Renewed Hope for the New Year

Bel bows down; Nebo stoops; their idols are on beasts and livestock; these things you carry are borne as burdens on weary beasts. They stoop; they bow down together; they cannot save the burden, but themselves go into captivity. “Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been borne by me from before your birth, carried from the womb; even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save. “To whom will you liken me and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be alike? Those who lavish gold from the purse, and weigh out silver in the scales, hire a goldsmith, and he makes it into a god; then they fall down and worship! They lift it to their shoulders, they carry it, they set it in its place, and it stands there; it cannot move from its place. If one cries to it, it does not answer or save him from his trouble. “Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country. I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it. “Listen to me, you stubborn of heart, you who are far from righteousness: I bring near my righteousness; it is not far off, and my salvation will not delay; I will put salvation in Zion, for Israel my glory.”

Isaiah 46:1-13, ESV

Sermon Outline

1. God’s everlasting protection

2. God’s eternal plan

3. God’s encouraging call

Full Sermon Transcript

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But please take a moment now. Isaiah 46 will be reading the entire chapter. Wonderful word for this new year. Isaiah 46. Please give your full attention this is the word of our God. Bell boughs down niebo students, their idols are on beasts and livestock. These things you carry are born as burdens on weary beasts. They stoop down they bow down. Together, they cannot save the burden. themselves go into captivity. Listen to me, oh house of Jacob, all the remnants, the house of Israel, who have been born by me from before your birth carried from the womb. Even to your old age, I am he and to gray hairs. I will carry you I have made and I will bear it. Kari and I will save. To Whom are you liking me and make my equal make me equal and compare me that we may be alike. Those who lavish gold from the purse and way out silver from the in the scales, hire a goldsmith and he makes it into a god. Then they fall down and worship. They lifted to their shoulders, they carry it, they set it in its place, and it stands there. It cannot move from its place. If one cries to it does not answer or save him from his trouble. Remember this and stand firm. Recall it your mind you transgressors. Remember the former things of old, for I am God and there is no other I am God and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning. And from ancient times, things not yet done, saying my council shall stand and I will accomplish all my purpose. calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country. I have spoken and I will bring it to pass, I have purposed and I will do it. Listen to me, you stubborn of heart, you who are far from righteousness, I bring near my righteousness, it is not far off and I and my salvation will not delay. I will put salvation and Zion for Israel, my glory. So for the reading of God’s word, he had his blessing to it. Please join me in prayer as we pray for the Lord’s blessing upon that we’re in this message. Let’s pray. Heavenly Father, we come again before you we are humbled in your presence. We bask in knowing the privilege of that presence as we worship you together now, as your people. We thank you, dear Lord, that You are Holy and it’s you out from us all that is unholy, unclean, that your holiness is contagious, that your gracious unable to deal with us in our sin. We thank You, Lord, that you’re merciful and able to lift us up in our weaknesses and in in our frailty and that you’re strong and good and true and gracious and tender hearted towards us. We pray as we turn to you again now. Your father into your word and as we listened to every word that comes forth from your mouth, that you would place that word in our hearts, that there we may begin to love you in new ways, and place it in our minds that we may understand your ways better than all our lives. We may learn how to glorify you, and enjoy you forevermore. And so we come to you again, Lord, we asked speak, for your servants are listening. Pray all this and mighty name of Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen. Well, again, as I said, it’s my absolute delight to be with you again this morning to be with the people of God. I would also often tease my family when they were sick, and not wanting to come to church because they were sick that john Calvin would insist, and he was coughing up blood that he’d be carried to the house of God to be with his people. And having suffered infectious disease. I’ve changed my my tune on that. And so please don’t come to church if you’re coughing up blood. But I’m delighted to be with here and by God’s grace and mercy. I’m here with you again, this new year, right beginning a new year. This is the first Lord’s day of the new year. And I’m sure that this past week you have heard others on possibly yourselves you have wished others. them tell you Happy New Year, right. Happy New Year. You probably have wished others that and it’s very customary for us to do so. And when we do this, what are we doing, we were wishing for them, that they would have a good year to come a happy year. Of course, what’s more important