Tuesday, 14th June 2022
Rev Daniel Xi An Poon
Section One V1-7 God Will Intervene
What is our darkness? What are we afraid of? Are we hiding something from God and from people, pretending everything is ok, but in fact, we know we are not ok? Our strength is fading, and our faith is failing, but on the appearance, we seem ok, until we really cannot handle it anymore, then we fall and not wanting to get up. We need wisdom to stay faithful and to stand firm, and wisdom comes from the fear of the Lord. In the Book of Isaiah, the prophet continued to remind the people to have this fear of the Lord, but when they didn’t listen, God became silent for 70 years, which represents two generations.
In the darkness, through this difficult time, how do we see God and how do we know God? We tried to use the worldly methods to find our own way out, but what we really have to do is to seek the way of God. When Jesus was facing temptation, He used the Word of God to rebuke Satan’s attack. When we proclaim the Word of God, which is the Light, then the darkness will go away. When the Word of God come into our lives, our lives will be changed, can we believe in it? V1 ‘Keep silence before Me, O coastlands, and let the people renew their strength! Let them come near, then let them speak; let us come near together for judgment.’ In darkness, when we face difficulties, God will intervene. In the dark time, Isaiah told the people of Israelites that God will come to rescue.
V2 ‘Who raised up one from the east? Who in righteousness called him to His feet? Who gave the nations before him, and made him rule over kings? Who gave them as the dust to his sword, as driven stubble to his bow?’ Isaiah prophesied about the one from the east, who would save and rescue the Israelites. During the time, Babylon was a strong nation, and no one could believe that it would be destroyed and taken over by the Roman Empire. We know what happens after but at the time, the Israelites only saw darkness, and they could never imagine what happened next.
V3-4 ‘Who pursued them, and passed safely by the way that he had not gone with his feet? Who has performed and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I, the Lord, am the first; and with the last I am He.’ Do we believe God really rules and reigns in our lives? He is above all our challenges and hardships, and He can overturn every strong nation. Isaiah was encouraging the people to believe in the Word of God instead of believing in what they saw. God is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, He is the God of generations. He allowed two generations of the Israelites to experience hardship, so they could learn and humble themselves. We must admit our mistakes, do not complain about the environment, but hold onto God and wait upon Him.
Section Two V8-20 God Will Make Firm
God will keep His promises, no matter how strong or how weak we are, He has His principles, and He will always work according to His principles. V9-10 ‘You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest regions, and said to you, ‘You are My servant, I have chosen you and have not cast you away: Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’’ He will always be our God, He will always listen to our prayers, and He will always respond. He will not leave nor forsake us, but are we willing to follow?
V11-13 ‘Behold, all those who were incensed against you shall be ashamed and disgraced; they shall be as nothing, and those who strive with you shall perish. You shall seek them and not find them—those who contended with you. Those who war against you shall be as nothing, as a non-existent thing. For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, fear not, I will help you.’ Right hand is the hand we lift up to pray, and God will hold our right hand. We must reach out our hand to pray and to hold onto God, to never let go, no matter how tired we are, it’s never about our strength, but how we can still be faithful in our weaknesses.
V14-15 ‘Fear not, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel! I will help you, says the Lord and your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. Behold, I will make you into a new threshing sledge with sharp teeth; you shall thresh the mountains and beat them small and make the hills like chaff.’ We are like worms, we are weak and easily fall into our sinful nature, and if we can really see this reality of us, then we will no longer be easily offended. Because when we really know our weaknesses and admit it, then we can really hold onto God and to see God in our lives. Then others around us can also see the God in our lives.
Let us be willing to breakthrough, to come out of the cave we are hiding, and to come truthfully before God. The God will make the way out for us. V19-20 ‘I will plant in the wilderness the cedar and the acacia tree, the myrtle and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the cypress tree and the pine and the box tree together, that they may see and know, and consider and understand together, that the hand of the Lord has done this, and the Holy One of Israel has created it.’ God will change our environment, and through the environment, we can see God’s hands at work. We should never think that we earn anything because everything we have and everything we can do is by the Grace of God.
Section Three V21-29 God is Real
V21 ‘Present your case,” says the Lord. Bring forth your strong reasons, says the King of Jacob.’ What do we really believe and who do we really worship? Do we only serve God and serve people when we are ready? There may be difficult times throughout our lives, but can we see God is real and can we really truly rely on Him in the darkness? Do not be afraid and do not give up, God will intervene, God will make us firm, and God will be with us always.
以赛亚书 41 – 在黑暗中要认识神
我们知道自己要真实、不虚伪，但也不是随意将自己的软弱呈现在人的面前。圣经说，软弱的要变刚强，当我们明白自己软弱的时候，要谦卑来到神面前求神给我们力量、平安，而不是以软弱为借口说自己“不行”，或者躲在山洞里自己处理。当我们不行的时候，两三个人一起祷告，才经历神。我们的黑暗或许是害怕确诊、或在人前的伪装 – 在凡事顺利的时候伪装自己很虔诚、但困难来的时候又原形毕露。我们是否真的看见自己的不行、有没有凡事谦卑寻求神？我们跟神要有密切的关系，无论得时不得时都要倚靠神。如果我们在黑暗中不认识神，那我们在平日得意忘形时与神就没有关系。当初的以色列人忘记神，只把信仰当成一个宗教，与神没有关系，所有生命高高低低。在以色列人国破家亡的时候、即使是被掳到巴比伦的那七十年，神都没有离开他们。七十年就是两个世代，在两代这么苦的日子里，人要如何认识神？
V14 神称呼我们为“虫”并非贬低我们。 不要看我们外面有多厉害，我们愿意承认自己是“虫”吗？约伯记 25:6说到“何况如虫的人，如蛆的世人呢？”，诗篇113:7也讲到“他从灰尘里抬举贫寒人，从粪堆中提拔穷乏人”， 当我们看到自己本来就是有问题的人时候，我们才能看到神是我们的神。我们呈现在人面前的，不是自己有多厉害或者多不行，而是在低点中让人看到神。摩西在红海前拿出他的杖，让人看到他们不行了，唯有倚靠神。当我们看见自己处在“粪便”中时，更不要躲藏，要站起来，因为神必帮助我们。
V21 我们的假神、偶像是否是我们的环境、能力、个人状况？事奉神的时候是否只是选状态好的时候? 我们每一天都是倚靠神才站在人前。“虚假”指的是我们看任何人事物大过神，我们是否愿意先神后人再大地？