Walking Hand in Hand with God
Sunday, November 4, 2018
There are those in our world who have trouble believing in Jesus as God. They may believe that God exists and that He is indeed Creator of all things. They may have trouble believing that God has only spoken to us through the Bible and through His Son, Jesus, the Christ.
Many have not had the privilege of growing up in a church family who take for granted that God revealed Himself through a people He chose for that purpose.
Perhaps they believe that God reveals Himself to many in all parts of the world. I believe that too. I believe there are those to whom God has revealed Himself through nature and by His Spirit. I believe there have been people throughout history who had a relationship with God even though they never had a Bible but came to believe that God loved them and called them to walk in obedience to Him. They have put their faith in the Creator even though they did not have the advantage of God’s fuller revelation of Himself through His Word, the Bible, and the testimony of those who have believed the Bible to be God’s Word to mankind. I believe there is evidence of this in the Bible as well.
There are some who have had the advantage of having a Bible, but have refused to believe in the God as He is revealed there.
The Bible teaches us about the Creator who desires to have fellowship with humankind. From the first He sought us out. We, being enticed by an enemy, faltered in our trust of Him and disobeyed. And then He came after us.
I believe, from the foundation of the world, God intended to love us and offer us forgiveness for rejecting Him. He planned from the beginning to pay the price for our sin Himself. In doing so He has been true to His nature as both a Just and a Loving God.
He by His Word and by His Spirit teaches us to love and obey Him. He seeks us out when we fail Him and offers Grace and Forgiveness.
God’s Grace and Forgiveness fully satisfy His Love and Justice. This was fulfilled when He took on flesh and became a human being, taking our place on the Cross, shedding His own blood for the redemption of mankind, satisfying our debt to Him.
He still demands that we, to the best of our ability, seek to honor and glorify Him. He demands we serve Him as Lord. His Word and His Spirit lead us toward fulfilling this demand. We must choose to accept Him for who He is – Our Loving Lord!
He said, through His servant Isaiah,
“I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.
I am the Lord; that is my name!
I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols.” Isaiah 42:6-8
In verse 5, just before what I read, this Lord says He is the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out. There is no higher Lord!
The Creator will not yield His glory or His praise. If I understand this, God is saying He insists that we, His creation, give Him the honor and praise that is due Him. He demands this of us.
His name is LORD! He is worthy, not only to be worshipped, but to be obeyed. The Creator of All Things expects this of us, His Creation.
When Adam and Eve disobeyed the one command the Lord had given them they fell from grace. There was a separation between them and God. The felt that separation -- they hid themselves from Him.
Of course, being God, He knew where to find them and He asked them to confess their sin. They reluctantly admitted it although they each pointed their fingers at someone else. Just like kids, isn’t it?
God’s response was to deal with their shame by killing animals, shedding the first blood ever spilled to cover their nakedness. This points to the cross of Jesus Christ where His blood was shed for all mankind.
When we admit our guilt, God is faithful to forgive us. When we admit we disobeyed Him, He responds with Love and Grace.
He encourages us to get up and go again, learning and growing in our understanding of our relationship with Him. It was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. They did gain first hand knowledge of good and evil. Good is walking in fellowship with our Loving Lord. Evil is rebelling against Him and believing there is something better than knowing Him.
Evil is thinking we, of ourselves, without God, are good. We become judges and law makers and set our own rules to live by and expect everyone else to live by our rules as well.
But God wants us to walk with Him, all day, every day. This is good. Anything less is the opposite of good.
God said, “I will take hold of your hand.” He comes along side us. He loves us and walks with us as we learn to walk with Him.
He said, “I have called you in righteousness.” He calls us to live for His purpose, not our own. He calls us to be a light for others…
This passage in Isaiah is for us. God wants us, like Jesus, to lead people to accept His love and grace. He has called us to be light in this dark world. He promises to be with us, to take our hand and walk with us through life.
We are to be the Lord’s partners in winning the world, helping people to see the truth. They sit in darkness, in bondage to the enticements of the world. People need to see the love of God through us.
We are here to return to God what is rightfully His. Glory and honor are due Him. Praise and thanksgiving should be filling our lives and overflowing to pour out to others who need to know they are loved.
The first part of this chapter of Isaiah says:
1 "Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations. 2 He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets. 3 A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; 4 he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his law the islands will put their hope." (NIV)
Matthew believed this passage was fulfilled by Jesus. He quotes these verses in his gospel. It is in chapter 12 if you want to look it up.
Later in his gospel he quotes Jesus as telling his followers to make disciples of all nations. We are part of that process. We have a part in fulfilling the prophecies of Isaiah and the command of our Lord Jesus.
God takes our hand and promises to be with us. We are to love God. We love Him by giving Him what He deserves. We praise Him and thank Him for what He has done for us.
Friday evening at SYC the lead singer of the group Citizen Way encouraged our youth to tell their stories. He told them they did not have to memorize a lot of scriptures in order to give witness to the truth that God loves us and calls us to follow Him.
We are to tell people about the fulfillment of God’s plan through Jesus, the Christ. We have a story to tell to the nations. We can take the good news of Jesus Christ to the world.
Jesus claimed to be the Way, The Truth, and The Life. He is the way to God. He is the truth about God. He is the giver of life. In Him, we live and breathe and have our being.
God wants us to be part of His plan for the world. He will take our hand and He will lead us as we surrender our will to His. It is not enough to accept Him as Savior. We must accept Him as Lord. We must surrender to Him.
Do you know Him? Are you walking hand in hand with the Lord today?