is that we pray for in this new year that it is a blessed year that the Lord’s blessing would be upon us in this year. And I’ve often found that interesting. Maybe you have found the same thing in social media or other internet forums that we are told to send good thoughts to others. Have you seen this? Send good thoughts or good vibes? What does that mean? It’s a nonsensical thing. Right. What is the mechanism for sending good thoughts? It is yet again the inescapability of a God created man in the God created world needing to express himself. Right. He is incredibly religious and incredibly religious man because we were created to be someone suppressing the truth of God and unrighteousness and suppressing prayer, he expresses himself with a foolish alternative. That makes no sense, right, sending good vibes. But in this case, we are saying to others when we engage in this, we really, really hope you have a good a good New Year, a good year to come. And we can think of times when we’ve wished a Happy New Year to others, and that actually ended up being a really good year. It wasn’t a happy year, I perhaps a person’s gotten married or got a new job or had a child or they graduated school or they got their braces off or whatever it may be. The things we could point back to and said that was a good year. That was the last year for you 2019. I hope that 2020 as well as a happy blessing year for you. I know for the Garbarinos 2019 was not a particularly happy year, for a number of reasons. So we still count our blessings. To be sure, maybe for you as well, it wasn’t particularly half a year things that you could point to maybe you fell on hard times financially. Maybe you had medical issues or illnesses. Maybe you had relational difficulties. Maybe there was a death in your family. If that’s you, when your wish to Happy New Year, you say yes, please, maybe a better year the 2019. For the non believer, it’s nothing more than a wish. It’s like sending good vibes or good thoughts to someone. But what I learned today, as we look at this tax and with with this background in mind, thinking about the new year that at times, we faced the new year with uncertainty. Maybe we are hopeful. We were also mixed that hope is mixed with doubt and uncertainty. Right. We have a lot quite a lot of uncertainty in our lives being finite creatures. Whatever your situation is, I hope that together as we begin this new year, we can look at what God’s word God says. That can provide for us some hope and some encouragement in this new year. And you probably know that our text for this morning Isaiah 46 came to a people who were having a very bad year. When I was recovering from my surgery, one of you sent me a message that quoted Isaiah 46. And it was a quote that stuck with me and I’ve been meditating on it ever since. And I’ve been excited to to preach message from this passage for that reason, and the setting of course, you know, of the text is God’s people is there in captivity in Babylon. And they weren’t merely having a bad year but they were having bad decades, decades of bad years. It had been a long, long time since say it had a happy new year at all. What happens in the course of the lives of the people of God in the situation? The Lord comes to them at the end of that captivity, and he preaches to them good news. And he gives them reason for encouragement, and reason for hope. And the message that he preached to them is also for us, the people of God in 2020, dear Christian, and this message for us as well, it is for us to have encouragement and hope in this new year, even this morning, as we are here together corporately as as people when we go back into the world, God promises. His promise in his practice is to carry you, dear people of God even through it all, even unto glory with Him forever. Right? What did the passage in Ephesians say? You are being built into the holy house of the Lord with Christ as the chief cornerstone and he alone can do it. Certainly. idols cannot. And certainly we see the contrast in this passage between inputs and idols and the omnipotent Lord of the universe. And therefore we are to throw off those impotent idols and rest ourselves fully on Christ, who can and does truly carry you to the end and forever. We are to remember trust to be encouraged, and be hopeful. And as we look at this, so how is it that we are to throw off worthless things, idols in our lives, interest ourselves fully on Jesus rest ourselves in him? Completely, how can we have hope and encouragement in Christ, we can do so because of God’s everlasting protection because of his eternal plan and because of his encouraging promise to us. You have an outline in your liturgy there with those points in God’s everlasting protection. is eternal plan. And it’s encouraging promise that is for the people of God. We can have hope and we can have encouragement in Christ first because of his everlasting protection and care. So how does God begin to give his people care and protection here, as we look at Isaiah 46, he gives them his word. Right then it is the same word he has always provided for his people is that same word, and that word is going to be people who needed to hear it very badly. They were people who had spent a long time in Babylonian captivity, they needed to hear the gospel, the good news. We don’t have time to explore and to unpack all the details of the book of Isaiah this morning, but at its most basic level, we can look at Isaiah