle of this difficulty, and they’re saying, I don’t see how you’re with us, I don’t see how you’re bringing back the land to us, I don’t see how all that’s gonna work. God, what are the promises that are for me? Are they gonna happen? The Lord is forsaken me. And God responds to that and he says, I cannot forget you. I will not forget you, I’ve engraved you on the palm of my hands. Which takes a completely different meaning, understanding what we know about the New Testament, your walls are continually before me, and then he goes on to talk about how the lost ones of Israel who have been taken into captivity, and we can see this picture of them taken into death or sin, God will deliver them once and finally and forever. It’s not the end. This isn’t the end. You might be feeling like it’s the end, it’s not the end. And these enemies that you see, the princes, the kings of Assyria and Syria and Babylon and Tyre and signed on a mound, Emin, Egypt and Philistine, all of these kings here that you feel like are invincible to you, they are gonna be the ones who come and look at dust off your feet. He says later.
Now that takes on a completely different meaning when you know the biblical story, because what is the curse given to the snake in the garden? Be honest, belly, and he’ll eat dust all of the days of his life, that almost certainly is saying There’s principalities and there’s powers beyond spiritual powers beyond these nations, and they too will be defeated in that day. It’s gonna happen. So God’s response in this is to give promises to Isaiah and today have started to see the fulfilling of those… Now, here’s the thing that you need to understand, okay? I’m gonna take it two more steps, the first step is to realize that all though this passage is almost certainly referring to Isaiah first, it is not referring to Isaiah last. You see, the servant of the Lord in Isaiah 43-66 is talking about Isaiah, but it’s looking beyond Isaiah. It’s like a title, like how we say King so and so is an office that somebody holds, Isaiah held this office for a time, and then there’s gonna be a greater one who’s gonna hold that office later, the servants of the Lord. What will he do?
Well, we know this from Isaiah 53, He was pierced for our transgressions, bruised, broken for our iniquity, the chastise that prior piece was laid on Him, and by His wounds we are healed. There’s a better servant that is going to fulfill all of what happened in this passage, much better than I say ever could… Let’s look through it again. It says in verse 3, You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified. First of all, Jesus fulfills being the servant of God and the representative of humanity here on Earth better than any of us ever could. Israel never did it. Israel was never good enough to do it. Now on even I say it was good enough, but Jesus was. And we know that because later on it would be Jesus who would represent us before God, take our sin on Him, and then give us back his righteousness to all those who believe in Him might stand before God as righteous. Receiving all of the blessings that God promised to give those who are righteous, receiving all of those blessings because in Christ, we are righteous. He does that, he goes on, it says, it’s too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob to bring back the preserve of Israel.
I will make you a light for the nations. You guys remember that? Where he’s called the light of the world. Jesus is the true light that gives light to everyone. What is that saying in John Chapter 1? It’s saying he’s the one who fulfills the servants of Yahweh in this passage. What about the idea that kings shall come and prostrate themselves before him? One day, every knee will bow, kings, princes, poppers, doesn’t matter. Every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. What about as you go down and you look at here establishing the land, he will make a new creation, and all those who believe in Him will inherit part of that new creation, as you go down and you read through his provision, his support of us being engraved on the palm of his hands, and
Then ultimately His deliverance from darkness and prison, and finally his defeat of the enemies of his people. As you go through that chapter, you start to realize, Oh yes, Isaiah immediately fulfills it, but even more than that, God Jesus fulfills that when he’s here on the set, he defeats. Our enemy is not the physical enemies because we don’t war against flesh and blood, we learn that last week.
No, we were against principalities and power, we were against the sin that’s in our… So we work against the threat of punishment in hell, how can we ever escape that? We fear death, and the reality is that Jesus Christ eliminates every one of those enemies in it, he eliminates the spiritual powers at work against us needed stuff, He eliminates our sin, we might still struggle with sin today, but we have been guaranteed victory through Christ, and by faith in Him, you can have victory over your sin today, he takes care of hell because there is no condemnation including hell for those who are in Christ Jesus. And we have no fear of death. The sting of death is sin. We have no fear of death because death just means we’re going to be with him, we’re gonna be with him face-to-face.
