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Sermon24-1 Is64 Guide

Isaiah 64:1-12, theme verse Isaiah 64:8

The praise and honor and glory be to our heavenly Father who seeks true worshipers who worship Him with the Spirit and truth.

Over the past few weeks, as we have looked at the rise and fall of Israel and the surrounding powers, we have come to realize that we humans are completely corrupt beings who are completely incapable of saving us on our own, while on the other hand, we have come to realize that we are completely incapable of saving ourselves through our own strength. We have seen that God is a God of love who can do everything, is good, and is faithful to the promises he has made. And in the end, this realization led us to realize that by letting go of the great burden of having to accomplish something and entrusting ourselves to God's grace, we can actually enjoy freedom. In today's text, Chapter 64 of Isaiah, there is also a prayer seeking God's grace, after realizing their sinfulness and inability once again. While reading and meditating on it, I hope we may learn few lessons together.

1) Prophet Isaiah, after watching as Northern Israel was destroyed by Assyria in 722 BC, helped King Hezekiah of Judah to repel the invasion of king Sennacherib of Assyria who invaded his homeland, Judah. He was known to be active for about 60 years during the reign of four kings of Judah: Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah and according to tradition, he was said to be martyred during the reign of King Manasseh. However, the book of Isaiah covers not only the period from 8th to 7th century BC when Isiah lived, but also (click) the period of the exile in the 6th century, (click) the period of post-exile in the 5th century BC, (click) even the period of the first coming of the Lord and the second coming of the Lord in the end.

2) The theme of this Book of Isaiah is that the Holy One of Israel challenges his people to live according to the righteousness required by God the LORD who dwells among them through the massive 66 chapters in length.Traditionally, it was believed that Isaiah wrote all the 66 chapters, yet, recent scholars suggests that chapters 1 to 39 were written by Isaiah against the backdrop of the 8th to 7th centuries BC, the chapters 40 to 55 which were written against the backdrop of the 6th century BC, and chapters 56 to 66 which were written the backdrop of the 5th century BC, were written by other authors.

3) Anyway, the book of Isaiah can be divided into five paragraphs, as you can see on the screen. Chapters 1 to 39, which correspond to the first to third paragraphs, are, as I mentioned earlier, has the historical background of the 8th to 7th century BC when southern Judah was also threatened by Assyria after northern Israel was destroyed by Assyria, and asked and answered in theological questions like “Who is God?”, “Who should God's people rely on?”, “How should they live?”, and “What is their role?” And “If Judah must be judged for his sins, what will be the future of David's kingdom?” So, Chapters 1-5 as the introduction, records the miserable present and future of God's people, who commited idolatry and moral corruption. And then in chapter 6, in response to God's calling "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Isaiah’s calling story was written, saying "Here I am; send me." And then in Chapters 7 through 39, after asking the people of Southern Judah, “Whom do you trust?”” Isaiah prophesied that if the people of Southern Judah continue to sin without relying on God, they will be judged with the prophecies about judgment on neighboring countries such as Assyria, Egypt, and Edom, etc.. And then in the fourth paragraph of chapters 40 to 55, it is said that God will judge Assyria, raise up Babylon, and judge Southern Judah, but God would provided His grace to deliver Southern Judah ultimately. And then Chapters 56 to 66, the last paragraph which includes today's text, describe how the people of Judah, who returned to Jerusalem by His grace, should live from then, and conclude with the hope for a new heaven and new earth that will come true at the end of the world.

4) However, in the prophesies in the book of Isaiah, there are prophesies about the immediate future, but also in fact, there are prophesied about the Messiah who will come 750 yeas later too. I mean, Isaiah 9:6 says that the Messiah as the Comforter, the Father, and God, he will be born into the family of Jesse and be of David's lineage in 11:1, and will be conceived and born of a virgin and his name will be 'Immanuel’, in 7:14. And the reason He came to this earth in human nature was to break the heavy yoke, the whip on their shoulders, and the stick of their oppressors, in 4:6. And, even in 9:1-2, it prophesied where he would primarily minister and in Chapters 11, 42, and 61, his public ministry are described in which he received the Spirit of the LORD to bring good news to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to bring freedom to the captives, and to restore the prisoners and He will proclaim the year of favor of the Lord and also the day of vengeance of our God. Meanwhile, even God invited all who are thirsty to come to the water and buy wine and milk without money and without price, as the invitation of the salvation, in 55:1-5, And, also prophesying His suffering and death in chapter 53, and His burial in chapter 53, and His resurrection in chapter 38, and even His second coming and judgment in chapters 40, 66, and 13. Therefore, the book of Isaiah is called the ‘Gospel of the Old Testament’ or the book of the ‘Messianic prophecy’.

5) However, the Book of Isaiah contains not only a prophecy about Messiah, Jesus Christ, but also includes a very accurate description of God the Father, I mean, Isaiah said God as the Creator (Isaiah 44:24, 45:12,18, 48:13, 43:7), the Almighty (Isaiah 14:24,27), and the Savior (Isaiah 43:3, 45:15, 47). :17, 33:22, 12:2~3) He forgives the sins of those who repent (Isaiah 1:18, 43:25~26). He is the only one true God (Isaiah 41:4, 43:10-13, 44:6,8,24, 45:5-7, 18,21-22, 46:9, 37:16,20), and his name is I am He” (refer to Isaiah 43:10,13, John 8:24,28), as “the first and the last” (Isaiah 41:4, 44:6, 48:12) and omnipresent One. (Isaiah 66:1).