and we can divide it into two parts. The first part consists of chapters one to 30 And in those chapter eyes chapters, Isaiah is prophesied about events that happened in his time. And then the second part is chapters 42, the end to six to chapter 66. And that part deals with events that will happen long after Isaiah is gone. Isaiah prophesized about the kind of the captivity in Babylon. And then and then we go from Isaiah 39 to 40. We move forward in time. Isaiah 40, and onwards speaks of a day and a time beyond most of the captivity. And the people there are anxious to be free to be liberated, and to be returned to their land. That they were promised that they longed for. And this is the reason we saying Isaiah 40 earlier It is a beautiful song is a beautiful chapter. God comes to his people, people so long in captivity, and he says what to them. Comfort, comfort II my people speaky piece that says our God, speak tenderly to her, it says and he says, speak to her heart, call out to her that her warfare is over. That her iniquity is pardon that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. The glorious and hopeful message. It’s an encouraging word to God’s people that he has coming to free them. And as we move to our text this morning, we see this quite graphically. look at verses one and two, Isaiah 46. It says, again, bell bows down evos stoops. their idols are on beasts and livestock. These things you carry are born as burdens on weary beasts. They stupid bow down together, they can’t save the burden but themselves As they go into captivity, what does this mean? Right? We could summarize this looking, being whole canon whole whole covenant of believers of God’s people. We have the totality of His revelation to us. We could summarize this as what we read as what we read in Revelation 18. Right after this, I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was made bright with his glory. You remember what he calls be called out with a mighty voice fallen fallen is Babylon the Great. Sword have been declared, right? Those two great gods of Babylon Bell and niebo are in a cart being carried off by animals into captivity. We know these false gods the names anyway when I mentioned You’ll recognize them bell of course, we know that name from Belshazzar and niebo from Nebuchadnezzar right and then we can answer. These are compound names of these, incorporating these Babylon Gods Babylonian gods. And here they are depicted in Isaiah 43 is 46, as dumb mute, falling over being carried by tired beasts of burden. And these gods, his idols, notice, when they fall over, they stay falling over. When they tip over in the cart. They don’t get back up. There’s nothing they can do. And at this point, you may be thinking, well, Pastor, how is this hopefully encouraging, hopefully, hopefully encouraging for the new year. Why does God start with idols? I tell me about the true and living God. The answer is simply that God starts there so that he can show that The contrast between the idols, impotence their lack of power, their utter fecklessness and God’s omnipotence is all powerful, the mighty your way. And so he can show the absolute contrast between the two. And he tells us to think about how different he is from these false gods. Look, if you would have verses five to seven, we see this contrast to whom will you like in me and make me equal and compare me that we may be alike, those who lavish gold from the purse in way out silver on the scales, they hire a goldsmith and it makes it into a god and they fall down and worship. They lift it to their shoulders, they carry it, they set it in its place and it stands there. It cannot move from its place. One cries out it does not answer them or save him from his trouble. How’re the false gods contrasted with the true and the living God? Notice the idols burden the beasts, right? They burden their banks, right their wealth, their gold and silver and they burden the backs of those who worship them. They must be carried. They cannot say they are costly. Wealth is given to the goldsmith and the idol is made and he gives it back to them and they worship is what absurdity. What absurdity. Again, seeing verse seven, if one Christ to it, it does not answer or save from trouble. I contrast this with the true in the living God. Remember in Psalm three, we cry out and hears he hears from his holy hill. This is the insanity of unbelief. It is the insanity of stuff In idolatry is a taker. We all know this. Whether it’s addiction or idolatry by any other name, it is a burden it takes and takes, it gives nothing in return. It is a lie or it is a burden. It weighs down and ultimately eventually it crushes. Nowadays not many make idols out of gold and silver. But we know that very many make golden silver into idols. Right? Indeed, there are very many things that we can take and make idols of what is the Lord say about those things you make into idols? about anything, really, that you put in a place of the true living God? What does he say? He says they do nothing but take from you. They give no true lasting satisfaction. They give nothing in return. They offer no help. They’re all together. impotant The kenneling Answer the cannot save, in fact, the burden to the point of destroying those who worship them and never ends well. Dear Christian, are there things that you have allowed as idols in your lives as you take? consideration of your lives are the things that you’ve allowed as idols in