Summary: A sermon on how the LORD has to be the one who takes care of our redemption. It can’t be micro-managed by angels or men.
December 26, 2004 Isaiah 63:7-9
I will tell of the kindnesses of the LORD, the deeds for which he is to be praised, according to all the LORD has done for us - yes, the many good things he has done for the house of Israel, according to his compassion and many kindnesses. He said, "Surely they are my people, sons who will not be false to me"; and he became their Savior in all their distress. Not by messenger or angel - his own presence saved them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.
Have you ever had something like this happen?
Beep, beep beep - ring, ring. “Hello, yes, I need to talk to someone about getting a repair on my TV.”
“One moment, please.”
Several minutes later. “Hello?”
“Yes, I need to talk to someone about getting a repair on my TV.”
“What’s the matter with it?”
“The picture just went out.”
“One moment, please, I’ll have to forward you to repairs.”
“I thought I was talking to repairs.”
“You are sir, but you need to go to picture repairs.”
Several minutes later. “Hello?”
“Yes, I need to get my TV repaired.”
“What’s wrong with it?
“The picture went out.”
“What kind of a TV do you have?”
“I’ll have to forward you to projection TV repairs.”
So the story goes for the next fifteen minutes. There is nothing more frustrating than getting forwarded - especially when you’re trying to resolve an issue or a problem with something you’ve recently purchased. Inevitably you end up getting forward to the person who has the clout to DO something about your problem - if they ever diagnose what exactly your problem is. Most of the time it’s just a lot easier if you just put your foot down and say, “Can I talk to a manager, please?” Otherwise you just won’t get anywhere.
When it comes to our “problem” of sin and hell, this can’t be micro-managed or forwarded to fifteen different departments. It has to go straight to the top. In order to go straight to the top, to get to the “Manager”, we have to start out at the bottom - in a Manger. This Manager we are talking about was not someone who just luckily fell into the position because His Daddy did all the work. He was part of the Family, but He was also specially chosen and born to be at the top - to be the One to take care of our problem of sin. He started at the lowest position our world knows - as a baby. He was born in the filthiest place we could imagine - in a cattle stall. In spite of these “weaknesses”, this Baby became our Savior. On this first Sunday after Christmas we will see that -
The Manager is in the Manger
I. He has to do the work of salvation
This part of Isaiah seems to be a representative prayer of the people of Israel. The book of Isaiah is written during several different periods in their history. The first 39 chapters call down God’s judgment on the Israelites in preparation for the Babylonian Captivity. The last 27 chapters give comfort to a people who were then suffering the results of their sin. They would be in a 70 year captivity - without a temple - without a home - in a strange land far from home - called Babylon - as conquered slaves. At this point then - in the sixty third chapter of Isaiah, the people seem to be broken in spirit - realizing the effects of their sin. How would they survive? What would they do? They would need help - not from Assyria or Egypt - but Someone more powerful.
With this in mind, in the last part of this text, the Israelites remembered how they were delivered from impossible circumstances in the past. Not by messenger or angel - his own presence saved them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old. This is, undoubtedly, a reference back to the time of Moses. As he was about to lead the Israelites - approximately two million people - across the desert into the Promised Land - he had a conversation with the LORD on Mt. Sinai while receiving the Law. It went like this -
Exodus 33:12 Moses said to the LORD, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me.
Exodus 33:14-16 The LORD replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”