That I may know how to…

That I May Know How..

Isaiah 50:4–10

 In His Name

 

May the gifts of God’s love, mercy and peace truly sustain you when you are weary!

The purpose of being taught –

         
There is one phrase in our Old Testament reading that I would like to focus on this morning, and I have to admit – it is quite convenient for a day when we dedicate our staff for the new year, and we have some of our children sing.

It is the first verse of our Old Testament, there on page 5.

The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary.”

I think if we as parents, could look ahead to see our children grown, and ready to retire from their careers, if this is a phrase that described their lives, we would be proud, and quite joyful.

If beyond what the world that counts as success, we knew they learned how to care for others; if they learned how to help others endure in life; if they learned how to care for others; how to love, then we would consider that we’ve done our job as parents and teachers and as a church well!

Think about It this way, if our children grew up to be the next Bill Gates, or Steven Spielberg, or even Tom Brady,  would it be worth it, if the cost was their alienating themselves from their families; if they had no their friends and they ended up rich and famous, and alone. Would we be as satisfied and content as if they spent their life helping those who couldn’t help themselves?

We have a challenge, in this God-given task of raising children, as parents. We also have a challenge, those as the people of this church and school, to come alongside parents to support and assist and encourage them in “training up” their children.

It is a God-given task, which in order to succeed, requires that we need to trust and rely on God.  For we have too accomplish in the midst of a world that would encourage them to aim for success, to look out for number one, to have it all, even though they cannot take it “all” with them.

When God teaches – we..

When Isaiah credits God for giving him the voice that speaks the words of comfort, he is crediting God for that which has trained him to be able to do so.  You see, the word there for taught is used for vocational training not just academic teaching.  He provides on the job training, not just schooling. Or to use our preschool’s language – God gives both an academic and developmental learning experience!

The next verse talks of how that training takes place – as God gets us to listen, to hear Him.  In Isaiah that is a constant topic, as repeatedly the people of God are described as those who don’t listen, who don’t see that which God says and shows them in life.  If only they did, they would not rebel, they would not get themselves into trouble, they would know peace, and their lives would not seem so broken.


In many ways, that is reflected in society today, where self-centeredness and the need for immediate gratification has made our world so dark, so narcissistic, so full of anxiety, and so little hope.  We are unwilling to learn why, or why there are consequences to actions, we just take them, and the consequences be… well you know what I mean.

 

A great example is seen in how Isaiah talks about being able to deal with opposition, with insults, with those that would distract us from what we’ve been trained to do.  In Isaiah’s day, that kind of opposition was very physical in the way it mocked and worked against those who would serve others.  Today it is more subtle, more sophisticated, but the world no more understands those who try to live a life that lovingly serves others, and call them to a life that is lived hearing God.

There is a great temptation, to defend ourselves, to engage in foolish verbal fights and arguments!  And often we are tempted to hit back when insulted, or when people judge us as fools, or condemn us for being “irrelevant” or out of touch.  It is interesting, no its critical that we understand that it is God’s grace – His gift that enables us to have the strength to endure that adversity, as we bring the message that gives comfort and strength to those who are weary.

Learn to trust and rely on God

 

The message of course, is the same message that causes us to endure hardship, mockery and ever condemnation.  For we learn, through experience, on the job, that it is God’s judgment we need to be concerned about, not that of others.  For when we bow to the pressure of others, we become distracted.  When we let the pressure and condemnation of the world affect us, we compromise, and eventually lose that faith which undergirds our message.

But when we listen to God, we find out there is no disgrace, no shame, for in His love and mercy, He has forgiven our sin and errors.  It is He that vindicates us, that will judge us in the end, and He has promised that those who trust in Him, those He’s roused and who listen and trust Him, to remove all that would cause guilt.  That is why we don’t have to fight – as St Paul says,

 

34 Who, then, will condemn them? Not Christ Jesus, who died, or rather, who was raised to life and is at the right side of God, pleading with him for us! Romans 8:31(TEV)
What happens if, in the midst of the learning, we find that we have defended ourselves, that we have treated others wrongly?  If we have confidence in God, if we have learned to rely on His strength, we know what we can do, we can go back to that person, and make it right, we can apologize for our error.

Why?  Because Jesus is our Model

When I started this message, I mentioned that if we want our children and the next generation to grow up well, to be the kind of people we are proud of, then the challenge is in our being the kind of people that model the faith and trust in God which develops us into such people.  That we are described in those words of Isaiah as well as they are.  Remember that line?

The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary.”

How do we find the strength for this?  How do we come to be able to sustain those, with a word, when they are weary – even if it is those who mock and attack us?

The key is realizing that while this passage encourages us, it is not about us, but about the one we are courage to imitate, to live like.  It’s about Jesus.

For He, when beaten and scorned didn’t fight back.  But instead trusted in the Father.  He sustained the weary with the “word”, He gave it all and then some, and listened to God the Father and never once rebelled.

Why?  To sustain us, to bring light into our dark lives, to give us hope.

Even at the cost of His life.   St Paul said it well…

5:8 But God has shown us how much he loves us—it was while we were still sinners that Christ died for us! 9 By his blood we are now put right with God; how much more, then, will we be saved by him from God’s anger! 10 We were God’s enemies, but he made us his friends through the death of his Son. Now that we are God’s friends, how much more will we be saved by Christ’s life! 11 But that is not all; we rejoice because of what God has done through our Lord Jesus Christ, who has now made us God’s friends.
Romans 5:8-11 (TEV)

It is in Christ, united with Him in our baptism, looking to His love and mercy demonstrated in our lives every day, and every time we approach this altar, that we see our example- even as the children will see our example.

He gave it all – he didn’t despite who hated Him, He listened to the Father and learned to love, He shared His life, and eternity, even though the cost was huge personally.

It is Jesus that Isaiah’s prophecy is about – the Jesus of whom Paul said, imitate me as I imitate Jesus Christ…. May we learn to do so, may we allow ourselves to be trained, so that we can say to these children, and many more – imitate us, as we imitate our Lord, our Savior, our Friend, Jesus.

As we do, as we experience His mercy and grace, we will find that a peace comes over us, the peace of God our Father, a peace unexplainable, in which our hearts and minds are guarded, in Christ Jesus.  AMEN!

About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God’s saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on September 16, 2012, in Sermons and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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