your lives? And this is a challenging question to all of us. Because as God’s beloved children, we are to share our devotion with nothing else, were to share devotion with no one else. God alone is to be the object of our devotion, singularly the object of our delight in our glory, in our affection. We must be about the business of ridding ourselves of anything that competes with Christ for our affection. will not share our affection with anything Another way of looking at this is through the glorious biblical doctrine of justification, I scriptures teaching about how we are saved, how we are right before God. And what are we resting our status before God? Our works are doing or deeds. God forbid we all say we know that it can’t be that. But how sensitive are we to making idols of our doctrine? And how sensitive are we to resting in our theology rather in the one to whom about whom our theology teaches and points us to? Are we sensitive not to rest in and make idols of our pristine law keeping. Which isn’t that pristine by the way. We are teresting Christ alone for our salvation. Brothers and sisters, we know this. We are dressed in his perfect completed work on our Half. brother and sisters, may we be challenged daily by the reality of the warfare that rages as God’s people fighting to put to death, the idle factories in our hearts in the flesh that clean so closely. Maybe we know. And I proclaim to you even now as we’ve heard earlier, I proclaim it again, as we have humbled ourselves and confessed ourselves, confess our sins before him, we can be assured of our right standing before God and the forgiveness of all of our sins. How is that the case? Why is that? Because he is faithful, and just to cleanse us from all unrighteousness To begin, forgive us of all of our sins. And at the end of the day, idols are burdens to bear. And what does the Lord do? He comes, what does he say in contrast? He says, You know what, I’m like, I’m the burden bear. I’m the burden bear a burden to you. I bear your burdens. I don’t take anything from you. Except your sin, and you don’t have why because you don’t have anything that I need. It is I who give to you from the overflowing fountain of mercy and goodness and grace. That is in me. I don’t need you to carry me it is I will carry you. But it’s just promised to us tonight glorious. Verses three and four. Go on this glorious promise. Listen to me, your house of Jacob all the remnant of the house of Israel who have been born by me from before your birth carried from the womb, even to your old age. I am he and two gray hairs. I will carry you I have made and I will bear I will carry and I will say God’s Word to his People and there it is right now glorious. What a contrast between the impotent idols and the omnipotent Lord of all things, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, but the idols are made low knock down, brought to their knees stoop and crouching. They are powerless over themselves, let alone anyone else. They must be carried, they cannot hear, they cannot respond when one cries to them. They can’t say, oh, but your way is powerful. What a powerful God we have. He’s powerful to create, to save and to rescue and to bury his people. He hears his people from his holy hill. Near Christian, he has carried you from the womb, even to your old age. He will carry you what a glorious and delightful promise All that you go through in life, and we go through all manner of sorrows and difficulties and uncertainty, and throughout it all. What does he say? Even to your old age? He is God, He will carry you. You have pain and terror in your life this year fear and dread. We have to be sure. We together have been carried through it by our faithful Savior Jesus Christ. And as the body of Christ we had fear and you shared your love and you interceded for us and through it all carried us even to our old age. And if we went through this trauma annually to our last days, what is his promise? Even to your old age, he will carry you are omnipotent King will complete that work that he began in US No one can snatch us out of the Father’s hand. Is that reason for rejoicing in this new year? That reason for worship for praise for comfort? Oh, it is. It is brothers and sisters. But what if you’re not certain what you’re saying this morning, you’re not certain you’re not confident, you’re not rejoicing. You were not I plead with you to taste and see that the Lord is good. He is all together, wonderful. We all have a decision to make in life. You serve that which is not God. Will you serve the one and only God. And if something if you have something that you’re serving that you have to carry around, you’re carrying a God that ends in destruction. But if your God carries you, the true and the living God carries you. Well, that ends in salvation. That’s all the difference In the world, because his purpose in carrying you is to save you, to save you and of course we see that salvation manifested most surprisingly, and ultimately when Jesus Christ appears, because he appears as God with us, right, he is the burden Baron God. It is interesting that the end of Isaiah 45 several verses right before our text this morning, Isaiah 45 sets up these themes, these very themes when it says in verses 22 and 23. Turn to me and be saved all the ends of the earth, for I am God and there is no other. By myself I have sworn from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return. To me every knee will