Saturday, June 6, 2009

getting ready to preach

I was preparing for this week's message - "Seeing God, Confessing God, Sharing God" from Isaiah 6:1-8 and found that I had more thoughts that could ever fit into one sermon. They shouldn't go to waste. It is, after all, Trinity Sunday. Time to confess God.

There are those who say that God doesn't exist or if He does, He is impotent, unable to act, unable to do anything about that which takes place in this world today. As I listened to the Spirit speak to my heart (like He did to Isaiah, though in no way do I place myself in the same light and line of Isaiah. He truly was a man of God, a prophet of the Most High. Me, I am a parish pastor. Will always be, as long as that is the will of the Lord.) Anyway, I listened to the Spirit. And I was lead to some words of Isaiah. Isaiah 5:18ff "Woe to thsoe who draw sin along with cords of deceit, and wickedness as with cart ropes, to those who say, 'Let God hurry, let him hasten his work so we may see it. Let it approach, let the plan of the Holy One of Israel come, so we may know it.'" (NIV)

All I can say is "Wow!" Bet they wished they had never uttered those words. They were standing there in their lives, thinking that they had the world by the tale. God can't act. He isn't going to do anything against us. He can't. We are too strong, too rich, too bright, too enlightened, too whatever you want to plug in at this point. We will outsmart Him. We will outlast Him. Sounds like today, doesn't it? Where is God? Look at what is happening. He is impotent. He is unable to act. Blah, blah, blah.

50 years later, Judah is gone. No more. God had warned them that He was acting. He had put into motion the direction that He wanted. The only thing that could stop it was - not them, not their actions, not their pleas, not their anguish - all that could stop it was the grace of God. And when the people refused the Spirit, refused the grace of God, Assyria and then Babylon was used by God to show them what they wanted. "Show us that you can act God!" they cried. He showed them. They cried out in fear and terror and were no more.

What about today? Are we much different? I don't think so. God calls to us through His Word. He calls to us through His modern day prophets (called pastors, preachers, men of God, whatever you want to call them). We yell out to God "Show us Your power!" Will He answer? Of course He will. I just pray that He doesn't answer like He did for Israel or Judah. I pray that we will listen to His call for repentance and faithfulness. I pray, oh do I pray, for the Spirit to touch our hearts and lives and save us from - ourselves.

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