Summary: An answer to the question, "Why doesn’t God DO something?"
December 16, 2001
1Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, traveling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. 2Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat?
3I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. 4For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come.
5And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me.
6And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth. Isaiah 63:1-6 (KJV)
In light of the events of September 11th this year, we hear the question a lot –
Why doesn’t God DO something?
It’s a question many of us have asked. One interviewer asked that kind of question – How could God let something like that happen. I liked the answer given, "We have been politely reminding God for several decades to mind his own business in our country; God is simply complying with our request."
While the answer was well-timed, I don’t think it hits the target. Why doesn’t God do something? He is; He will. And He will do it when He’s ready.
The question and answer were good though – it often takes a good, cold-water-in-the-face kind of wake up call to make the point. After a worship service at First Baptist Church in Newcastle, Kentucky, a mother with a fidgety seven-year-old boy told the pastor how she finally got her son to sit still and listen. About halfway through the sermon she leaned over and whispered, “If you don’t be quiet, the pastor will lose his place and he’ll have to start all over again.” It worked!
When Isaiah wrote his prophecy, Edom stood for everything reprehensible to God. They were the enemy. When Isaiah then painted the picture of a warrior with red-stained clothing, he pictured for us the Lord’s fierce wrath, meeting-out judgment.
What does that have to do with Christmas, preacher? Christmas (as any season of worship) is a time for remembering. In a companion passage, Isaiah 53, we see the first coming of Jesus. He was meek and lowly then. We remember the babe in a manger. We remember the carpenter shop, the healings and feeding the multitudes. We recall the cross and then an empty tomb.
No stone in front of a tomb could hold the resurrection back. Nothing is going to hold back the second coming of the Lord either. So, as this Christmas season progresses, we do well to answer the question – each of us, personally, definitively, and worshipfully: Who Is this Jesus?
If Jesus is who He claimed to be, a correct answer is important, because he claimed to be God. We understand this from the Biblical record. The first time Jesus appeared to the disciples after the resurrection, Thomas was absent. When the disciples told him, he didn’t believe. But the next time…