bow, and every tongue shall swear allegiance. And we see the burden bearing God Jesus God with us. Emmanuel common, a common a flash taking the form of a servant. God tells us in phillipians and it says what? made himself nothing. Taking the form of a servant being born in the likeness of man, and being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on the cross. Therefore, God has what highly exalted Him, and bestowed on him the name that is above every name. Then he quotes Isaiah 45. So that the name of Jesus every knee should bow in heaven, and on earth and under the earth and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. In this Jesus, He bears all the burdens with which we are burdened all our life through even to your old age. You will carry He takes all the things we are burdened by to the cross and He suffers in your place. Man, we never forget that brothers and sisters, may the truth and glory of the gospel never become old happe or mundane or regular to us. Psalm 21 someone 21. We heard earlier I’m saying earlier it said gloriously. He will keep your life. He will keep your life. The God who does not slumber or sleep. In Christ is the ultimate expression of this reality, is he not? He took all that we deserved for our sins. When it came time. He agonized in prayer in the garden, and he submitted to the Father’s Will, that he be forsaken Christ asks why why father Why my son because I’m making you who knew no sin to be sin, so that those upon whom I’ve set my love would be my very righteousness. In the cup of the father’s wrath is filled, that is taken is pressed into the hands of his son, and in some drinks it down to the drags all of it so that the cup of the Father’s love can be taken and drank by his people. And that is filled it is overflowing and we drink and we drink and we drink and we lift it up for more and it overflows again, his love for his people. What glory what love what care what delights. Do you know that? Have you seen his hand in your life? Oh, what protecting love what mercy he has for his people. I know I’ve seen his sovereign providential power in carrying me and many things in my life, especially these past few months, and I’m sure every one of you could tell of times when he has carried you or someone you love. a savior was needed and the Savior comes and he comes for you. What does it say? What does he tells he saved to the uttermost, those who are draw near to God through him since what he always lives to make intercession for them. Your great high priest praying for you. Brothers and sisters, we can have hope and encouragement in Christ. First because it was everlasting care and protection. We can have hope and encouragement in Christ. Secondly, because of his eternal plan. Very briefly, let’s look at verse 10. Where it says declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times, things not yet done saying my Kant’s council shall stand and I will accomplish all My purpose. Brothers and sisters, that is good news. That is good news is good news because as we see in this passage, God’s plan was what? for his people in salvation, his plan was to save them. For his people Israel he promised what to deliver them to save them from their struggles, and the worldly powers from which they needed to be saved. And Yahweh is going to execute his plan to save them from Babylon. Again, the first part of verse 11, calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country, I go with God’s going to call a bird of prey to come into the sand on Babylon and carried away like a predator like a hunter. And this happened, of course, the reference and the Lord called King Cyrus by name is the one who would authorize the temples reconstruction. The fulfillment at least in time in one stage of this prophecy prophecy, several centuries later confirmed the Lord’s claim to be the only God who can control and therefore foretell. foretell the future. He carried, he may He bore he saved, even to old age, says I am E versus 11 continues in stressing the certainty of that prophecy and the construction and the Hebrew is emphatic, it is powerful. The statements are very punctuated. It says, For certain I have spoken, surely I will bring it to pass. I have purpose Indeed, I will do it. And this really is good news. It’s not merely good news because of the promise to deal with their worldly captivity in return to the land. The really good news deals with the far greater problem of their Spiritual captivity, to which all this point in prefigured anyway, notice how the Lord refers to them. Verse 12. He says, Listen to me, you stubborn apart, you who are far from righteousness. Verse eight even calls them you transgressors. In this passage, God promises to rescue them from their rural captivity, their worldly captivity, to Babylon, but also to save them from their spiritual bondage. They are hard hearted, they are far from righteousness. And this is where we move to God’s encouraging promise, the third point this morning and remember, by the way, what our passage from aphasias to say, he brought those who are far and those who are near and made one new people from them. right this is, we can have hope and rest in God in Christ because of God’s everlasting promise, his protection, his eternal plan. And then finally his encouraging promise. Verse 13, he continues, well, verse 12, at the end, you are far from righteousness. Verse 13, I bring my righteousness near, right I bring my righteousness