Summary: This sermon is about restlessness, ransom and redemption.
HIS PRIZED POSSESSIONS January 17, 2021
Text: Isaiah 43: 1- 7
Isaiah 43:1-7 But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. (2) When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. (3) For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you. (4) Because you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you, I give people in return for you, nations in exchange for your life. (5) Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you; (6) I will say to the north, "Give them up," and to the south, "Do not withhold; bring my sons from far away and my daughters from the end of the earth— (7) everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made."
A four-year-old boy accompanied his pregnant mother to the gynecologist's office. When mother heaved a sigh and clutched her stomach, her son looked alarmed. "Mommy, what is it?" he asked.
"The baby brother you're going to have is kicking," his mother explained.
"He's probably getting restless," the youngster decided. "Why don't you swallow a toy?" (Lowell D. Streiker. An Encyclopedia Of Humor. Sixth Printing. Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 2003, p. 122). How much are we like that restless that child? God’s people were restless because they were in exile. How often have we kicked, worried, reacted or doubted about things we don’t understand?
Today I want to talk about three things we see in today’s text restlessness, ransom and redemption.
Doesn’t stand to reason that if there are exiles, then there must be a threatening enemy?
1) Exile defined: If you look up the definition for an exile, then one of the connotations that you run across is that there an enemy whose power forces you to leave your native land.
2) Restlessness: Would being an exile not create some restlessness in us?
Several years ago, I heard the story of Larry Walters, a 33-year-old man who decided he wanted to see his neighborhood from a new perspective. He went down to the local army surplus store one morning and bought forty-five used weather balloons. That afternoon he strapped himself into a lawn chair, to which several of his friends tied the now helium-filled balloons. He took along a six-pack of beer, a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich, and a BB gun, figuring he could shoot the balloons one at a time when he was ready to land.
Walters, who assumed the balloons would lift him about 100 feet in the air, was caught off guard when the chair soared more than 11,000 feet into the sky -- smack into the middle of the air traffic pattern at Los Angeles International Airport. Too frightened to shoot any of the balloons, he stayed airborne for more than two hours, forcing the airport to shut down its runways for much of the afternoon, causing long delays in flights from across the country.
Soon after he was safely grounded and cited by the police, reporters asked him three questions:
"Where you scared?"
"Would you do it again?"
"Why did you do it?"
"Because," he said, "you can't just sit there." http://www.sermonillustrations.com/a-z/r/restless.htm [Leadership, Summer 1993, p. 35.] Is there a part of us that wants a birds-eye perspective for the the solutions to the problems of our world right now? We have to walk by faith and not by sight (II Corinthians 5:7). I know that I struggle with that because of my finite point of view. I believe Lord, but help my unbelief (Mark 9:24). We need to remind ourselves of two things 1) that God is infinite, omniscient and sovereign! 2) The last book in the Bible reminds us that God conquers all evil!!!
Did exile mean the same thing for them as it would for us?
1)Enemies: We have not been taken physically captive, but socially and spiritually we have been taken captive by the design of people both foreign and domestic who want power and control.
2) Bad sources: There might be time that we often feel like strangers in our native country because of all of the rivaling forces to God’s kingdom. So why do we pay attention to bad sources from bad actors instead of God?
3) Our own contributing exile factors: One reason for our exile is based upon how we have contributed to it. As someone (Ed Young) put it “Every decision we make is based on a world view that reflects our understanding of reality”. (Ed Young. Been There. Done That. Now What?. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1994, p. 148). Do we not cause most of our own problems when we have not followed God? In Philippians 1:6 Paul said “I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ” (NRSV). Don’t we have to walk with God to get there----to those completed plans? Didn’t the children of Israel have to walk with God to get to the promised land?