Thursday, December 2, 2010

“Wait Till Your Father Comes Home!” Isaiah 64:1

S-1219 1MIA/3A 12/01/10 Hymns (O) #58 vv 1-4; (S)#240; (C) #66

Text: Isaiah 64:1-9; Revelation 22:12-21; John 1:1-14

Theme: “Wait Till Your Father Comes Home!” Isaiah 64:1

Question: “Are you afraid of your father?


Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia! The text for our Midweek in Advent is from the Old Testament lesson: “Oh that You would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might quake at Your presence (Isaiah 64:1).

Introduction: In Nomine IESU

People of God, chosen and beloved I hate to admit it while growing up in Israel, I was a trouble maker and often gave my mother lots of heart ache. Whenever I gave my mother a hard time, she would often say “Wait till your father comes home!” Perhaps, you too, had heard these words. Maybe even some of our young folks are still hearing these words today: Wait till your father comes home! When you hear these words, what comes to your mind? Are they words of comfort and joy or pain and sorrow? Do they stir emotions within you? Do they bring tears to your eyes?

I remember one particular time when mother with all of her strong voice said, “Wait till your father comes home!” I knew I was in trouble. I had done exactly the opposite of what she asked me to do, and I knew when dad got home it was not going to be pretty. I knew there will be judgment and not much compassion. I knew the dues of my bad behavior will be collected when dad got home. He did… and I DID!!! PAUSE

As we begin our Midweek in Advent, we remember first and foremost that Advent means coming. The season of Advent has two focuses. First the coming of the baby Jesus to Bethlehem at Christmas and the second, Christ’s second coming as the King of kings and Lord of lords on Judgment Day. Whenever we think of Advent, more than likely we focus on Christ’s coming as the Babe of Bethlehem and the joys He brings at Christmas. As children can’t wait for Christmas, so, too, we as God’s people, His chosen and beloved children in faith, can’t wait for Christmas and all it has in store for us. Isaiah even speaks of this joy when he states in our text: “Oh that You would rend the heavens and come down,”

This is Isaiah’s prayer. At first we might think this is good. But wait, there is more here than meet the eye and ear. Study the Word of the living God and you will find that both the Old and New Testament connect Advent to Judgment Day. The Apostle Paul put it this way in his letter to the Church at Thessalonica “For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night” (1 Thess. 5:2). Again, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command with the voice of the Archangel and with the sound of the trumpet of God” (4:16). And we can’t forget the Words of Jesus Himself: “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour when the Son of Man Comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious Throne” (Mt. 25:13, 31).

Yes, Advent means God is coming. Our heavenly Father, the Holy and just God is coming and we are sinners to the core. At first, it appears as if Isaiah is eager for the Father to come down, “Oh that You would rend the heavens and come down,” But then he seems to change his mind and contemplates what was he praying for. Isaiah goes on to say, “Behold You were angry, and we sinned; in our sins we have been a long time, and shall we be saved?” (v. 5). Oh, no, now that I think about it, Father, maybe, just maybe, I am not that excited about You coming down to earth to see me in all of my filth. This prophet realizes that God has reasons to come to us in terrible judgment.

God’s judgment is real and true. Isaiah knows this very well. For he states: “We have all become like one who is unclean and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.” (v. 6). To put it another way, Isaiah declares all my good deeds in the sight of God are nothing but filth and rubbish. These deeds of ours don’t win any favor with God. Even our attempts to do the right thing or the good deeds are sin. Our sin brings us destruction. The prophet goes on to say, “We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away” (v.6)

How is your Advent going so far? Are you looking forward to Christ’s Second coming? Are you prepared for the Father to come? “Wait till Your Father comes home!” You should. After all, Advent does mean God is coming. This holy and just God must deal with sin. The Scripture teaches clearly also, that God is our loving Father. As His redeemed, chosen and beloved people, we can wait for His coming and with great joy and expectation. Oh, I can’t wait till my Father comes home! Listen again please to the Words of the prophet, “But now, O LORD, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You are our potter; we are all the work of Your hand Be not so terribly angry, O LORD, and remember not iniquity forever.  Behold, please look, we are all Your people.” (vv 8-9). PAUSE.

People of God chosen and beloved, during this Advent Season know this truth and hold on to it dearly, God is indeed our loving Father. He is the Potter; we are the clay. We belong to Him. We are precious in His sight. He has created us in His loving and caring hands. He has personally created each and every one of us. He loves us more than anything in the world.

Being sorry for our sins, we humbly go to our loving and compassionate Father for forgiveness. And we know for a fact that He does forgive us all of our sins. How do we know that? Advent announces the coming of our loving Savior in the flesh.

In our Gospel reading for tonight we read these words: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). The “Word” is a title for Jesus. This single verse is John’s commentary on the miracle of Christmas. The Eternal Word of God became flesh, became a human being, and was born among us. He took upon Him flesh, blood, veins and muscles so that He might be our Savior a gift from the Heavenly Father.

This loving God-in-the-flesh comes to us at Bethlehem’s manger. Look inside that manger. Look inside that feed trough. What do you see? You see not just a cute baby boy. You see God in the flesh come for YOU!

Look at Calvary’s cross. What do you see? You see not a just a victim of an unjust punishment. You see God in the flesh paying for your sins, the world’s sins and my sins!

Look inside that empty tomb on Easter Sunday morning. What do you see? He is not there! He has risen from the dead. He is God in the flesh, victorious over sin, vic­torious over death, victorious over the devil. And He did this for YOU!

When the end of the world and Judgment Day arrives, look! Who is coming again? Look! Who is coming in glory to take to heaven you and all who trust in Him? Who is it? It is God in the flesh, the King of kings and Lord of lords. PAUSE.

“Oh, wait till your Father comes home!” Were often used by my mother and am sure by many mothers here tonight. I remember again from childhood the day when Father did come. Growing up, we were very, very poor. Dad did all he could to supply us all we need. At times he wouldn’t eat so that we children could. On this particular day, mother had saved the crumbs of the bread, soaked them in water, put parsley, mint and spices and presented it to us to eat. But I didn’t want to eat this food. And so mother said, “Wait till your Father comes home!”

I wasn’t looking forward to that hour when dad comes home. But he did arrive. I went to him with head bowed low and said, “Dad I am sorry, and I just can’t eat this food. I know you work hard. So does mom, but dad please, please forgive me?” I waited for the worst. What happened next completely surprised me. Dad did not get angry. His eyes were wet with tears. He knew I was sorry. He knew I deserved punish­ment.

Instead, he showed me compassion. Picked me up and said, “Son, I wished I could give you more! I wished you didn’t have to eat this food, but that is all we can afford now son. Oh, the love of my Father that day made me appreciate him and his sacrifice to the family. I was so glad that dad came home. For on that night he picked me up and carried me in his arms and kissed me and assured me I am SPECAIL to him and always will be.

Advent tells us our Lord is coming. He is coming as the babe in the manger and as the King at Judgment Day. He is holy and just and takes seriously our sin. But He is espe­cially merciful and forgiving and loving. So it’s only fitting that at the beginning of Advent we pray that last prayer recorded in Holy Scripture and pray it eagerly: “Come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev 22:20). Yes, Father, come and hold us in these pierced and wounded hands for ever. Amen.

Now the peace of God…

Solie Deo Gloria

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