Summary: A challenge to the church in stagnation and/or decline.
"How Long O Lord"
August 25, 2002
Isaiah 6: 8-11
And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" Then I said, "Here am I! Send me." And he said, "Go, and say to this people: ‘Hear and hear, but do not understand; see and see, but do not perceive.’ Make the heart of this people fat, and their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed." Then I said, "How long, O Lord?" Isaiah 6:8-11, RSV
Introduction: Dreams-dream as a child
dream that fell through
Fears, discouragements, doubts
Dream which fell through for 135
Dreamt of a good family, good place to worship
Prophet was to bring people back to God
A revealer-to open peoples eyes to the situation/ reality of their disobedience and the consequences thereof
Awareness is to lead to repentance
Isaiah was to blind the people
Our world is hungry-we are closing their eyes, ears; hardening their hearts
1. By being stuck in the glory of the mountain top
Moses had to go down; called to be a leader
2. By not having the joy of the Lord; not expressing our praise
Ill-winning the Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes
Isaiah 32:12-14 "Beat upon your breasts for the pleasant fields, for the fruitful vine, for the soil of my people growing up in thorns and briers; yea, for all the joyous houses in the joyful city. For the palace will be forsaken, the populous city deserted; the hill and the watchtower will become dens for ever, a joy of wild asses, a pasture of flocks; . . ." (RSV)
Result of closed eyes, stopped ears, hardened hearts = desolation, state of ruin
We are like that
What are we going to do?- scratching our heads
How long O Lord?
Isaiah 32:15 "until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is deemed a forest." (RSV)
Isaiah 32:16 "Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness abide in the fruitful field." (RSV)
Justice -equality across the board
-Paul breaks down in Galatians 5:22-23
Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-Control
To see our church grow again, whether here or elsewhere, we need the Spirit poured out upon us. [Psalm 127:1] That means in us and through us.
Isaiah 35 "The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the LORD, the majesty of our God. Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are of a fearful heart, "Be strong, fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you." Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing for joy. For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp, the grass shall become reeds and rushes. And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Holy Way; the unclean shall not pass over it, and fools shall not err therein. No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there. And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion [that place that had become a desolation; a desolation renewed by the Spirit of the Living God] with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away." (RSV)