Jesus fulfills this, but I wanna take a one more level… ’cause my question at the beginning is, what do we do when we feel like our labors in day… 11 times in the New Testament, Paul either directly quotes are alludes to that first verse number four of your chapter, 11 times Paul does. That is probably one of the most quoted verses in the Bible are alluded to verses in the Bible.
Understand that. You might recognize some of these. Like Galatians Chapter 4-11, Paul says to the Galatians believers, after preaching the gospel to them, now they’re going back to Judaism, and he says, honestly, with a broken heart, I’m afraid I have labored over you in pain, I’m afraid that I’ve labored for you, and in the aftermath of my labor, I’m gonna have nothing to show for it. He says the same thing to the Church at Philippi. He says, I want you to be holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ, I am proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain… I want you to last… Keep going. How about 1 Thessalonians 3:5? He says it to them as well, well, I could bear it no longer. I sent to learn about your face for fear that somehow the tempted attempted you and our labor would be in vain. Listen, Paul has a haunting doubt that everything he had given his life to was not worth it, and so you… Today, when you look at your kids and you feel like, I don’t know if a single thing I’ve done has had any impact on them, you look at your unbelieving kids and you think I’ve labored and prayed over them, but they’re not with God.
You look at your marriage and you’ve given yourself time and time again, and you’re fearful and you think, I haven’t made my marriage better, is everything I’m doing worth it? And you look at your work and you think, Man, I drown on at work and I do the same thing over and over day by day, I’m fearful that what I’m doing is not worth it, and you look at your service in your church and you don’t see any fruit direct results that you want to see, and you say, I’m fearful that everything I’ve done has not been worth it. You look at how you served your neighbors and your family and your friends, and you think… Was it worth it? Was it worth it? This is a real struggle, guys, this is a real battle that we all face, is what I’m doing… Worth it in my life. And the answer is it, in the results. Our immediate fruit does not determine whether or not it was worth it, you don’t get to look at right in front of you and say, Well, we at worth it, that’s not the answer, and that’s up the answer God gives in Isaiah 49.
He doesn’t look at Isaiah say, Hey, we’ll look at your family, look at your small group of disciples, that means it was worth it. He doesn’t do that. What does God do? How does God minister to Isaiah? What promises does God give Isaiah when he is struggling with the fear that it wasn’t worth it? Well first of all, he reminds Isaiah that he’s called him.
Your life is not an accident. God has been in control from before your birth, of your life and your trajectory, you are here now today because God has put you here, and not only that is not only formed where you are, he’s formed who you are, done to the very strengths and weaknesses that you have, and the very callings that you have to be moms and dads and employees and servants here in the church, He has given you all of those things and he has equipped you to do all of those things. Never doubt that, because that is one of the promises given here, you might fear that your labor is in vain today. So the first thing to do is look at God’s calling on your life. And to recognize that in His sovereignty, He has you right where he wants. The next thing you do is you go down. This passage says, I’ve labored in vain, I’ve spent my strength or vanity, God reminds him, he says, Look, actually what you’ve done here in your life with your kids, with your marriage in this church, whatever it might be, what you’ve done is far greater than you can imagine you don’t see it because you don’t have the eyes to see it, you don’t have the wisdom to see up at the ripples of your life and your faithful service are things you will never know, this side of having…He says It’s too right, a thing that you should only be my servants, servants for here and now in Jerusalem. No, I’m gonna make you a Light to the Nations. Does for Isaiah, Your faithfulness is necessary to see that
He honors Isaiah, the honors Isaiah by lifting him up, even though he feels for God and despised here on this earth, God looks at him and says, You’re honored. And this is the moment in the New Testament where we stand before Him after we’ve given all that we have to give every second of our life that we’ve had to give… And He looks at us and he says, Well done, good and faithful servant. The honor of that moment will be worth 10 lifetimes of vain service.
