Our Great Savior

Isaiah 63:1-14

Live in dangerous world. Didn’t used to be that way, wasn’t that way by design. Began as co-operative relationship between all parties involved: man and woman, animals, forces of nature, even God. Mankind give mandate to act as God’s second-in-command, manage created world to maximum productivity. Then sin reared ugly head, all that changed. In moment when God declared curse on serpent, ground, world has turned into war zone. Ones who started out friends became enemies. Earth resisted man’s attempts to manage it. Later on, animal kingdom no longer easily approached by men; in some cases, wouldn’t want to try!

No great surprise that man turned into key player in conflict. 1st generation – killed wife’s reputation; 2nd generation – killed his brother (Gen. 4:8); 5 generations later – writing songs to celebrate violence (Gen. 4:23-24). Didn’t stop with Cain and Abel or even Lamech; continued on, names you easily recognize – good guys, bad guys, nice nations, evil ones. Animosities that continue to this very day. In every age and generation, God has always had his people. As he promised, they’re involved in the conflict too (Gen. 3:15), one that includes greatest enemies: sin & Satan.

Not getting better, not getting safer. Seems the evil people do is even greater, more in-your-face. True on individual level, also national and international as well. Persecution.org has annual “Hall of Shame”, 11 countries where Christians at greatest risk of persecution. Iraq ……………..Iran ……………..Egypt …………..Nigeria…………Eritrea………….Somalia………..India ……………Pakistan……….North Korea…………China …………..Vietnam….. Could easily become discouraged, think situation is hopeless if didn’t have the Bible. Enemies of God’s people are great; not a single one we can overcome. Given scope of task, must have a great Savior if we are to have hope.

A. great work v.1-6

prophet looks, coming from direction of Israel’s ancient enemy Edom – a warrior (1)

gets attention even from a distance

bright red garments – fit for royalty – striding powerfully and confidently

who can this be?

one with authority to speak, power to save

why are clothes all red? (2)

evidence of work Warrior has done bringing judgment to his enemies – complete victory over them (3)

glory displayed in defending his people, subduing enemies

just as much as in delivering his people from captivity

God is glorious in justice and in grace and mercy

remember v.1 – if God is truly righteous, then must punish evildoers

also important: those crushed in winepress deserve their punishment, obstinately rebellious until bitter end

a hard truth, one in which God takes no pleasure, neither should we

God’s salvation far more than simple extraction from danger; includes eliminating danger (4)

fireman saves child, Marine saves injured buddy – danger still exists

building continues to burn; enemy only temporarily neutralized

possibility or likelihood of future harm still remains

OTOH, God’s plan mandates full & final removal of all danger to his people

achieves complete freedom for his people

from sin and sinfulness

from effects of sin

from sinners who would cause his people harm

only one engaged in this work – the Divine Warrior (5)

no other with sufficient interest

not in this kind of work

average sinner still in sin most interested in making pain go away, hassle/frustration stop

desire goodies God could provide but not interested in God and his ways

only after deliverance that we “get it”

with proper skills

to understand enemy

to know winning strategy

with necessary qualities (6)

good to overcome evil

purity to overcome sin

power to overcome all enemies

B. great love v.7-10

Great Savior makes plain what he is about – great work he must accomplish; prophet responds in praise

many good things and great faithfulness (7)

hear all the words – breaks out in doxology – confident God will win

what you can remember quickly enough to thank God for

brings more to mind, and more, and more

never-ending display of love and mercy toward his people

every last bit of it undeserved – bestowed on those who were his enemies at the start

Rom. 5:8 But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us! HCSB

demonstrated in context of family relationship – my people, children (8a)

God committed to relating to his people as Father

redeeming out of world into family

expecting children to bear family resemblance, behave as family members

no better setting in which to show love

came himself, didn’t send an agent (8b, 9b)

“he became their Savior”; “the Angel of his Face saved them”

“the angel in whom his face is made clear” E J Young

“Not an ambassador, nor an angel, but he, the Lord delivered them, because of loving them.” LXX (9b)

God himself, in person of Lord Jesus, “the exact representation of his being” (Heb. 1:3)

best expression of his love: “he loved us and sent his son” (1 John 4:10)

to do for his people what they couldn’t do for themselves

what none other than God incarnate could accomplish

feels his people’s pain (9)

God in his essence, being, God-ness is immutable, unchanging; pure spirit, not subject to mood swings

at same time: God not distant, remote, disconnected from his people

he is sympathetic, compassionate, relational

he is moved by prayers and predicaments of his people, responds to them in their need

=> because of love and compassion he redeemed and sustains

exhibit A of sustaining: 40 years wandering in desert

all other times he has carried his people when they could not carry themselves

“a love that won’t give up” (10)

even in face of rebellion

not the Father’s love, the love of Holy Spirit; hmm, think on that one

cannot grieve one who doesn’t love

all three Persons of Trinity

active in redemption – see in v.9-10

love those who are God’s – 1 John 4:10; Eph. 5:25; v.10, Eph. 4:30

continues to show his love through correction

Heb. 12:6The Lord corrects the people he loves and disciplines those he calls his own.” CEV

because he loves: he restrains, draws back, corrects, fights against their foolish rebellious choices

does not allow his people to self-destruct in sinful rebellion

C. great name v.11-14

don’t forget God’s great works of the past, his purpose in performing them

everlasting name

removing all obstacles to safety, rest, holiness (11)

gave a shepherd and his Spirit

brought through seemingly impossible situation – Pharaoh and Red Sea

giving direction – internal and external (12-13)

guiding in a specific path

spiritually & morally – by his Spirit

physically – by his shepherd

=> God’s purpose: when remembering great wonders of past, would think of them as things God accomplished

glorious name

true rest comes from Holy Spirit

rest = settledness, security, peace

denied to those who oppose God

intended to be lot of those who settled Canaan

promised those who come to Christ – Matt. 11:28-30

God’s goal his glory, even in dealing with his people

does what He does for his people

for their good (Rom. 8:28-30) especially in their salvation

for his own glory – that he might receive all praise

God’s enemies and our enemies are great and powerful and many. Are absolutely determined not to lose the battle. God is greater, more powerful, will eventually have final and total victory over all his foes. Is God’s patience, desire for more sons and daughters adopted into family that postpones Great Day. Has God demonstrated himself a great savior to you? Give him the glory! Speak of him to others. Live for him in front of others. Show by your life of holiness the overwhelming greatness of God.

Is that not yet a reality in your life? Do you have yet to experience the transforming power of God’s Spirit? release from captivity in sin? Turn to our Great Savior, the Lord Jesus, in faith believing he is the only one who can save you. Repent of your sin, seek God’s forgiveness, be reconciled to him and become his child. Then you can sing of your redeemer, of his wonderful love to you, how he has set you free from your sin.

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