150913 Isaiah 35:4

Last Updated on Monday, 14 September 2015 Written by Pastor Schmidt

Text: Isaiah 35:4

Theme: Trust the Lord Who Does Everything Well!

I want to begin this morning by telling you a story about a father and his son. But before I do, let me assure you that I am NOT the father, and NONE of my boys is the son who is mentioned in this story. The story goes like this: A father took his young son out and stood him on the railing of the back deck. He then went down, stood on the lawn, and encouraged his son to jump into his arms. "I'll catch you," the father said confidently. After a lot of coaxing, the little boy finally made the jump. When he did, the father stepped back and let the child fall to the ground. He then picked his son up, dusted him off, and dried his tears. "Let that be a lesson," he said sternly. "Don't ever trust anyone." Today you and I give thanks that our Lord in heaven is NOT like the father in this story. Yes, because we live in world ruined by sin, there are times when bad things do happen to us. From time to time, you and I fall off the railing of the back deck and we get hurt. But, the good news that we heard read a moment ago in our Gospel Lesson is that we have a Lord who "has done everything well." Today, God's Word calls out to you and me, and says, "Trust him!" Trust the Lord who does everything well! Listen now as I read one verse from the Old Testament reading for this weekend's worship. It is taken from chapter 35 of Isaiah's prophecy. From God's Word we read this in verse 4 of the chapter:

Say to those with fearful hearts, "Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you."

As a prophet for the Lord, Isaiah worked during a very difficult time in Israel. Most of God's once chosen people, by this time, had turned away from him. There was only a small group, a small percentage of people, who still trusted in the one and only true God. It is to these remaining believers that Isaiah writes, "Say to those with fearful hearts, 'Be strong, do not fear . . .'" As we take a closer look at this one verse from the Bible, notice first who it is that is speaking here. It is the Lord. It is the Lord whom the people can still trust. Here in Isaiah chapter 35 the loving Lord is speaking "to those with fearful hearts." More literally, they are the people with "hasty hearts" or "anxious heart". These are the people who were anxiously waiting for and were looking for the Lord to save them. The Lord's words of comfort to those who still trusted him are "Be strong, do not fear." Why could the remaining believers be strong and not fear? Because the Lord God says, "'your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.'" In his own time, and in his own way, the Lord would save those who were led to place their trust in him. This would happen on a day of "vengeance" and "divine retribution" upon those who didn't trust the Lord.

The word of God before us, which the Lord himself spoke and also led Isaiah to write, offered comfort to those who feared the coming judgments on the Children of Israel. Time after time, through his prophets, the Lord had warned his people that they would be carried away into exile because they had turned away from him. At this same time, the remaining group of believers could trust that one day they would return to the Promised Land.

While these words from the Savior-God brought peace to the remaining believers in Isaiah's day, they also pointed ahead to a far greater time; a time when the Lord Jesus would be walking on this earth. Jesus Christ is the one who came to this earth to save all mankind from their greatest enemy of sin. As he carried out his ministry, as a messenger of God's Word, Jesus did not hesitate to speak the Law of God; to speak of "vengeance" and "divine retribution". It was to the unbelieving Pharisees that Jesus often had to proclaim the Law, "You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?" However, to those who trusted in the One who does everything well, Jesus also spoke of his saving love. In John 6, we read the comforting words of the Savior, "For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day."

Trust the Lord who does everything well. Trust the Lord as he comes to you in his Word. Trust the Lord when he tells you that because of your sin and mine, that all you and I deserve is to suffer his "vengeance" and "divine retribution." Trust the Lord as you confess your sins to him. Trust the Lord that in love for you and me, the Lord Jesus did everything well. Trust the Lord that the price for your sins and mine was paid for in full through the blood of our one and only Savior. Trust the Lord who lived a perfect life in our place. Trust the Lord who offered up his perfect life on the cross for you and me. Trust the Lord that he rose from the dead and that his resurrection assures you and me of our place at his side in heaven. Trust the Lord as you come forward today and receive his personal guarantee that through the body and blood of our Savior, Jesus Christ, the Lord's "vengeance" is turned into "forgiveness" and his "divine retribution" is turned into "divine peace".

Trust the Lord who does everything well. At this point you may be thinking to yourself, "Wait a minute, Pastor! If the Lord does everything well, then why is life so difficult at times? Why is my marriage going through difficult times? Why is my family life all messed up? Why are things going so bad for me at work or at school right now? Why do my friends make fun of me and say hurtful things to me? Why do I get sick? Why does a love one die?" This verse from God's Word reminds us that the Lord who does everything well always has our eternal good in mind. This Word of God points ahead to the final judgment the Savior will carry out. For on the great Last Day, unbelievers will see the final and eternal day "vengeance" and "divine retribution" of the Lord as he throws them "into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." But to those who trust the Lord who does everything well, the Savior says, "Be strong, do not fear; your God will come." And when he comes again on Judgment Day he will say, "Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world." During those times when it seems you don't have anything or anyone to place your trust in, trust the Lord who does everything well!

It is in the hymn "I am Trusting You, Lord Jesus, that you and I sing these words:

I am trusting you, Lord Jesus, Trusting only you,
Trusting you for full salvation, Free and true.

I am trusting you for pardon; At your feet I bow,
For your grace and tender mercy Trusting now."

My dear Christian friends: Trust the Lord who promises you that he is watching over you day after day. Trust the Lord who took his perfect life to the cross and won for you the forgiveness of all of your sins. Trust the Lord whose empty tomb assures you of your place at his side in heaven. Trust the Lord who does everything well! Amen.

 

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