near. I come and I bring salvation to my people. I bring near my righteousness. How? How dare Christian is God bring his righteousness near. He doesn’t want the person Jesus Christ. Emmanuel, God with us. Right not just for the end of December, but every Lord’s day by Lord’s Day, indeed every hour. God with us, Emmanuel, Jesus Christ, He will be with his people, is a motif that is throughout Scripture. Verse 13, continues, my righteousness is not far off. My salvation will not delay. I will put salvation in Zion. I will adorn Israel with my splendor or beauty. That’s what it says more literally, I will adorn Israel with my splendor with my beauty. And God does this because it is exactly what his people need. They have no righteousness of their own. So they need someone to bring God’s righteousness to them from the outside. There’s a Latin phrase, theological phrase in Latin that speaks of this and it’s extra nose. Right extra no s right outside of ourselves. I remember I mentioned this wants to a ninth grade class of ninth graders. And of course, someone thought I was referring to an extra nose. No, not nose extra knows outside of ourselves, salvation outside of us. Isaiah 46 righteousness is not self derived, it’s not derived from the self. They are far from righteousness, and God meets that need and he says, I bring my righteousness near. And this is nothing less than a wonderful biblical doctrine. Again a justification by grace alone, through faith alone, and stated here on account of the righteousness of Jesus, then he brings near what a wonderful plan and promise of God for we his people this morning. And we know to from scriptures that this planet promise was fixed, when, before the foundation of the world. The father chose us in Christ. And God, the Holy Spirit in time applied that redemption accomplished by Jesus, by his life, death and resurrection, and ascension in session, the right hand of God. He brings that to those whom the Father chose, accomplished it for them. Listen to the glorious declaration, self declaration of the Lord. Verses eight and nine. Remember this stand firm, recall it to mine, you transgressors, wrestlers. Remember the former things of old for I am God and there is no other. I am God and there’s none like me. And as we close, let’s hear what God tells his people to do. There’s application here, right in this text. This passage is all about what God has promised to do. We shouldn’t miss in seeing that. The things that God calls us to do as his people in this passage. There is of course, indicative and imperative, what’s true and then what to do. Right perhaps this year, you could resolve yourselves to putting into practice the points drawn from this passage. And there are three of them. What does God tell us to do here? Well, first he says, we see in verse 12, he says, Listen to me. Listen to me. Listen to me. He says, What greater advice? Could you follow them that? Listen to the Lord your God. Brothers and sisters, we are bombarded constantly with things vying for our attentions, for things battling to be listened to. And I’m convinced that the constant stimuli and the unceasing static and noise and information and distraction that assaults our minds constantly and souls like a fire hose to the face. They might be the greatest danger to making God’s people impotent and their ability to think and to reflect in their souls on the things of God. We must get quiet. We must get quiet. We still listen to He says was quiet our minds and our spirits and listen to the Lord and His Word. We’re gonna have time to unpack all of the ways and practices to do this very thing this morning. But I again encourage you to dig into scripture. dig into it and see what it says about reflection about meditation will be going through our class on prayer, Lord willing, this year again, where we look into prayer and biblical meditation. The Christians vital breath. Dabney referred to prayer as it is a helpful study on these things. And I encourage you all to plan to attend that if you have not when we nail down the schedule for that, but we must listen to the Lord. He says in verse 12. And it’s interesting you know, if you look at the do a historical survey on the practice and importance of biblical meditation, Throughout history, how pervasive it’s been how important in all the ages and stages of the church. Our fathers in the faith and theologians have written about biblical meditation. And it’s curious that they all discuss both its importance and its difficulty. Why is meditation so neglected if it is so important and so delightful and so beneficial to our spirits? Because it’s hard. Because it’s hard. It is hard work. There’s no app for it. Look at meditation is hard. It’s not easy. It takes time. It takes practice, practice, it takes patience, and it takes listening, being quiet. Before the law. We’re all probably guilty of listening in our day and age to tons and tons of sermons. But meditating on none of them. I think it was James Usher, if I’m not mistaken. said over 300 years ago, he said, one hour spent in biblical meditation is worth more than 1000 sermons. That was 300 years ago, in our age of limitless access through podcasts and other means, I fear that our reflection and our contemplation and what we take in is thinner and gross, thinner and thinner. So what is heed his warning first to listen to God, listen to me, you stubborn of hard. And then next Secondly, we see in verses eight nine, he