Rejoice in What God Creates
Sunday, March 3, 2019
Isaiah 65 & 66
17 "Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. 18 But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy.
19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more. (NIV)
As I first read this passage I thought of a future world that God is going to create for us. I believe this is a correct way to view this passage. God is preparing a place for us to live with Him forever. We think of it as Heaven. I like to think about heaven. A place of perfect peace and order. All will perfectly follow His will and will love Him with all our hearts. Are you looking forward to this future benefit God is going to provide for us?
Our weeping and crying will be no more. What a great thing to look forward to. This is such a great place that God is preparing for His people that He says He will rejoice over it and will ‘take delight in my people.’ God will delight in us who share the new heaven and new earth with Him.
Pick up reading in the last chapter of Isaiah, chapter 66:
This is what the Lord says: "Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be?
2 Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?" declares the Lord.
"This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word. (NIV)
Jerusalem, at the point Isaiah was writing was either already taken into Babylonian captivity or were on the verge of being so delivered.
The Jews put a lot of stock in the fact that they had the temple of God with them. God’s dwelling place on earth was their inheritance. God’s message to them was that He was too big for any building to contain Him.
All of Heaven cannot contain God. What can mankind build as a proper dwelling place for God? He does not want us to think so much about our place of worship, as about who we worship.
Who does God esteem? Those who are humble and contrite. This is not the first time Isaiah has expressed this truth, but here at the end of his preaching he reminds us of what God is looking for in His people, of what He is looking for in us.
He calls us to be humble and contrite, to tremble at His Word.
Humility does not come easy for anyone. One of the problems with humility is that we are sometimes proud of being so humble. Pride creeps in on the shirttail of humility.
Contrite is a word we may not be as familiar with.
Merriam-Webster defines it as “feeling or showing sorrow and remorse for a sin or shortcoming”
A central part of our relationship with God involves Him pointing out our shortcomings. His Spirit convicts us of our failures, our sins. We either listen to Him or we choose to ignore Him. If we listen, we feel remorse and we seek to change our attitude and/or our behavior. This is what it means to be contrite.
Our enemy, would have us believe that this means God is rejecting us. This is the enemy’s favorite lie to us. “God doesn’t love me because I failed Him” is the message we hear from the enemy. Reject it. This is not true.
God loves us and paid the debt for our sin. He was not surprised by our sin. He knew and He loves us anyway.
We need to tremble when we become aware that we are not living according to God’s plan and purpose for us. BUT we must not believe that He rejects us. He loves us. He is helping us to change if we will humbly accept the chastisement and move closer to Him, not further away from Him.
“These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, who tremble at my word.” These are God’s words to us.
The new heaven and the new earth are for those who God looks on with favor. Prepare to meet Him there.
There is a sense in which the new heaven and new earth are being prepared for us now. And there is the sense that we are being prepared for this new heaven and new earth.
Pick up reading further in Isaiah 66:
12 For this is what the Lord says: "I will extend peace to her like a river, and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream; you will nurse and be carried on her arm and dandled on her knees.
13 As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem." 14 When you see this, your heart will rejoice and you will flourish like grass; the hand of the Lord will be made known to his servants, but his fury will be shown to his foes. (NIV)
For the Jews of Isaiah’s time, they needed to be comforted because their home was being destroyed. The place they associated with the worship of their God was taken away from them. God comforted them as He comforts us.
God’s people tremble at His word. We rightfully are humbled and contrite when God points out to us the wrongs we have committed. However, we are not to be destroyed by this chastisement. We are His children. He loves us.
There are those who refuse to submit to Him who will face eternal separation from the Creator. They have rejected Him and refuse to listen to Him, they refuse to submit to His authority as Lord of lords and King of kings.
God helped the Jews to experience His chastisement, and they were carried into captivity. God allowed this to teach them to trust Him, because they had not listened to Him in the past. He was teaching them to trust and obey.
In the same way, He teaches us to obey by allowing us to suffer the consequences of our sin. He does not want to totally destroy us. We must surrender to Him and choose to love Him and accept His Love and His Lordship.
As we read the book of Isaiah, we see over and over the pairing of God’s Love for His people and usually in the same breath, His rejection of those who reject Him.
God insists on our acceptance of His Lordship. We must choose to obey Him. We must choose to seek Him. We must love Him enough to obey Him.
The writer of Proverbs tells us to: “Trust in the Lord with all our heart, and lean not on our own understanding, in all our ways submit to Him and He will direct our path.”
Trust God to love you and trust God to lead you. Number one God loves you. Number two, He is your Lord.
As I leave to go to another place of service in His kingdom, I say to you what I have been telling you the whole time I have been here. Trust God.
We are righteous when we are walking in fellowship with the Master.
A disciple is one who learns from and follows his Teacher.
The church is called to make disciples. We do so by, first of all, being disciples ourselves and secondly by calling others to follow Him as well.
Our Lord Jesus has gone before us to prepare a place for us to spend eternity with Him. The new Heaven and new Earth await those who are humble and contrite, as Isaiah put it. These are they on whom God looks with favor.
Have you joined this crowd? Are you calling others to join us? This is what church is about.
Thank you for loving me. Thank you for taking care of me over the past, almost, six years. You will always hold a special place in my heart.
Seek Him, trust Him, Love Him, and you will not go wrong. Rejoice in what He has created for you. Go into the future with Him.