(Apologies for the poor sound quality. For some reason this has not recorded well this morning.)
Date: 24 July, 2016
Text: Isaiah 40
Title: Behold Your God Tutorial
Theme: A lesson on God to help those who are overwhelmed by life.
Proposition: We all need to be reminded of WHO GOD IS.
Rhetorical: Are you seeing God as HE really is or are you missing the blessing of beholding Him.
PETER'S WALK ON WATER -
22 ¶ And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away.
23 And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.
24 But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.
25 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.
26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.
27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
32 And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.
33 Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.
exp. INCREDIBLE! Peter had no problem stepping onto something that was unstable AS LONG AS HE KEPT HIS EYES ON HIS LORD. But, when he "saw the wind boisterous" - taking His eyes off of Jesus - his faith faltered and he started to sink. I love the fact that Jesus grabbed his hand and walked back with him into the boat.
THERE ARE TIMES IN LIFE WHERE THE PROBLEM IS NOT OUR CIRCUMSTANCES - IT IS THAT OUR FAITH IS FALTERING BECAUSE WE HAVE TAKEN OUR EYES OFF OF OUR GOD.
Our text this morning is just a GREAT OLD PREACHER helping God's people to get their eyes back on God.
I want to look at this passage as a tutorial class taught by Isaiah. This class could rightly be titled, Behold Your God 101. The Jews needed to get their eyes back on God and Isaiah was going to focus this class upon Him.
Isaiah will remind us that - We need to look at God and keep looking. How is your focus today? Are you looking around at the problems and overwhelmed - beginning to sink? Or is there stability in your life because YOU ARE FOCUSED UPON GOD?
9 ¶ O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!
ISAIAH LESSON IS VERY BASIC - BEHOLD YOUR GOD HE IS...
1). The Ruler of All.
10 Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.
exp. This coincides with our study of revelation - We studied Revelation 12 on Thursday night and saw that Jesus will rule "All nations with a rod of Iron." That phrase is found several times in God's Word and that same prophecy is recorded right here.
quote: Wall Street Journal - 22 July.
When Russian aircraft bombed a remote garrison in southeastern Syria last month, alarm bells sounded at the Pentagon and the Ministry of Defense in London.
The Russians weren’t bombarding a run-of-the-mill rebel outpost, according to U.S. officials. Their target was a secret base of operations for elite American and British forces. In fact, a contingent of about 20 British special forces had pulled out of the garrison 24 hours earlier. British officials declined to comment.
U.S. military and intelligence officials say the previously unreported close call for Western forces on June 16, and a subsequent Russian strike on a site linked to the Central Intelligence Agency, were part of a campaign by Moscow to pressure the Obama administration to agree to closer cooperation in the skies over Syria.
The risk that U.S. and British forces could have been killed at the border garrison hardened opposition at the Pentagon and the CIA to accommodating the Russians. But White House and State Department officials, wary of an escalation in U.S. military involvement in Syria, decided to pursue a compromise.
exp. We don't know what wars will happen in our lifetime. We are most certainly living in the last days. The return of Jesus is SOON!
app. We are going to hear of wars and may see wars in our lifetime. But, the ruler of All is God. He's not in Heaven worried about earthly conflicts.
2.) The Good Shepherd.
A. He will feed his sheep.
11 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd:
B. He will watch over the young.
he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom,
C. He will watch over their parents as well.
and shall gently lead those that are with young.
exp. Don't you love this picture of God's care FOR US? He loves his sheep and wants to draw them to Himeself!
Luke 15:4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?
5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.
7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.
app. God is not impersonal today. He's not distant. He is here and He desires to meet your need. You can trust the GOOD SHEPHERD to meet your every need - DON'T STRAY FROM HIS LOVING CARE. Don't make Him seek you still. He wants to meet your needs today!
3.) The Almighty Creator.
A. The palm of his hands hold incredible seas.
12 ¶ Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand,
exp. 71 percent of the earths surface is covered by water.
B. The span of his hand holds the vast universe.
and meted out heaven with the span,
Hubble telescope they say shows images that are 13.2 billion light years away.
Traveling at a speed of 186,000 miles per second for 13.2 billion years.
exp. And God holds that in the span of His hand.
question: Are you still worried about your little problems?
ill. I love going up in an airplane and looking down on the earth. Cars and people get small very quickly. I think of the verse....
Ps 144:3 LORD, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him! or the son of man, that thou makest account of him!
app. God is the Almighty creator that put out the heavens with his hand. Is it any wonder that "He can do all things and that there is nothing to hard for Him?"
C. He deals with the earth's balance as nothing.
and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?
ill. Can you imagine how many grains of sand are in our world?
Ge 32:12 And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.
ill. Being at Yellow Craigs near North Berwick - seeing the islands and looking up towards bass rock and thinking, God made that. Man couldn't make something so incredibly beautiful and natural. Arthurs Seat is even more majestic - the three sisters, Ben Nevis, The Rocky Mountains of North America, Mount Everest.
exp. Isaiah reminds us - Those glorious beaches, deserts, mountains, were very simple creations to God.
app. How big is your problem when the God of all Creation is on your side?
4.) The All Wise One
13 Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counsellor hath taught him?
14 With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding?
exp. You and I go to school. We need education.
ill. I didn't want higher education - I would have been happy to be done after high school, but my parents sent me to college. After college they encouraged me to grad school to get my Master's Degree. I liked the education, I wasn't as fond of the tests. I could say with Solomon
Ec 12:12 And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.
exp. Nobody tutored God. He was never instructed. The FACT OF INFORMATION IN OUR WORLD - IS A PROOF THAT GOD EXISTS.
