Overwhelmed by Joy! A sermon on Isaiah 61-62
Overwhelmed by Joy!
† Jesus Son & Savior †
As we begin this year, may the grace of God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ overwhelm you, leaving you noticeably at rest and full of joy!
Standing in the wings
Isaiah, the prophet gives an incredible description of the new beginning we have in Christ in today’s Old Testament. It takes most of back a decade or two or five.
Back to when us guys were standing in churches, or chapels, and waiting for the doors to open. Back when you ladies were on the other side of those doors, in that moment of anticipation, in that moment of joy.
That’s what Isaiah starts the passage with, as he attempts to describe the joy he feels, as he catches a vision of the restoration of the people of God. Hear it again,
10 I am overwhelmed with joy in the LORD my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom in his wedding suit or a bride with her jewels.
All dressed up – and waiting, but what clothes! Salvation and Righteousness!
And Isaiah saw this coming – and the joy was overwhelming!
As we start this new year, this is what we need to realize, that our lives have changed, and changing as much as a young couples lives change, as the bride and groom see each other on their wedding day….
We’ll get back to that in a moment…
The prayer – for the new beginning
We need to understand that Isaiah is one of the prophets whose writings are filled with lament. With the words that people will hear, because they continually choose sin over God. They are self-centered, and ignore those in need, which Isaiah mourns over, even as he warns them what they are heading for, if they continue.
In between the woes, and the promises of judgment, there brief views of hope. He will talk about a virgin who would conceive, and the baby who would be the wonderful counselor, eternal Father, the prince of peace. He would mention the one who pleased God by taking on himself all the wrath of God, thus giving life to those crushed by their own sin.
But overall, the book is challenging to read, Lots of what we might call hell fire and brimstone. But then, sin is a serious issue, and it took a serious cross to cure and heal the damage done to sinners.
But you see God’s heart reflected in Isaiah’s prayer
Because I love Zion, I will not keep still. Because my heart yearns for Jerusalem, I cannot remain silent. I will not stop praying for her until her righteousness shines like the dawn, and her salvation blazes like a burning torch.
Even as the prophet has his moments, okay, more than moments, years of struggling to get them to listen to God, he has a desire for them to come into the relationship they were meant to be in.
God’s desire infused the heart of Isaiah, and even as he weeps over their disobedience, he longs for the change that God has promised.
He has to pray, and will pray until they are right with God, so right they shine like the sun rising, and the proof of God’s delivering them lights up the darkness like bonfire.
This is what the prophet longs for, and what causes incredible joy, as he looks to the future, and gets a hint of what Jesus, the one born of a virgin, the suffering servant whose wounds would provide our healing, when Isaiah realizes the work of Christ!
Even as it was His hope, it is ours as well, and we are so much closer to realizing it fulfilled.
We like Isaiah are dressed, and waiting for the doors to open, to see the promise come into its fullness.
The clothes and the name.
When I mentioned the joy of Isaiah being such that he compared it to a groom standing here, or a bride back at the door, all dressed up in their clothing of salvation and the robe of righteousness, I didn’t explain the depth of those words.
The clothing is that of the greatest finery – the same words are used for the special robes of a priest on the highest of holy days. As is the robe – we aren’t talking about a bath robe or choir robe, we are talking about the covering of a king… and the types of garments aren’t even the best thing!
The clothing of salvation – that is in Hebrew the being clothed with Yeshua – being clothed with Jesus! The very thing Paul will talk about, as we are united to Jesus – as we put Him on,
Which explains how our robes are righteousness – the purity and innocence of one who does not know sin at all.
This is what Isaiah saw as our future, this moment of pure joy, pure bliss, as the people of God are made so righteous that the world is amazed, because we will share in the glory of God, as He holds out for all to see.
This moment as God makes you His, this special moment that Isaiah prayed and prayed and prayed for, that the people of Israel and all the nations would come to know…
The moment we were united to Christ, it is already here, it happened at the cross.
In the beginning of the sermon, I mentioned waiting here as a groom would, or there, as a bride would, that is what Isaiah saw – but for us, we’ve come to that point where the pastor announces our name for the first time, for we have be claimed by Christ at this font, and again at this altar.
We are his, and though we can’t quite believe it has happened, it has, and the rest of life is the walk down the aisle, dwelling with Him in holiness, until we go out into eternity.
The thought of this occurring caused Isaiah great joy, so much so He was overwhelmed,
How much more can this overwhelm us, who don’t see it far off, but know it true now.
How much more can it affect our very lives, this incredible gift of God.
May we sing His praises, now and forever! AMEN