6) In addition to that, the Book of Isaiah also accurately records who the Holy Spirit is (Isaiah 11:2, 61:1-2, 40:13-14). And in the end, it introduces a vision of God's throne (Isaiah 6:1-13, 60:19), the new heaven and new earth to come (Isaiah 65:17-19, 66:22), and a description of hell. (Isaiah 66:24, 33:14) and the kingdom of God, (Isaiah 11:6-9, 35:5-9, 65:25), and the resurrection of the dead (Isaiah 26:19), and Satan's fall (Isaiah 14:12) ~15), etc.. And also in includes the words of exhortations and answers to prayer (Isaiah 56:7, 58:9, 59:1-2). As such since it contains such an amazing revelation so that it can be said to be the best prophetic book among the Old Testament which contains such diverse theological content as the theological book of the Old Testament.

7) In particular, the Isaiah chapter 64 which we read together, contains the prayer of His people, first of all, after chapters 56 to 59 deal with man's inability to live in God's justice and love, and then: Chapters 60 to 62 introduce the LORD as God who can glorify them and make his servants a holy people. And finally, in chapters 63 to 66, after once again describing God as One who can save and bring justice to his people with great power, Isaiah prays that “The Lord, come down from the heaven, to carry out His work of salvation, while the mountains might quake and the nations will tremble before Him” “Yet, since You are our Father, and we are the clay, and You are the potter, please mercy on Your people.” And then in response to this prayer of chapter 64, Isaiah ends with the depiction of the kingdom of peace and obedience and thevision of New Jerusalem in the new heaven and new earth.

8) Through today's passage, we would like to learn few things. First, we would like to again think about who God is and who human beings are. In other words, according to verses 6 and 7 of today's text, Isaiah says, “We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf” so that he confessed that ”God have hidden His face from us and caused us to disappear like the wind.” And then continuing that since “You are the Father who created us. Be not so terribly angry to us and remember not iniquity forever.” That's right. Over the past few months, as we have observed the futility of human efforts to make our own judgments about good and evil and to achieve righteousness through our own efforts, since the first sin in Eden, we have been reminded of how corrupt we human beings have become and also we have realized clearly how unable we are in our salvation, which was called total depravity and total inability theological terms, as Calvin said, “The rebellion of the first human brought us into a state of terrible misery like this.” Secondly, we also have to know that this realization of our own misery is the beginning of receiving God's grace and salvation. I mean, when we are faced with our miserable reality and our spirit become hungry and starving for eternity and truth and life, then becoming humble, we cannot help but look upward and ask for the grace of God then we can be saved, as Calvin also explains this in his book “Institutes of the Christian Religion” that, “Accordingly, the knowledge of ourselves not only arouses us to seek God, but also, as it were, leads us by the hand to find him. Suppose we but once begin to raise our thoughts to God, and to ponder his nature, and how completely perfect are his righteousness, wisdom, and power—the straightedge to which we must be shaped. Then, what masquerading earlier as righteousness was pleasing in us will soon grow filthy in its consummate wickedness. What wonderfully impressed us under the name of wisdom will stink in its very foolishness. What wore the face of power will prove itself the most miserable weakness. That is, what in us seems perfection itself corresponds ill to the purity of God. As a consequence, we must infer that man is never sufficiently touched and affected by the awareness of his lowly state until he has compared himself with God’s majesty.” Finally, If then, what do we have to do, after we recognizing our reality? Yes. in Isaiah 55:1, after he exhorts that “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the water, and buy wine and water without money and without price.” In the following verses 6 and 7, he says, “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near, and then He will abundantly pardon.” That’s why Is 64:1 prays that “Come down O LORD, to save us and may the Lord rend the heavens and come down.” And also Ps 86:5 says that “For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.” I pray that all of us who have received the grace of the Lord's first coming and look forward to the second coming may invite our Lord to sit in the center of our hearts as king and rule over us, so that the rest of our lives will be lived by the Lord, not us for His glory.

Key Questions as Small Group Activity

Q1 After we look at the misery of the Israelites, I hope we may think about our misery too. I mean, as Daniel prophesied that knowledge is increasing and people will be busy due to the development of the science and civilization, even though we are living the material abundance, yet I think we are becoming more and more thirsty spiritually. So, in that perspective, we are not so different from the Israelites. After meditating on this, I hope you may share each other to learn from each other.

Q2 And in this first week of Advent, not only we celebrate the first coming of the Lord and look forward to His second coming, but also I hope we have a time to think about His coming to our mind, I mean, as Reve 3:20 says “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me,” since this exhortation of the Lord is not for non-believers, rather for believers, so even though we believe that the Lord is with us through the Holy Spirit who came and regenerated us and dwells us forever, I hope we may think about where He is now in our heart. I hope you may share your ideas and thoughts to learn from each other.

Love you. Thank you. God bless you.

Prayer Note

Dear ( God’s attribute which you found Today ) God!

Thanks for ( something you received through the sermon or even during the week )

Praise, gratitude and glory be to You, Lord!

Today, I realized my sin (pains) that ( the sin God reminded through the sermon ),

please forgive (or heal) me and help me not to repeat ( the sins you recognized ).

I learned that ( something you learned through the sermon )

Please help me to live in that ( learned way of life )

I pray in ( Jesus’ attribute you find ) Jesus’ name. Amen.

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