S-1372-7SAP/C 7/07/2013 Hymns: (O) #535; (S) #739 LSB; (C) # 32
Texts: Isaiah 66:10-14; Galatians 6:1-10, 14-18; Luke 10:1-20
Theme: “Knowing His Hands!” (Isaiah 66:14)
Question: “How would you describe your hands?” Armour, SD
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia! The text is from the O. T. lesson: “You shall see, and your heart shall rejoice; your bones shall flourish like the grass; and the hand of the LORD shall be known to His servants, and He shall show His indignation against His enemies” (Luke 9:59-60).
INTRODUCTION: In Nomine Iesu.
Saints in Christ Celebrity Chef Paula Deen has used her hands to cook great recipes for many years. The use of her hands has brought her fame and fortune and had a great following on the Food Channel Network. Big name retailers where her sponsors: Walmart, Walgreen, Target, J.C. Penny’s, Home Depo and others. But all of that fame came crumbling down last week, not because she was using her hands to create something tasty, but supposedly because she said something racial some 29 years ago. The cooking queen was ousted and dynasty declining.
When the world’s hands are against you, you feel oppressed, overwhelmed and overburdened. Paula Deen is feeling that way now because it appears that the whole world is against her.
But so did the Israelites because of their disobedience to God, His hands were heavy upon them. Isaiah in his book often tells us, that in the time of calamity, Israel’s “bones” have been “consumed” (Psalm 31:10), and “waxed old” (Psalm 32:3), and “burned with heat” (Job 30:30).
And that is precisely what happened to Israel—God’s chosen people, the dynasty came crumbling down. At one point they ruled the Middle East; they had peace and harmony among themselves and neighboring people. But they forsook the God who delivered them with mighty hands and outstretched arms. They had turned to false gods, they had tried to rely on themselves to get through difficult times, they had trusted in alliances with other nations and kings, rather than relying on God, or calling out to the Almighty when things got rough for them. And now they had only fear, misery and uncertainty about the future (just like Paula Deen) to show for it. And this is where prophet Isaiah come in his final chapter.
The prophet turns to those that trembled at God’s word, to comfort and encourage them. The Lord will appear, to the joy of the humble believer, and to the confusion of hypocrites and persecutors. When the Spirit was poured out, and the gospel went forth from Zion, multitudes were converted in a little time. The word of God, especially His promises, and ordinances, are the consolations of the church. The true joy of all Christians is increased by every convert brought to Christ. The gospel brings with it, wherever it is believed by the power of the Spirit at work in people’s hearts its power, such a river of peace, as will carry us to the ocean of boundless and endless bliss. Divine comforts reach the inward man; the joy of the Lord will be the strength of the believer. Both God’s mercy and justice shall be manifested, and forever magnified.
The words of Isaiah emphasize that His servants will get to know the Lord’s gracious and merciful hands. They will intimately see the Lord working out their salvation and brings about rejoicing to their hearts, homes and country.
The message of Isaiah in chapter 66 is a time of enjoyment and refreshment from the Lord. New life shall enter them, and health and growth shall follow. The nation shall be rejuvenated, and “flourish” in more than its pristine strength. The hand of the Lord shall be known; or recognized, both in this merciful treatment of His servants, and also in the indignation with which He will visit His enemies.
Knowing His hands help you see today, that these hands haven’t been idle, but busy working our salvation. You get to know His hands in the acts of Creation, Redemption and Sanctification. These acts carried out by our loving and gracious God reminds us of the goodness of the Lord.
He uses His arms to embrace us when we are burdened, His fingers to hold us when we are distraught and His hands to catch us when we are falling. His hands are hands of mercy and hands of compassion. PAUSE.
Indeed, our God is merciful and compassionate but He is also the eternal and just judge. He can’t cover up sin or look the other way. That is why the author of the book of Hebrews said: “For we know Him who said, ‘Vengeance is Mine; I will repay.’ And again, ‘The Lord will judge His people.’ It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God’” (Hebrews 10:30-31).
Thank God that we who believe in this gracious God, don’t fall into His hands of vengeance, instead we are gently and firmly held in His Hands of grace on account of His Son, Jesus. Jesus made sure that the people of His day and ours get to know His hands. He showered them with blessings. He touched them, restored and revived them. He witnessed to the world that His hands are strong not only to heal and restore the dead, but to carry the sins of the entire world. He did that on a tortures instrument of death so that we may have life abundantly.
If you were to visit heaven today, you will notice the only manmade things in heaven are the scars in the hands of Jesus, the wounds in His feet, the hole in His side.
Normally, when we go somewhere on a vacation many times we bring back a souvenir. Jesus visited this planet and He brought back as a souvenir, not something cheap and not something temporary, but something eternal and bought at a fearful price—His life.
Those holes in His hands show and demonstrate the enormity of His love for us sinner. Those hands were not weak; on the contrary they were strong to save and still are working to save others sinners who are still outside His fold held as prisoners in the hands of Satan. PAUSE.
O precious children of the loving Savior, often we don’t think of God’s hands or His grace that we need until we are in trouble or going through turmoil. Only then we cry out to God to touch us with His pierced hands and help us from the burdens of life.
The burdens of life are many and can overwhelm us at times. They can cause us either to run away from God or to run to His wide open arms. That is precisely, what happened to Robert Wayne Borders. Robert’s mother died unexpectedly when he was 4 years old. He was raised with other family members. His family was very abusive and soon he began to use and sell cocaine and heroin. He supported his $1500.00 p/week addiction, through armed robbery, kidnapping, exhortation, and black mail. He was into satanic worship and attempted many times to kill himself. He attempted to kill someone and got caught. Was sent to jail for 5 years. During his prison stay, someone shared with him the love of Jesus. Eventually he repented of his sins and confessed the faith and now serves as a youth pastor and helps drug addicts get out of their situation.
Robert states that: “The most important lesson he learned was that he was in the hands of the God of the impossible. And this God loves him!”
Today, in this house of worship you need to know and learn the most important lesson as well. You are loved. You are in His hands now and forever. You know His hands intimately as they feed you His body and blood. As you are caressed, cared for and comforted. You know His hands they are still working in you the gift of eternal life. PAUSE.
Precious children of the heavenly Father, Paula Deen’s dynasty may return or it may continue to crumble, but thanks to the Hands of the Savior, His dynasty will never be destroyed or demolished. On the contrary it will live forever here on earth and forever in eternity.
Thanks be to God for making it possible for us to know His hands now and one day we get to hold those loving and pierced hands and be comforted and blessed forever. Amen.
Now the peace of God…
SOLI DEO GLORIA