2021 Sermon Series: “The Book of Isaiah: God's Heart to Rescue & Restore”
by Nathan Parker, Senior Pastor
February Sermon Series: “Our Hope, Guilt, and Hope: Getting Out of Our Own Way”
Feb. 7 – The Lord Alone Will Be Exalted (Isaiah 2:1-22)
Feb. 14 – Your Guides Mislead You (Isaiah 3:1-4:6)
Feb. 21 – The Vineyard of the LORD of Hosts (Isaiah 5:1-30)
Feb. 28 – Here am I! Send Me (Isaiah 6:1-13)
I recently watched a funny video about “quarantine stereotypes.” I was laughing until I realized that I have pretty much fulfilled each of the stereotypes that were described at some point during the last year. I’ve definitely been the “home office” guy with his shorts on and dress shirt and jacket for the Zoom call while the kids play under the desk. We’ve done the “at home haircut,” the lackluster “quarantine birthday,” and we’ve definitely felt like the “new home school parents.” We also broke down and made "the new puppy purchase.” We welcomed Annie, a golden retriever, into our family this past summer.
Annie is now eight months old and about 70 lbs. It has been amazing to see her grow so quickly! When we took her home in June, she was only 10 weeks old and about 12 lbs. She was all feet and ears it seemed. When she would try to run and keep up with our kids or other dogs, she would always trip over her big paws and roll on the ground.
While it may be adorable to watch a puppy falling all over themselves, it’s not pleasant when it happens to a person. And I’m not just talking about a physical fall. I mean that it seems we have a predisposition to getting in our own way and making a mess of things. Even we who are Christians will often convince ourselves that something other than God’s plan is best. So we inevitably go after the lesser things of this world, hoping to be satisfied, only to suffer another let down.
In our sermon texts for this month, we see some of the beautiful promises of God that are to come - the mountain of the LORD from which He will draw all nations to Himself, and they will “study war no more” (Isa. 2:4). We also see the promise of the Messiah, the “branch of the LORD” whose triumph “shall be beautiful and glorious” (Isa. 4:2). We see God’s planting His people as a “vineyard on a very fertile hill” where He lovingly and carefully tended to them (Isa. 5:1-2).
But the problem is that we keep running into our self-made obstacles. In our blindness, we keep choosing our way over God’s way. God’s design for the vineyard was beautiful. His people were primed and ready to bear much fruit. But the vines were stubborn and grew in wild offshoots, despite the loving work of the Master Gardener.
My hope and prayer for our church this month is that we will learn to keep our eyes on the glorious work of our Savior and the beautiful promises of our God. Despite our guilt, our hope remains ever-present and sure. The gospel tells us that though we fail and stumble over our own feet, the LORD is faithful to work out His good purposes for us and for all creation. In this crazy time that we’re living in, fixing our sights on the hope of God’s promises is especially meaningful.
Grace and peace,