Summary: 16% of Americans think of God as being critical and uncaring. Another 25% believe Him to be distant and unwilling to intercede in human affairs. But how does this contrast with the message of Isaiah?
In November of 1988 a 19 yr old woman fell asleep behind the wheel of her car at about 2:15 in the morning. Her car plunged thru a guardrail and was dangling by its left rear tire.
A half dozen passing motorists stopped, grabbed some ropes from one of their vehicles tied the ropes to the back of her car, & hung on until fire units arrived. A ladder was extended from below to help stabilize the car while firefighters tied the vehicle to tow trucks with cables and chains.
One of the rescuers later said “Every time we would move the car, she would yell and scream. She was in terrible pain.”
For nearly 2 ½ hours police officers, tow truck drivers, firefighters and passers-by (about 25 people in all) – to secure the car and pull the woman to safety.
All through the episode, the woman kept repeated a phrase over and over to rescuers. She kept saying: “I’ll do it myself.’”
(November 20, 1988, the Los Angeles Times)
APPLY: This woman was in horrible pain.
She was pinned inside her car,
And she unable to change her circumstances
Or save herself from her danger
Ultimately, it took the efforts nearly 25 people to rescue her from potential death
And yet, she kept thinking she could solve the problem all by herself.
The Bible tells us that this has been the problem for mankind almost from the beginning. Mankind has been trapped by sin… and we continue to contend that we can fix the problem all by ourselves.
In the Garden Adam and Eve sin against God by eating of the tree.
And what was the first thing they noticed once they’d eaten of the fruit? They were naked.
So what did they do to cover their nakedness?
They sewed together fig leaves for garments. But these clothes must have been kind of breezy because when God comes calling - they hide.
Why did they hide? Adam says it was because they were naked.
Their home-made clothing couldn’t quite get the job done.
So God had to fix the problem.
It says in Genesis 3:21
“The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.”
He covered their nakedness
He helped them deal with the results of sinfulness
Now, here in Isaiah 59 we’re told about the trap that we find ourselves in.
We’re been trapped by our sins
We’re ensnared by our past.
Paul wrote to Titus: “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.” Titus 3:3
LOOK at Isaiah 59:10 "Like the blind we grope along the wall, feeling our way like men without eyes. At midday we stumble as if it were twilight; among the strong, we are like the dead."
Then in vs. 12: “For our offenses are many in your sight, and our sins testify against us.
Our offenses are ever with us, and we acknowledge our iniquities”
And then in vs. 15: "Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey…”
You can’t get away from the difficulties that sin brings on us. Even when you SHUN evil… you become a prey.
Now, a lot of people TRY to get by by pretending that their sin doesn’t exist.
As Mark Twain once said: “Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side, which he never shows to anybody.”
Some people DO succeed (for awhile) in covering up that dark side.
ILLUS: Recently, the Governor of New York - Eliot Spitzer - went on TV admitting he had hired prostitutes for 1000s of dollars, and eventually was forced to resign.
Why did he think he could get away with that kind of behavior?
Why did he believe he could get away with it?
How did he think he’d ever be able to cover his sin?
Well, he was a powerful man.
He was wealthy and influential.
And he thought he’d done a good job of covering his tracks.
Just like Adam and Eve in the garden he thought he could hide his sin. He thought his home-made garments could cover his nakedness.
But it didn’t work for him.
And it won’t work for anyone else.
As Numbers 32:23warns us "… you may be sure that your sin will find you out.”
You can only hide your past for so long.
You can only cover your shame for a period of time.
Because eventually it will come to light.
As Isaiah 59:12 says: “For our offenses are many in your sight, and our sins testify against us.”
I don’t care who you are.
There are those times when you’re in the shower… or laying in bed… or driving along in your car. And all of a sudden – unbidden – the memory of some past action, or word, or thought will come into your mind. It will be something that you’ve regretted, but it will come and visit you time after time after time. And you’ll find yourself cringing - hating yourself.