Summary: What can we do in order to allow God’s new things to "burst forth" in our life?
Iliff and Saltillo UM Churches
5th Sunday of Lent
March 28, 2004
“When Spring Bursts Forth”
INTRODUCTION: The faith and hope of God’s people was at such a low point during their Babylonian captivity that they constantly needed assurance that things would eventually turn around for them. Throughout the book of Isaiah these assurances are often repeated over and over again using different word pictures to describe God’s love for them. Going back to the beginning of the chapter, the Lord spoke to His people by saying, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire you will not be burned...for I am the Lord, YOUR God” (verses 1,2). In many ways he assures them that He will find a way to break the power of the oppressors over them. They had a hard time believing it.
In today’s section of scripture he uses different word pictures to reassure them that changes are about to take place.
On this fifth Sunday of Lent, let’s see what we can get out of this scripture that will help us move forward in our walk with the Lord.
` 1. Looking to the Past: Isaiah reminds the people of the great things God did for their forefathers when He brought them out of Egypt. He is saying, “He will make it His business to do it again for you.” He is the Holy One of Israel and He is able to do it. Although this generation was in a different situation, the Lord could make a way in the wildernesses well as a way through the Red Sea. The same power of God that can make a way through the sea can make a way in our wilderness as well. Sometimes we are able to believe that God can do SOME things but that He CAN’T or WON’T do other things in our lives. We think, “I don’t see how he can possibly do this because it is a problem of long standing. I can’t SEE HOW it can work out. It is important for us to look to the past to see that God was able in similar circumstances to handle the big problems as well as the small ones. To realize that He can handle the impossible situations as well as the easy ones. His Word is true and he knows how to handle your troubles. Take a look at some of the previous problems you faced in your life. You thought you would never get out of your “Egypt,” or your “Babylon”--but God made a way. He has all authority to make good on His promises. You can see that He kept His promises to you.
STORY: A man was taking a drive in the country when his car suddenly stopped running. He had coasted to the side of the road and lifted the hood when an old horse came trotting by. The horse never slowed down. Looking at the man he said, “Better check the gasoline.”
The man was shocked by this and ran to the nearest farmhouse and knocked on the door. When the farmer opened the door the man frantically explained what had happened.
“Was this a horse with a floppy ear?” asked the farmer.
“Yes, yes, that’s the one.”
“Oh, well,” the farmer drawled, “don’t believe everything he says; he doesn’t know the first thing about cars.”
When God speaks we can believe it.
2. Forgetting the Past: Sometimes we forget things so easily while at other times we hang on to things far too long.
STORY: You will forget it
An elderly couple was having problems remembering things, so they decided to go to their doctor to get checked out to make sure nothing was wrong with them. When they arrived at the doctor’s, they explained to the doctor about the problems they were having with their memory.
After checking the couple out, the doctor tells them that they were physically okay but might want to start writing things down and make notes to help them remember things. The couple thanked the doctor and left.
Later that night while watching TV, the old man got up from his chair and his wife asks, "Where are you going?"
He replies, "To the kitchen."
She asks, "Will you get me a bowl of ice cream?"
He replies, "Sure."
She then asks him, "Don’t you think you should write it down so you can remember it?"
He says, "No, I can remember that."
She then says, "Well, I also would like some strawberries on top. You had better write that down cause I know you’ll forget that."