Not only has he, not only as he called and equipped us, not only has He honored us, but listen to me, he has not forsaken you or forgotten you. Verse 14, The lord is for second me, my Lord has forgotten me. And you often feel this way, and I often feel this way, especially as we look at what we’ve done with their hands and we’re like, This is not what I dreamed it would be, and we take a step back and we think, God have you left me? Did you forget about me? God looks at he us and He says, Look, you know how a nursing mother holds her child in her arm and cannot forget them, even they may sometimes forget, but my love for you, I will never forget. I’ve been grave to you on the palms of my hands, but just is just a powerful thought, the God, the God of the universe, the eternal God, who has no form, has somehow left a permanent imprint on him so he can never forget his people. That’s the picture given. He does not and has not forgotten you. Not only as he called and equip you, especially for what He has for you, not only does He promise you were well done for your faithfulness and honor, that will make it all worth it.
Not only has he not forgotten you, but I want you to hear this one. He will satisfy your deepest longing. I love how he goes through here. What is the longing of Isaiah? His longing is that Israel would be safe and secure. He is longing is that Israel would be fruitful and be loyal to Yahweh, and that they would be abundant and multiply, and that there would be no fear of enemies. That’s what I say a crate. He loves for that. And it’s not happening. What do you do when your deepest longings… Just don’t happen. What do you do with that? God promises her that He will satisfy. Above and beyond, everything that Isaiah ever longed for. Isaias desires were too small. In fact, much of the Book of Isaiah is devoted to showing how, Hey, do you know you know how you want deliverance from Assyria, how about deliverance from death to… That’s Isaiah 26, Hey, you know how you want relative peace in the land. How about land were… Peace increases and never stops. The blessings never stopped. How about that instead, Isaiah, I say it has a small mindset about the longing said Yes, And God promises to fulfill those longings if they’re redeemed and the righteous in a much deeper and more profound way than you can ever imagine, you may never taste that.
This side of heaven, you may never…
There’s no guarantee that will happen here, there’s a guarantee, our God is with us, and that’s enough for us. Finally, he will defeat all of our enemies, and you might feel today, like whether it’s sickness or whether it’s sin, or whether it’s a fear of death, or whether it’s this overwhelming cloud that hangs over your head, or whether it’s the vanity of work that you struggle against or we could go on and on and on about different enemies that we face, spiritual powers that inflict us and tempt us to sin, every single one of them will look the dust off your feet one day, that’s how complete Christ’s victory on your behalf will be. Listen, you will not face these battles forever. It’s for these reasons. As I think Paul struggled, like Isaiah struggled, like, Maybe you struggle today. And I know I struggle as I read the Word of God, and I’m fearful that everything I’m doing, is it gonna be worth it? It doesn’t matter. It’s with those reasons that Paul can use that verse and say, Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, movable, Always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord, your labor is not in vain.
That’s it. That’s the promise that you have, you can be steadfast and immovable because of the promises given to us and guaranteed to us in Christ. You might feel the haunting sense that, my labor has been in vain. But when that has happened, I encourage you to do what Isaiah does in this passage. I’ve intentionally skipped the last half of that verse… What does Isaiah do? He spills his heart, he says, I have labored in vain. I spent my strength for nothing in formality. Spill your heart. Tell God exactly how you feel. Be open-hearted about it, God can take it. But then do what Isaiah does. Then do what Isaiah does. Yet, surely, my right is with the Lord, it might recommence with my God. Right. And recompense, Abby, both reward Ward words. He’s saying, I feel like this has not all been worth it, but I know he’s reminding himself a biblical truth, I know that I have it right with my God and my God will one day vindicate this situation, he will… I might not be in my life, I might be in a different life, but He will one day. So what do you do when your labor feels like it’s in vain.
Read the promises here in Isaiah 49. Appropriate them to your life. And then remember 1 Corinthians 15-58, be steadfast and movable, Always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord, your labor is not in vain. Let’s pray. Close your eyes about your heads, please e. Oh Father, I know your church family here. Well, we all… We all struggle with the idea that maybe all the work we’ve done has not been worth it, and whatever you have for us, Lord, we wanna lift ourselves up to you and say We feel that way at times, but then remind ourselves that we have a right from you, the right to be called God’s Children, and all of the blessings that that we have that… What a wonderful promise status. I pray that we would remember that you have not, will not, can not forget us, we remember our callings, what you designed us to do, Equip us, and then we’d be faithful to pray that, that we would know that you are gonna fulfill your promise was promises to us one day. We need to be immovable steadfast, draw us close to yourself, help us to trust you and turn our eyes on you, minister to our hearts. Father we pray these things in your precious name, Amen.