Heard of someone just the other day – snowmobiling, thought he’d try an area he knew was safe, off the trail. Sled got stuck, he got off, sank in up to armpits and couldn’t move. Now what? Full suit, gloves, helmet, can’t move. Scary situation, a million thoughts racing 100 mph through his mind, most of them not good; he’s not in control, can’t get in control, powerless to get out of present circumstances, needs someone to come and deliver him from predicament. Exactly what God did, sent someone along – saw situation, stopped and helped. Response of fellow in trouble? “Boy, am I glad to see you; thank you, Jesus!”
As Isaiah knew from what God revealed to him, Israel would be in same predicament but with a twist. In their case, one Israel trusted in for help turned on them instead. Instead of Assyria delivering them from hardship and harm, Assyria would overrun the land of Israel. Only the supernatural working of God would be able to rescue them from oppression. When that day of deliverance came, Jewish people would respond by worship and witness: praising God not only in prayer but in public worship, sharing with others good news of what God had done and just how great he is.
A. Delivered people v.11:16, 12:1
dramatically and supernaturally delivered from enemies by power of God (11:16)
being saved from Assyria compared to being saved from Egypt: obvious even to Pharaoh how Hebrew children were delivered from slavery. It was a “God thing”! The plagues – water to blood, frogs, gnats, flies, diseased livestock, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, death of firstborn. Then parting of Red Sea, drowning Pharaoh’s army. Being delivered from Assyria’s power would be just as much the power of God as leaving Egypt. Jewish people just as powerless to save themselves from their enemies in Isaiah’s day as during Moses’ day.
dramatically and supernaturally delivered from anger of God by power of God (12:1)
Strange world we live in: OK for people to talk about having “anger issues” but not OK to talk about God being angry. Yet Isaiah says when they are delivered, Jews will praise God because he is no longer angry with them. Not just Old Testament depiction of God, check out 1st chapter of Romans. So, why was God angry with his people? Same reason they needed deliverance. Assyria was God’s means of straightening out his kids, correcting them for their rebellion against him.
We can all relate to Israelites and their situation. In natural condition, way we’re born, we need deliverance. Born with sin nature, will commit sin as soon as we’re able, have all done so: anything say, think, do that displeases God or breaks his laws. We all need deliverance from God’s anger at our rebellion, need saving from sin and slavery to Satan. We’re just as powerless as Jews to save ourselves.
The message God sent to his people through Isaiah: “Stop thinking you can save yourself, trust in God to save you both from the Assyrians and your sin. If you turn to God in faith believing, he will indeed deliver you.” God has sent same message to us: “Stop thinking you can save yourself, trust in God the Lord Jesus to save you from your sin. If you turn to God in faith believing he will save you because of his Son, he will indeed deliver you.” A response is expected: worship and witness.
B. Worshiping people v.1-3
give thanks to the Lord for saving them and bringing them home again.
People who have been saved and know it respond with worship: what’s that? Giving praise and thanksgiving to God, declaring faith in God, receiving a blessing from God. We come near to God, he comes near to us; we delight in God, he delights in us; we give the gift of praise to God, he gives the gift of himself to us. We sing and pray and hear, God sings and hears and speaks. True corporate worship is a two-way dialogue between God and his children.
— (v.1) We give praise and thanks to God for who he is and what he has done. Express to him our love, adoration, confidence, joy. Thank him for his love, salvation, watchful care. Acknowledge his greatness, our smallness; his power, our weakness; his self-existence, our dependence; his holiness, our need; his goodness, grace, mercy, patience, love, comfort, dependability, constancy.
— (v.2) We declare faith: God is the one who saves us; God is the one who will keep us safe; because we trust in God, we have nothing to fear; the strength we need to serve God comes from God; everything we need to please God when things are tough comes from God; God is the source of our joy, the one who gives melody to our singing.
— (v.3) God responds to our worship: His goodness and his grace will never run dry. He will satisfy our desire for him, all our spiritual needs. He provides forgiveness, comfort, encouragement, strength, wisdom that exceeds our need. Apostle Paul puts it this way:
Eph. 3:16-21 I pray that He may grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, and that the Messiah may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, and to know the Messiah’s love that surpasses knowledge, so you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think–according to the power that works in you– to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. HCSB
C. Witnessing people v.4-6
tell all the nations of the greatness of God. – shout and sing for joy, call them to join in worship
Doesn’t stop with only us worshiping; true worship gets us excited, makes us want to share blessing with others. Isaiah says those who have worshiped this way will praise and sing and shout for joy so loudly the whole world can hear. We are quick to share internet links and recipes and books and news with all our friends; we should be even more quick to share good news of salvation in Jesus with family, friends, anyone we can get to listen.
Even bigger deal than greatness of blessing: the greatness of God. He has done great things, he is a great God. The Holy One of Israel deserves our worship, the worship of all his creation. For the nations to properly worship the true God, to give him the praise he deserves from hearts filled with love for him, they need to hear the Gospel.
Whether we’re 8 years old or 80 years old or somewhere in between: if we have experienced the joy of God’s amazing grace and provision, then we have cause for which to sing, to praise, to speak, to share with others. Tell them about his greatness, about what he has done in creation, in providing for that creation. Tell them of God’s goodness, invite them to worship this awesome God with you. Do your part as God enables you to worship and witness faithfully that the world may know God is great, his salvation is great.