1.) Who programmed DNA? 2.) Who established laws? 3.) Where did the intitutions of the family, government and church come from?
app. Are you frustrated with decisions? If you are saved, the all wise God is YOUR GOD? Jas 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
5.) The God of Immensity.
def. - Immensity is hugeness. When something is so large or numerous you can hardly believe it, it has the quality of immensity. Something enormous is immense, and the quality of being immense is immensity. This is a strong word for truly gigantic things and creatures.
ill. I have a beautiful amathyst geode that I found in Fife. If I believed that it was an immense Geode, I'd surely be disappointed to visit the national Museum and see the one they have on display that would make a very good coffin. You could stand inside it.
app. God is incomparably huge! If you think you understand how big He is - think again.
15 Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing.
16 And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt offering.
app. If you took the forests of lebanon with all it's beasts and offered them as a sacrifice to God - IT IS TOO SMALL TO REALLY BE WORTHY OF SUCH AN IMMENSE GOD.
transition: ill. In a classroom setting after instruction on a subject, it is good to get feedback from the class to see if they were listening. Isaiah does that for us here.
NOTE: Isaiah is going to change his direction now slightly and make sure that the "class" is paying attention.
Questions to the class regarding God.
Question #1 Can you make something like God?
ill. Israel was often an idolatrous nation. They would turn from worshipping God to worshipping idols.
18 ¶ To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him?
19 The workman melteth a graven image, and the goldsmith spreadeth it over with gold, and casteth silver chains.
20 He that is so impoverished that he hath no oblation chooseth a tree that will not rot; he seeketh unto him a cunning workman to prepare a graven image, that shall not be moved.
exp. Can you make anything from gold or silver that is like God? If you are a poor person, will a tree that doesn't rot make SOMETHING LIKE GOD?
Ill. Isaiah is going to come back to these thoughts in Chapter 44 : 15 Then shall it be for a man to burn: for he will take thereof, and warm himself; yea, he kindleth it, and baketh bread; yea, he maketh a god, and worshippeth it; he maketh it a graven image, and falleth down thereto.
16 He burneth part thereof in the fire; with part thereof he eateth flesh; he roasteth roast, and is satisfied: yea, he warmeth himself, and saith, Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire:
17 And the residue thereof he maketh a god, even his graven image: he falleth down unto it, and worshippeth it, and prayeth unto it, and saith, Deliver me; for thou art my god.
18 They have not known nor understood: for he hath shut their eyes, that they cannot see; and their hearts, that they cannot understand.
19 And none considereth in his heart, neither is there knowledge nor understanding to say, I have burned part of it in the fire; yea, also I have baked bread upon the coals thereof; I have roasted flesh, and eaten it: and shall I make the residue thereof an abomination? shall I fall down to the stock of a tree?
20 He feedeth on ashes: a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand?
app. What are you bowing down to? Are you trusting in anything other than God - OR LIVING FOR ANYTHING OTHER THAN GOD? Idols are nothing. God is the one who can meet your needs and is worthy of worship.
Question #2 If you said, "yes," where have you been all your life?
21 Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth?
A. God is over mankind.
22 It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers;
B. God put all those stars into His Heaven.
that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:
C. The greatest earthly authority is nothing to God.
23 That bringeth the princes to nothing; he maketh the judges of the earth as vanity.
D. Man at his best is very temporary.
24 Yea, they shall not be planted; yea, they shall not be sown: yea, their stock shall not take root in the earth: and he shall also blow upon them, and they shall wither, and the whirlwind shall take them away as stubble.
app. Satan loves the lie of evolution because it has blinded mankind to their creator. We live in a generation that has their ears plugged and their eyes closed and they "have not known and have not hear, have not been told, have not understood!"
Question #3 Let's go back to question #1 - Do you really think you can make something equal to me?
25 To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One.
A. Look at the stars again.
26 Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number:
Genesis 1:16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
exp. It was nothing for God to make them and we can see them like no other generation with incredible telescopes and the HEAVENS DECLARE THE GLORY OF GOD!
Ps 19:1 « To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. » The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
1. I didn't just make them, I named them.
he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might,
ill. There are about 10 billion galaxies in the observable universe! The number of stars in a galaxy varies, but assuming an average of 100 billion stars per galaxy means that there are about 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (that's 1 billion trillion) stars in the observable universe!
2. I didn't just make them, I sustain them.
for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.
song: Trust God till the stars fall. Why? Because they won't fall - they are sustained by God.
app. Can you really make something like God - who not only put the stars into space but named each one.
Question #4 Since we have just looked at God - Why don't you trust Him to care for your needs?
27 ¶ Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the LORD, and my judgment is passed over from my God?
Exp. They felt like God wasn't aware of what was going on in their lives and that He wasn't acting on their behalf.
A. You can't possibly wear God out.
28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary?
exp. Have you gone to Him? Keep going. You can't overburden God and He will never tire while assisting you.
B. You can't find someone more aware of what is going on in your life?
there is no searching of his understanding.
app. Never say - no one understand. You can say what the song says, "No one understands like Jesus."
C. You can depend upon Him to give what HE HAS to you.
29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.
app. He loves to help those who understand THEIR NEED FOR HIS HELP.
2Co 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
D. Weariness is part of life - but those who go to God find AMAZING strength.
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
ill. Peter sank when he took His eyes off of the Saviour?
finall app. What are you looking at today? Are you beholding your God? Maybe this morning you just need to ask God's forgiveness for letting your focus get off of Him. Perhaps you need to come to Him for the first time and ask him to meet your need. Whatever your problem is this morning - God is greater. He can meet your need.
May God help us to BEHOLD OUR GOD!