SCRIPTURE REFERENCES FOR THIS SERMON:
63:15 Look down from heaven and take notice,
from your holy, majestic palace!
Where are your zeal and power?
Do not hold back your tender compassion!
16 For you are our father,
though Abraham does not know us
and Israel does not recognize us.
You, Lord, are our father;
you have been called our Protector from ancient times.
17 Why, Lord, do you make us stray from your ways
and make our minds stubborn so that we do not obey you?
Return for the sake of your servants,
the tribes of your inheritance!
18 For a short time your special nation possessed a land,
but then our adversaries knocked down your holy sanctuary.
19 We existed from ancient times,
but you did not rule over them;
they were not your subjects.
64:1 (63:19b) If only you would tear apart the sky and come down!
The mountains would tremble before you!
2 (64:1) As when fire ignites dry wood
or fire makes water boil,
let your adversaries know who you are,
and may the nations shake at your presence!
3 When you performed awesome deeds that took us by surprise,
you came down, and the mountains trembled before you.
4 Since ancient times no one has heard or perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides you,
who intervenes for those who wait for him.
5 You assist those who delight in doing what is right,
who observe your commandments.
Look, you were angry because we violated them continually.
How then can we be saved?
6 We are all like one who is unclean,
all our so-called righteous acts are like a menstrual rag in your sight.
We all wither like a leaf;
our sins carry us away like the wind.
7 No one invokes your name,
or makes an effort to take hold of you.
For you have rejected us
and handed us over to our own sins.
8 Yet, Lord, you are our father.
We are the clay, and you are our potter;
we are all the product of your labor.
9 Lord, do not be too angry!
Do not hold our sins against us continually.
Take a good look at your people, at all of us.
10 Your chosen cities have become a wilderness;
Zion has become a wilderness,
Jerusalem, a desolate ruin.
11 Our holy temple, our pride and joy,
the place where our ancestors praised you,
has been burned with fire;
all our prized possessions have been destroyed.
12 In light of all this, how can you still hold back, Lord?
How can you be silent and continue to humiliate us?
65:1 “I made myself available to those who did not ask for me;
I appeared to those who did not look for me.
I said, ‘Here I am! Here I am!’
to a nation that did not invoke my name.
2 I spread out my hands all day long
to my rebellious people,
who lived in a way that is morally unacceptable
and who did what they desired.
3 These people continually and blatantly offend me
as they sacrifice in their sacred orchards
and burn incense on brick altars.
4 They sit among the tombs
and keep watch all night long.
They eat pork
and broth from unclean sacrificial meat is in their pans.
5 They say, ‘Keep to yourself!
Don’t get near me, for I am holier than you!’
These people are like smoke in my nostrils,
like a fire that keeps burning all day long.
6 Look, I have decreed:
I will not keep silent, but will pay them back;
I will pay them back exactly what they deserve,
7 for your sins and your ancestors’ sins,” says the Lord.
“Because they burned incense on the mountains
and offended me on the hills,
I will punish them in full measure.”
8 This is what the Lord says:
“When juice is discovered in a cluster of grapes,
someone says, ‘Don’t destroy it, for it contains juice.’
So I will do for the sake of my servants—
I will not destroy everyone.
9 I will bring forth descendants from Jacob
and from Judah people to take possession of my mountains.
My chosen ones will take possession of the land;
my servants will live there.
10 Sharon will become a pasture for sheep,
and the Valley of Achor a place where cattle graze;
they will belong to my people, who seek me.
11 But as for you who abandon the Lord
and forget about worshiping at my holy mountain,
who prepare a feast for the god called ‘Fortune,’
and fill up wine jugs for the god called ‘Destiny’—
12 I predestine you to die by the sword,
all of you will kneel down at the slaughtering block,
because I called to you, and you did not respond;
I spoke and you did not listen.
You did evil before me;
you chose to do what displeases me.”
13 So this is what the Sovereign Lord says:
“Look, my servants will eat, but you will be hungry.
Look, my servants will drink, but you will be thirsty.
Look, my servants will rejoice, but you will be humiliated.
14 Look, my servants will shout for joy as happiness fills their hearts.
But you will cry out as sorrow fills your hearts;
you will wail because your spirits will be crushed.
15 Your names will live on in the curse formulas of my chosen ones.
The Sovereign Lord will kill you,
but he will give his servants another name.
16 Whoever pronounces a blessing in the earth
will do so in the name of the faithful God;
whoever makes an oath in the earth
will do so in the name of the faithful God.
For past problems will be forgotten;
I will no longer think about them.
17 For look, I am ready to create
new heavens and a new earth!
The former ones will not be remembered;
no one will think about them anymore.
18 But be happy and rejoice forevermore
over what I am about to create!
For look, I am ready to create Jerusalem to be a source of joy,
and her people to be a source of happiness.
19 Jerusalem will bring me joy,
and my people will bring me happiness.
The sound of weeping or cries of sorrow
will never be heard in her again.
20 Never again will one of her infants live just a few days
or an old man die before his time.
Indeed, no one will die before the age of one hundred;
anyone who fails to reach the age of one hundred will be considered cursed.
21 They will build houses and live in them;
they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
22 No longer will they build a house only to have another live in it,
or plant a vineyard only to have another eat its fruit,
for my people will live as long as trees,
and my chosen ones will enjoy to the fullest what they have produced.
23 They will not work in vain
or give birth to children that will experience disaster.
For the Lord will bless their children
and their descendants.
24 Before they even call out, I will respond;
while they are still speaking, I will hear.
25 A wolf and a lamb will graze together;
a lion, like an ox, will eat straw,
and a snake’s food will be dirt.
They will no longer injure or destroy
on my entire royal mountain,” says the Lord.