What No Eye Has Seen… An Advent Sermon on Isaiah 64:1-9
Do You See What Scripture Sees?
Week 1: What no Eye Has Seen
† Jesus, Son and Savior †
Do you see?
It used to be that we knew that Advent Started on the fourth Sunday before Christmas. There is now another way to know when Advent starts. It starts the Sunday after Black Friday. You know, the day when some people are out there, looking for things to buy other people for Christmas, while buying themselves a new television?
But Advent has started, our march towards Christmas, and towards eternity. As we journey looking towards Christ second return, as we relive what the people were feeling as they were waiting for Jesus.
For while scripture describes both Jesus’ incarnation and His second coming, while it sees it in vivid detail, we have about as much of a clue as the shepherds who were told by a million angels what was true then.
The Incarnation has happened! God is here to rescue His people!
uh…the baby in the feeding trough? It is going to save us?
yeah…. And wait until you see how!
and to us, wait until you see what those who wrote scripture described as coming!
What we want to see?
What I want to see is what Isaiah called for in the beginning of the Old Testament reading.
Here is the way it is translated,
Oh, that you would burst from the heavens and come down! How the mountains would quake in your presence! 2 As fire causes wood to burn and water to boil, your coming would make the nations tremble. Then your enemies would learn the reason for your fame! 3 When you came down long ago, you did awesome deeds beyond our highest expectations.
Here is how I would translate it…
Lord, we need you! Rip open the sky and come down! Show all Your Creation Your power! Show them, like you showed the people who mocked Noah, and the Egyptians at the Red Sea, and the 60,000 Midianites who got slaughtered by 300 of Gideon’s men. We need you now Lord, what are you waiting for?
Oh how I want God to come back and show His power, just as Isaiah asked, just as Paul foretold when he wrote to the church in Thessalonica.
16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a mighty shout and with the soul-stirring cry of the archangel and the great trumpet-call of God. And the believers who are dead will be the first to rise to meet the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:16 (TLB)
There is, of course, one problem with God showing up right this second.
Isaiah noted that problem as well,
But you have been very angry with us, for we are not godly. We are constant sinners; how can people like us be saved? 6 We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind. 7 Yet no one calls on your name or pleads with you for mercy
I want to make sure you realize that Isaiah didn’t say “you were angry with me”. He didn’t treat sin as if it was okay that he was okay with God while the rest of the people weren’t. Their sin stained him, his sin stained them.
It may not seem fair, but the evidence of our sin is that we live among sinners. To put it bluntly, that we haven’t helped others deal with sin is sinful in itself. If you don’t believe me, look at what Ezekiel says, 18 If I warn the wicked, saying, ‘You are under the penalty of death,’ but you fail to deliver the warning, they will die in their sins. And I will hold you responsible for their deaths.
Ezekiel 3:18 (NLT2)
We have sinned, and most of us don’t plead for mercy, calling on God to provide what only He can…for all of us…
Rather than feeling guilt about what you cannot change about the past, and about those who you need to help by warning them, I would call you back to something said in Isaiah…. To make sure you have the full picture.
4 For since the world began, no ear has heard, and no eye has seen a God like you, who works for those who wait for him!
In the midst of the brokenness, we wait for Him! There is the answer. To keep looking expectantly to wait for God to rip open those skies, and to realize something else.8 And yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand. 9 Don’t be so angry with us, LORD. Please don’t remember our sins forever. Look at us, we pray, and see that we are all your people. Note that it says “us” here again.
Don’t be so angry with us… look at us… and see we are all your people….
It takes a lot to pray that kind of prayer. To realize that God is at work, and that we can stop trying to re-create ourselves, we can stop trying to pretend we are someone we aren’t, and admit we need God to rip the heavens open and save us, all of us.
He did once, and laid in a manger, and slept with a rock or boat’s nets for pillows. And was beaten, and hung on a cross, and died for us… that WE could live with Him. And Jesus will rip the skies open again, and what happens for those who are waiting for Him, will be beyond anything we can imagine… anything we have seen, anything we have ever heard, for will see a God like you, face to face.
And until that time, our hearts and minds will be protected by Jesus, as we dwell in a peace that gods beyond all comprehension.