07072019 4th Sunday After Pent 3AT Emmanuel Lutheran Export PA

“We shall see, rejoice, flourish and be satisfied! Is. 66:11&14”

07072019 4th Sunday After Pent 3AT Emmanuel Lutheran Export PA
July 7, 2019
“We shall see, rejoice, flourish and be satisfied! Is. 66:11&14”
Sermon Audio

Have you ever been satisfied when dining out?  When you get up from a meal at a place like “Atria’s”, have you been satisfied with the wait staff?  Did the food meet every expectation you had, when you sat down at the table and ordered? Were you fully satiated and satisfied and planned on returning again?  Likely with every meal you have eaten, every relationship you have been in, both personally and professionally, in the secular and even in the church, the common response if we are honest with God and ourselves if we ask the question ‘Have you always been satisfied?’ we would have to respond with, “No”.

From our Old Testament Lesson this morning, one might ask the prophet Isaiah about his satisfaction in completing the last chapter of the book.  One would expect ‘he should be satisfied’. In this last section of the book consisting of 10 chapters Isaiah writes about ‘understanding divine character’.  Isaiah is fleshing out the ability and inability of man, how the servant and Messiah will conquer, the new heavens and new earth and this final chapter speaks to ‘judgement and hope’ when one has a ‘humble and contrite spirit’ so one can ‘rejoice with Jerusalem’.  It could be said that Isaiah should be very satisfied as he completes what God has inspired him to faithfully record.

But what does ‘being satisfied’ have to do with Isaiah and by extension for us today here at Emmanuel?  Isaiah calls for us to “Rejoice with Jerusalem”.  When one rejoices it is typically with a glad heart and joy of what has occurred and what is fulfilled.  Isaiah is calling the people to ‘rejoice’ and be glad, because God is not only with them, God ‘loves’ them and wants them to rejoice, because God will ‘satisfy’.  In Isaiah’s using the imagery that speaks of female anatomy in this passage we could easily take offense with him given our 21st Century enlightenment, but God through Isaiah is attempting to draw a picture of relationship, closeness and wanting anyone who reads these words to feel and understand the concept and fulfillment of the comfort and consolation from God no matter the situation they find themselves experiencing.

God is speaking here and attempting to inspire Isaiah and by extension we the people of Emmanuel so that “We shall see, rejoice, flourish and be satisfied!”  Our satisfaction will not come from inside of us nor from the people that surround us nor from those who ‘serve us’.  Our satisfaction should come solely from God. God Who created the heavens and the earth will open our eyes to a ‘new reality’.  God will change our hearts to see one another as Christ right before us. God will give us the means, ability and gift of His grace to help each of us to flourish where we have been planted, when we trust the sower of the seed, God Himself.

Isaiah records God’s Words, “Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream; and you shall nurse, you shall be carried upon her hip, and bounced upon her knees.”  This picturesque and idyllic scene satisfies our human hearts because God promises ‘peace’, being ‘fulfilled’ and His loving and caring embrace of us as our God and as The One who loves to the point of like our earthly mothers ‘bouncing’ us on ‘her knees’ to give comfort and assurance in order to satisfy and soothe us.  All of this because God cares for Isaiah’s hearers and for each and every one of us relationally at the deepest level.

Isaiah finally puts into context for those he is prophesying to and for us, in essence the cherry on the top of the sundae, when he records these words.  “13 As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.  14 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.”  Isaiah proclaims from God how His people will flourish and to God’s enemies how God “shall show his indignation”.

Truly, even God, the God of love, loves even His enemies and God wants His enemies to turn and return to worshiping Him and Him alone.  God wants the relationship with Him to be repaired and by extension our relationship with and between His children to be returned to ‘factory default’.  God desires for us to forgive what has been done or left undone. God’s desire is for His children to see themselves without pretense. God wants His children to celebrate with Him.  God wants His chosen remnant to flourish. And finally God speaking through Isaiah desires for His people to be satisfied. And this is why God sent His Son, Jesus Christ to fulfill what man cannot fulfill on our own.  Jesus Christ is the only way that our debt will be satisfied.

But how can we here at Emmanuel receive and fulfill Isaiah’s and truthfully God’s desire for us in and through Jesus Christ, where “We shall see, rejoice, flourish and be satisfied?”

I personally and as a pastor am struggling with how this will be fulfilled here at Emmanuel given our ‘current reality’.  Yet, because I struggle does not mean that God cannot or is unable to redeem the situation we face. The God of Isaiah, Isaac, Jacob and Father of Jesus Christ is bigger than the difficulties we currently face here at Emmanuel.  God enables us weekly as we gather to see and experience and share His love for us by our hearing of His genuine love of us in the Gospel proclaimed as we read Holy Scripture and also that we receive from the Altar of Jesus Christ precious Body and Blood for the forgiveness of sins.

God helps us to rejoice in songs of praise when we lift up our voices and by God’s grace raise our heads, hearts and hands in service to Him.  This occurs whether working with Vacation Bible School, collecting toilet paper for the Westmoreland Foodbank or even in pulling weeds in order for people to feel welcome here at Emmanuel.  We can and should rejoice when anyone comes to hear of God’s love for us and all of mankind in the sacrifice of His Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ.

And in the end, Emmanuel will flourish when we reach outside of ourselves by embarking upon the mission of the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We heard from the Gospel lesson this morning Jesus own Words, “16 “The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me.””  God will help Emmanuel to flourish in spreading Jesus love in ways that will defy man’s measurement of success on this earth in order that the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ will gather and draw others to Him and spread beyond the walls of our church.  And God’s love will flourish in the hearts of man that will have an eternal impact, not just an earthly impact.

And ultimately in seeing, rejoicing and flourishing, God will be satisfied.  God’s satisfaction will come, because we have demonstrated our trust in God. And by our humble obedience to God, listening to and loving one another unconditionally without expectation our lives will be satisfied in the eyes of God Who created us.  And “We shall see, rejoice, flourish and be satisfied!”

No greater demonstration of this is seen than by the countless teachers across our country and world.  We all know individuals who had a deep and profound impact upon us. What has happened recently is that instead of having to go to a high school reunion for teachers to be thanked, technology has allowed the affirmation of teachers to be celebrated almost instantaneously.  One recent example would be how cellphone videos today capture and share how some teachers care for their students by instead of banning students who have to bring their children, welcome and even coddle and carry the children during classes in order for the parents to have a brighter future.

Should we as the church of Jesus Christ do anything less?  For if we welcome, no matter the socioeconomic, cultural or even differently raised, we welcome one another as if they were Jesus Christ.  And this demonstrates clearly God’s blessing upon us so “We shall see, rejoice, flourish and be satisfied” as we share the love of Jesus Christ with one another and our world as disciples of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ.  For Jesus satisfied our debt so that “We shall see, rejoice, flourish and be satisfied” in Him and so that we will spend eternity with Him.  AMEN.