says, remember who I am. Listen to me remember who I am. And again, what a glorious thing to reflect upon the person of God and the works of God, the glory of God, to reflect upon to recall to remember who got his in his mighty deeds amongst the people of God. Record His protection, recall his sustaining grace for his people. The same mighty hand that wipes out his enemies is the one that carries you. Remember who he has been for his people and who he has promised to be for them. And after we first listened to him, and then secondly remembered who he is, thirdly, we are to stand firm, stand firm. The older Authorized Version says, show yourselves men. Take courage, take heart, stand firm and be assured from this remembrance of who God is. Listen, remember, stand firm, and it’s like a garland of three rings. We are called to undertake for this new year, I encourage you much more of course can be said. We’re out of time and I’m almost out of air. But remember as we close brothers and sisters as we descend, Back from Mountain Zion and returned to our frenzy world. Let us acknowledge the similarities of God’s people throughout time. Even in our day, even the sameness of ourselves when they hears of Isaiah, they were tempted to forget God and rely on idols. And we are to let us remember that Christ alone, fully and truly satisfied is the only true satiation for your souls. Nothing else can or ever will. Do. So let us remember what is true and what to do. Right What is true, Christ is all powerful. He paid our penalty and freed us from our sins and what to do. Remember, trust hope, be encouraged by what Christ has accomplished. Let us praise. Let’s praise our God brothers and sisters where he is powerful. He has sovereign, He is the Creator, he is the caregiver is the Savior, praise him for his care and his love. How are we to respond to these glorious trues? Again, we remember we trust, we believe, we flee to Christ, we clean to Christ, we throw off our idols, and we look to him and faith for the freedom that he provides. Rest in Jesus, again, the only salvation for your souls. Let us confess, even when we are weak in our weaknesses we don’t look to and rest in Christ. Let us confess that lack of trust and belief that at times we do look to other things to idols, for fulfillment for satisfaction rather than Jesus. Let us address those before God let’s be real before him. beg him for his strength to change us and to grow us through The Gospel, the grace we need brothers and sisters is that trust and believe, believing what he tells us is true in His Word. Do you believe it? You believe that you’re dead to sin and alive to walk in newness of life. Believe it is true. Let us rest truly in Christ. He came. He carried the load, ascend to the cross perfectly on our behalf and carries us throughout our lives by His Spirit, and by prayer he ever lives to intercede for us. He’s done all that was needed to be done, that we will be perfectly righteous before the Father if you’ve not already done so, when will you take hold of the Savior? When will you do so? Will this be the year that you surrender and clean to him by faith and come empty handed was nothing of yourself? fleeting him, fleeting him, throw yourself upon His love and His mercy and His tender loving care will not cast you off. believe him and his means of grace for you. His word and the Holy Spirit working through that word, it changes us, it transforms us, it grows us. And unless we commit to it we risk stagnation and spiritual atrophy and indifference even corrupting and thinking and acting. Remember those words I told you, my for pastor you so he said, This book will keep you from sending and sending will keep you from this book. how true it is. You want to defeat sin in your life. The Holy Spirit working through this book is a major part of that battle plan. You want to grow in holiness and in Christ likeness. Get into the word And get the word into you meditate upon it. plead with him to show you what he wants to reveal to you there. And I challenge you this year, dear Christians as you begin your Bible reading plans, and I encourage you all to be beginning those to spend time meditating upon what you’re reading. Maybe we act and think and live in a way that expects and trust that our God truly will change the world and do extraordinary things, even in this city, even in this church. But you trust that God can and will do so. Will you trust and pray and live in action and in anticipation that God will grow his church for His glory? Will we be a part of that this transition to the next to the New Year, even a new decade. Will you consider these things in your hearts and minds where you live in a whole soul commitment to Jesus Christ, were lying through it all on the Holy Spirit’s in his presence and power in your lives. This is my plea to you at this time. Maybe the next year, the next decade being extraordinary one where the ordinary lives of we God’s people. It’s Monday, normalcy be used for his extraordinary glory and power to the giving of life too many and the changing of many lives again, all to his glory. Amen. Let’s pray. Heavenly Father, we ask that you would again Again, be with us, give us hearts that believe back Lord, we pray increase our faith. We believe help our unbelief help us to rejoice and The light in the lies that you have given us, almost to hope and even thrive as your people as those united to Christ. For it’s in his name that we pray, Amen.