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Summary: Scripture: Isaiah 62:1-5; John 2:1-11; 1 Corinthians 12:1-11 Theme: New Life, New Joy, New Community Proposition: Epiphany 2 C passages speak to us of God's power to create New Life, To Bring Forth New Joy and to create a New Community

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Scripture: Isaiah 62:1-5; John 2:1-11; 1 Corinthians 12:1-11

Theme: New Life, New Joy, New Community

Proposition: Epiphany 2 C passages speak to us of God's power to create New Life, To Bring Forth New Joy and to create a New Community

INTRO:

Grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ who came to take away the sin of the World! Good morning!

I love a great story that has a wonderful ending. I love it when the good guys win. I love it when the guy gets the love of his life and the story ends with everyone rejoicing and celebrating. I love it when the down trodden and the desolate are rescued and redeemed. I love it when at the end of the story you experience this great feeling of joy and contentment.

Perhaps, that is why this morning that I love all of the scriptural passages that we have read. For as you look at all of them together they all speak of the gracious and loving power of God. We see God's power displayed in the reading from the book of Isaiah, we see God's power displayed in the reading from John and especially in the reading from 2 Corinthians chapter 12.

Each individual passage reveal wonderful insights into God's grace, God's power and God's personhood. Joined together these passages provide for us a Trinitarian focus; in Isaiah, we see that the focus is on God the Father giving a new identity and life to His people, in John the focus is on Jesus, the God the Son bring forth joy and celebration and in 2 Corinthians the focus is on God's Holy Spirit enabling His Church to be Spirit-filled, Spirit-led and Spirit-active.

Let's look at each of these passages and hear what the Spirit is saying to His Church:

I. In Isaiah 62:1=5 we hear the Prophet proclaiming that God is bring a New Identity and Life to His People.

v. 4 - God transforms a people called Azubah to a people called Hephzibah.

Isaiah 62:1-5 is part of a prophetic speech to a people who are beleaguered. For over 70 years the people of Israel had suffered at the hands of the Babylonians. Their exile was now over but as they returned home they found their beloved city Jerusalem and their nation in complete ruins. Solomon's Temple had been destroyed by fire. The walls protecting the city of Jerusalem had been pulled down and burned. Wild animals now roamed areas where once there had been shops and businesses. There was no central banking system or major commercial centers. There was no Son of David ruling the Kingdom. They were back home but home was a wreck.

The picture of post -exilic Israel could be captured in the word Azubah (azab - a-zav). Azubah was used to describe a person who had been abandoned, neglected, depressed and living in desolation. It was the word people would use to describe their times of utmost anguish and hopelessness. This was how the people of Israel were feeling. They had rejected God. They had chosen to serve false gods. Therefore, God had sent them into exile. God had severely disciplined them. And now even though they were coming home it was a home that looked like, smelled like and felt like Azubah.

Even though the Temple had been partially rebuilt it paled in comparison to Solomon's Temple. Jerusalem's walls had been rebuilt but they would not withstand a major onslaught and the chance for a son of David to be back on the throne was mere fantasy. Gone forever where the glory days of David, Solomon and Hezekiah. Gone were the days when thousands were coming to worship at the Temple. Gone were the days when no army dared to breach the walls of Jerusalem. Gone were the days when Jerusalem sat as a city full of light, life and liberty. Gone were the days when silver was seen as nothing and only gold was seen as being important.

It is in the midst of this national despair and heartache, God sends forth the message that He will bring Israel and the city of Jerusalem back to life. God will give them a new identity. God will transform them and give them the name Hephzibah (Chephtsiy bahh - khef•tsē'vä), which means -THE ONE I DELIGHT IN. As they turn to the LORD, the LORD will renew His marriage vows with His People and they will be known again as God's People.

God is reaching out to His people who have been broken and ruined by their sin. God is reaching out to rescue them, redeem them and restore them to their former days of glory. God will once again cause His light shine around them and through them. He will once again raise up for them rulers of righteousness. They will once again wear crowns of His glory. All they have to do is to love Him, trust and obey Him and they will be given a new name, a new identity and enter into a new relationship.

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