Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Isaiah 43:16 – 28
Something Old, Something New

Two hunters flew into a remote valley in Canada to hunt elk. On the way home the pilot saw they had bagged six elk. He insisted they could only carry four. The hunters protested. “The plane last year was exactly like this one. It had the same horsepower. The weather was the same. We had six elk last year.” Hearing this the pilot agreed to try.

As they stumbled from the wreckage, the one hunter asked the other if he knew were they were. “I’m not sure but I think we’re about two miles from where we crashed last year.” [Source: Unknown]

I’m not sure if trying the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity or stupidity. Isaiah looks at the past but recognizes that God is doing something new.

I. God has done an awesome thing. [vv 16 – 17]

A. Israel’s history – crossing of the Red Sea.

1. God delivered them out of the bondage/slavery of Egypt.

2. God destroyed the power of the enemy.

B. The Christian’s history – the death and resurrection of Jesus.

1. God delivered the believer out of the slavery of sin.

2. God destroyed the power/dominion of sin in our lives.

C. The is both a command to remember and command to move forward.

1. We need to remember because we are so quick to forget.

2. We need to “fix our eyes on Jesus,” which is to move forward.

William Bennet said, “The reason America is great is because we tend to forget and move forward. The reason America is not great is because we tend to forget and move forward.”

D. Living in the past tends to excuse us from:

1. Attempting BIG things for God today. Thus, we do not have an impact on today.

2. Expecting great things from God today. We reason they are miracles because they don’t happen often.

3. Taking responsibility.

II. God is calling us to a new awesome thing. [vv 18 – 19]

A. Israel move from slavery into the Promised Land

1. How can slaves be transformed into a nation? The Law!

2. How can slaves acquire land? The power of God!

B. The believer today.

1. The believer is now free. Now what?

a. How do we live like freed slaves? Through the power of the Holy Spirit!

b. How are we transformed into a “royal priesthood” [1 Peter 2:9]? Through the power of the Holy Spirit!

c. We have the “power of the resurrection.” [Philippians 3:10]

2. The Bible says, “because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life sen me free from the law of sin and death.” [Romans 8:2]

C. The desert and wasteland are being transformed!

1. Israel was/had become a spiritual wasteland. God intended to change them.

2. Transformation occurs by the power of the Holy Spirit. The law could teach but it could not transform.

III. God allows us to frustrate the new thing.

A. We can ignore God. [v 22]

1. “not called” (encountered)

a. They did not respond to God.

b. They did not pray.

2. “not wearied yourselves for me” (wearied = “to gasp, exhaust”)

a. They put no effort into their spiritual life.

b. They kept up the externals but not the faith. They looked like they were alive but were dead on the inside.

B. We can withhold what God requires. [v 23]

1. “not brought burnt offerings, ... sacrifices.”

a. Tithes and offerings were not brought. The first and most sure sign of spiritual decay is when God’s people stop bringing their tithes and offerings.

b. Time and ability were not used. The second and sure sign of spiritual decay is when God’s people break the Sabbath and do not put their abilities to use for God’s glory.

“This is what the LORD Almighty says: "Give careful thought to your ways. [8] Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build the house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored," says the LORD. [9] "You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?" declares the LORD Almighty. "Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house.” [Haggai 1:7 – 9]

2. Meanwhile, we make all sorts of demands on God. External things have become more important than God.

C. We can disobey God. [v 24]

1. “Sin” refers to habits that are offensive to God.

2. “Offenses” means perversion with fault.

3. “Transgressions” [v 25] means rebellion.

4. “Transgressed” [v 27] means to break away from.

Eventually externals become pointless.

Even when we frustrate the work of God in our lives... God is still at work. We just keep ourselves from enjoying the blessing and the good things God wants to do for us.
To Do:

1. Rejoice in what God has done. It is the foundation of the future, not the completed work.

2. Be transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit.

3. Check the steps we take away from God. The best cure is to respond to God.

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