Summary: We matter because we are God's... God created, formed, ransomed and claimed us as his own.
Title: We Matter
Text: Isaiah 43:1-7
Explain the parallelism in the lines of Hebrew Poetry… the first line makes an observation and the second line restates it in slightly different language. It serves as something of a double-whammy by making a point and then reinforcing that point.
It is like the old “There’s a Hole in My Bucket” children’s song.
There’s a hole in my bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza,
There’s a hole in my bucket, dear Liza, a hold. (And Liza sings back…)
Then mend it, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
Then mend it, dear Henry, dear Henry, mend it. (The song goes on and on and on in the same pattern.)
So see if you pick up on the pattern as we make our way through the text.
The message today is about God’s presence in our lives.
This is the 1st Sunday after Epiphany and is generally thought of as the Sunday we are reminded that one of the ways God has made Christ known is through his baptism. When John the Baptist baptized Jesus the Bible says that when Jesus came up out of the water the Holy Spirit descended upon him like a dove and God spoke from heaven saying, “This is my Son in whom I am pleased.” In our text today we are reminded that when we go through life, God makes himself known to us as we too pass through our own waters of baptism and through the deep waters of life.
The title of my talk today is…
Title: We Matter
Text: Isaiah 43:1-7
Thesis: We matter because we are God’s.
Setting/Background: The book of Isaiah is about Desolation and Consolation.
Desolation – The first 39 chapters of the Book of Isaiah are about God’s harsh judgment of his people. Isaiah 1 begins with a prophetic declaration: “My children I raised and cared for have rebelled against me… Oh what a sinful nation they are – loaded down with a burden of guilt. They are an evil people, corrupt children who have rejected the Lord. They have despised the Holy One of Israel.” And so Israel was punished and God’s people lived in exile from their homeland, Israel. Because of their disobedience they suffered the consequences and had given some time to think about it. In the section immediately preceding out text today God says of them, “Listen you who are deaf! Look and see, you blind! You see and recognize what is right but you refuse to act upon it. You hear with your ears but you do not really listen.” Isaiah 42:18-20 As a result they suffered the consequences for their behavior in Isaiah 42:21-25.
However, 39 chapters later God says they have suffered enough so he sends Isaiah to speak a new word to his Children. Chapter 40 begins, “Comfort, comfort my people. Speak tenderly to them. Tell them their sad days are gone and their sins have been pardoned.”
Consolation – So our text today continues with God reassuring his people of his love for them. It is a new word of consolation, “But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you…” Isaiah 43:1 The time of desolation is over and a time of consolation has come. God who judged them harshly for their behavior now reassures Israel of his love for them and tells them they matter to him.
A couple of weeks ago Will and I had breakfast together at Snooze… a self-described A.M. Eatery on the corner of 7th and Colorado in Denver. I think it is arguably among the best breakfast spots in the metro area… we did go there to eat but we also went there to talk.
I don’t know how we happened to be talking about how we were disciplined as children but Will told about how once after having been disciplined by his father for lying, Will was standing there crying and his dad said, “Now come here and give me a hug.”
That is something of what has happened in our text today. The people of God have experienced discipline for their disobedience and now God is reassuring them of his love. So while God’s people experienced a time of desolation they are now experiencing God’s loving consolation.
So in reflecting on their experience our text today gives us a teaching moment about the character of God and how much God cares about his children…
I. Because we belong to God, we are important to God. We matter! Whose we are, is as important as who we are!
Listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1