Summary: God's redemption of Zion gives us HOPE


December 15, 2019

Isaiah 35:1-10

Almighty God Redeem Our Land, We Pray

The reading

The desert and the parched land will be glad;

the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.

Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom;

it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.

The glory of Lebanon will be given to it,

the splendor of Carmel and Sharon;

they will see the glory of the LORD,

the splendor of our God.

Strengthen the feeble hands,

steady the knees that give way;

say to those with fearful hearts,

“Be strong, do not fear;

your God will come,

he will come with vengeance;

with divine retribution

he will come to save you.”

Then will the eyes of the blind be opened

and the ears of the deaf unstopped.

Then will the lame leap like a deer,

and the mute tongue shout for joy.

Water will gush forth in the wilderness

and streams in the desert.

The burning sand will become a pool,

the thirsty ground bubbling springs.

In the haunts where jackals once lay,

grass and reeds and papyrus will grow.

And a highway will be there;

it will be called the Way of Holiness;

it will be for those who walk on that Way.

The unclean will not journey on it;

wicked fools will not go about on it.

No lion will be there,

nor any ravenous beast;

they will not be found there.

But only the redeemed will walk there,

and those the LORD has rescued will return.

They will enter Zion with singing;

everlasting joy will crown their heads.

Gladness and joy will overtake them,

and sorrow and sighing will flee away.

Sermon Prayer: “Heavenly Father, I stand before Your people, to deliver Your message. Though the words are mine and I prepared this message, I pray that this message is Your message in its entirety. I pray your blessing and anointing on its delivery, its reception and most of all its application in our lives.” Amen

Isaiah the prophet paints the true picture of redemption in this reading. He speaks of the redemption of the nations, scorned and suffering God’s wrath for seeking false gods and living in sin. In those days, the Edomites were the dominant peoples living a nomadic life in that region of Zion.

Zion? We keep reading and hearing Zion mentioned. What and where is Zion? As always, I encourage you to do just a little research. Briefly, Zion is that region of the eastern hill of Jerusalem including the site of the Temple Mount. (2 Samuel 5:7) After David’s conquest, it also became known as the City of David. (1 Chronicles 11:7) Later, Zion became synonymous with Jerusalem. (Micah 3:12)

In more modern times: “Simply put, Zionism is a movement to recreate a Jewish presence in Israel. The name comes from the word “Zion,” which is a Hebrew term that refers to Jerusalem.” From website:

Isaiah illuminates the events of God’s redemption in the transformation of the wastelands of Zion to the glorious gardens of Jerusalem. We can experience this wonder and especially at this time of year. When Edna and I were living in Vermont, we thoroughly enjoyed the changing of the seasons. Autumn, the leaves turn red, gold and brown in magnificent display. The winter months are beautiful in glistening snow but the longing for Spring comes on fast. No, not because of the cold or the ice but more so because of the dark and dreary skies. My dog Duncan and I walked every day rain, snow or come what may. In the dreary winter days, we would walk high on the mountain behind the parsonage, just to get a glimpse of God’s wonder with the panoramic view of the valley. It was a picture of peace and confidence.

In the eyes of this old pastor, I sense that America needs that very same redemption. In no way am I speaking directly to any political faction. I am speaking to AMERICA. We have been praying for God to save us from ourselves and to redeem our nation, just as He did ZION. We pray this prayer daily. There is much opposition to God in our land, we know that. The most powerful means that we as individuals must address the SALVATION and REDEMPTION of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is on our knees in prayer.

When we drove up to Vermont for the first time, it was overcast and not very welcoming. BUT, when we drove into Vermont from the New York side, as soon as we topped a hill, the vista was as welcoming as one might imagine. On that late August afternoon, we arrived at the most beautiful rainbow imaginable and a sunset to marvel.

Looking for a better example? Look no further than Luke 15:11-32 – The Prodigal Son. Although a parable, the message is vivid. When all hope is lost, when everything around is in disarray and tormenting, there is HOPE. That hope is in the Lord, who forgives, redeems and transforms.

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