Summary: When you are in a spiritual desert you dig deep be deciding to discover the grace of God.
Title: Parched People Dig Deep
Text: Isaiah 12
Thesis: When you are in a spiritual desert you dig deep by deciding to discover the grace of God.
Isaiah is not easy book… Isaiah in the Old Testament is the Apostle Paul of the New Testament.
It is heavily prophetic and points forward to the coming of the Messiah and the Kingdom of Christs.
Isaiah 9 foretells the coming of the Christ.
Isaiah 53 foretells the atoning work of Christ.
Isaiah 12 foretells the joy and thanksgiving in Christ’s kingdom. So our understanding of the text is something of what will be but is not yet. However, we who are devoted followers of Christ are presently living into what will be.
In Jules Vern’s Journey to the Center of the Earth an insane German scientist climbed down into the mouth of a volcano and to the earth’s core where he found a world of prehistoric dinosaurs, mastodons, giant humans and other creatures… scientists say that the core of the earth in reality is as hot as the surface of the sun. Had Otto Lidenbrock actually journeyed to the center of the earth he would have gone down to a depth of some 3,959 miles.
The closest anyone has ever come to the center of the earth was in 1970 when the Russians began boring what was called, the “Kola Superdeep Borehole.” They managed to drill down 7.5 miles.
The deepest hand dug well in the world was dug by Pakistani villagers who dug down 400 feet before they hit an aquifer. They say it takes a camel and a really long rope to draw the water up from the bottom of that well.
Literally, when people are thirsty they dig deep to reach water. Figuratively, when we find ourselves in a spiritual desert we find that we sometimes have to dig deep to experience the grace of God in the midst of our circumstances. The key verse lifted from Isaiah 12 is “With joy you will drink deeply from the well of salvation!” Isaiah 12:3
In our text today, when we dig deep in times of spiritual drought we discover the goodness of God expressed and experienced in several ways.
I. We find grace greater than our guilt.
In that day I will sing: “I will praise you, O Lord! You were angry with me, but not anymore. Now you comfort me. Isaiah 12:1
The Tension in this verse is between human guilt and God’s grace… our sinfulness and God’s forgiving grace.
In Confirmation Class our students learn that sin is all in thought, word, and deed that is contrary to the will of God. And that, “Anyone, then who knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, commits sin.” (James 4:17) We learn that the results of sin are broken relationships, a weakening of the ability to obey God, and finally, eternal separation from him. That well worn passage form Romans reminds us, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) Guilt is what results from sin. When we have a guilty conscience we know we have done something wrong and quite likely hurt someone in some way.
God’s grace, on the other hand, extends undeserved mercy and forgiveness.
Max Lucado tells about a Chinese man named Li Fuyan had tried every treatment imaginable to ease his throbbing headaches. Nothing helped. An X-ray finally revealed the culprit. A rusty four-inch knife blade had been lodged in his skull for four years. In an attack by a robber, Fuyan had suffered lacerations on the right side of his jaw. He didn't know the blade had broken off inside his head.
If we were to x-ray our souls, so to speak, what kinds of things might show up that we have broken off and buried in our lives? Regrets over broken relationships? Remorse over a really bad choice? Embarrassment about a marriage that didn’t last? Succumbing to seemingly irresistible temptations? Ill-spoken and hurtful words? That kind of stuff festers beneath the surface of the person who is living in a spiritual desert of guilt. (Max Lucado, Grace, Thomas Nelson, 2012, p. 94)
There is a great story about a little boy who killed his grandmother's pet duck. He accidentally hit the duck with a rock from his sling-shot. The boy didn't think anybody saw the foul (sorry!) deed, so he buried the duck in the backyard and didn't tell a soul.
Later, the boy found out that his sister had seen it all. And she now had the leverage of his secret and used it. Whenever it was the sister's turn to wash the dishes, take out the garbage, or wash the car, she would whisper in his ear, "Remember the duck." And then the little boy would do whatever his sister should have done.