Jesus loves the weak and broken
Isaiah 42: 3 A bruised reed he will not break, and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out.
As we come to the end of this year and look back you may feel like you are a bruised reed:
Bruised because of the circumstance of life, of the strong winds of nature continually beating you down.
Bruised because of your own bad decisions and character flaws. Even the greatest were not perfect. Founder of The Salvation Army, William Booth believed in the sinless perfection of the Christian. I wonder if you would have believed in his sinless perfection if you had entertained the General in his finery and majesty. This is what one lady said of her experience. “On arrival William Booth virtually took over the management of the household. He demanded dinner at once and simply wolfed it, putting his knife in the salt and in his mouth. He next retired upstairs but didn’t like the bedroom I had prepared as it was at the front of the house. So he took possession of the rose room …. . During the afternoon the fire must have annoyed the General in some way because he put it out by throwing water over the fire and hearth … . Nearly all our doors had to be padded with dusters to prevent them banging and orders were sent down to shut the dog up.”
You may feel like you are a smouldering wick:
A smouldering wick is ineffective with little impact in the lives of others. It is also offensive as the smoke irritates others. There are plenty of ineffective and irritating people around!
However, the good news is that Jesus will never break you nor snuff you out. He will never give up on you nor turn His back on you. He is for you, believing in you till the very end.
He loves and uses the weak and broken.
He started His life on earth weak and vulnerable and he ended his life broken and in pain.
He is with you.
5 declarations in order to overcome the enemy this Christmas.
The enemy of your life has always tried to destroy Christmas and he will be niggling away at you during this season. Here are 5 things you can repeat to gain the better position.
1. “Enemy: You are not invincible”
“There is one greater than you, his name is Cyrus” v2-3,25
“There is one greater than him” v4
“You will not last forever, your efforts to survive are futile” v5-7
“You cannot see the bigger picture” v22-24,26-29
Christ was born under the influence of a dictator, Caesar Augustus. In 12 BC he was named Pontifex Maximus = High Priest. Christ, the Son of God, Creator of the whole world was born under the leadership of someone who was full of his own importance.
2. “Enemy: God is with me”
“I am a chosen servant” v8-9
“I have God committed to me” v10
“I am held” v10
The angel went to Mary and said “Greetings you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.”
3. “Enemy: There is no fear in me” v13-14
The angel said to the shepherds “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”
Mary was able to accept that she was a chosen vessel to carry a supernatural destiny in God.
4. “Enemy: In God I will rejoice in my victory”
“Something new is taking place in me”
“I am becoming more effective”
“I am receiving confidence” (Message)
Mary said “From now on all generations will call me blessed.”
5. “Enemy: God will recreate the landscape.”
V18 He will refresh it
V19 He will replant it
V20 He will be known
The angels declared “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests.”
Overcome the enemy this Christmas, afterall he is already defeated!
The 5 calls of God to His Church this Christmas
1. A call of forgiveness, v2
Joseph thought Mary had betrayed him. Mary thought Joseph would not trust her. This relationship needed forgiveness. Every relationship does.
We must model forgiveness, of each other, of ourselves by a God who came to ransom us.
2. A call to remove the obstacles, v3-5
There were many obstacles: Joseph’s righteousness was a stumbling block at first. Mary had to say YES. The shepherds had to search. The Magi had to study. Then the first Christmas family had to become immigrants.
The landscape of situations may never be perfect, but we can change them, we can remove obstacles so that the story continues.
3. A call not to fear man, v6-8
One of the first things Gabriel said to Mary was ‘Do not be afraid’. Don’t expect everyone to be thrilled with the miracle that is inside you. They do not know that the miracle was planted in you. They do not know your encounter with the Divine Presence. Keep your eyes off people and their rejections will not hinder you.
4. A call to look for Christ’s coming, v9-11
It is more than possible that the Magi were Arabic astronomers, the ancestors of Arabic Muslims today, searching for the Messiah and then bowing down to worship the Christ-child. Whenever Christ comes, these strange things happen and will do so. “At 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.” (Phil 2:10-11)
5. A call to trust God, for he knows you, v27
The whole Christmas story shows us that:
The world is under Him, v15-16, 23-24
He is much bigger than we can imagine, v18-22
He never gives up on us, v28
He enables us to rise, v29-31
These 5 simple calls are still there for you and me speaking to us through this amazing story.
Everybody hates a show-off!
“As soon as enough people give you enough compliments and you’re wielding more power than you’ve ever had in your life, it’s not that you become … arrogant … or become rude to people, but you get a false sense of your own importance and what you’ve accomplished. You actually think you’ve altered the course of history.”
—Actor Leonardo DiCaprio.
Isaiah had already warned Hezekiah of who Babylon were and the effect that the nation would have on his if he got too close or became dependent on them in anyway. So what did Hezekiah do when an envoy from Babylon came to him? He began to show off all he had gained and accomplished. Isaiah steps in and tells Hezekiah that because of this then Babylon would soon come and strip him of all he had been proud of.
We often think suffering is the worst enemy for the Christian, it isn’t at all? We are often so very close to God in times of difficulty. We run to Him and He is our helper. The worst enemy comes when we have something to show. When we am full. When He has blessed us. When we have a testimony. When we are healed. When we are provided for. Where there are people who want to marvel in what has been achieved, what we own or who we have become.
We show off.
Look at me. See what I have and who I am.
We need to be reminded we are not that important. If God took everything away from us then that would certainly help. Maybe He might. Let’s stay in humility let’s stay dependent on our God.
It is not pointless!
Hezekiah was part of the Bible heroes who believed that it all turns out for the best in the end. People like Joseph who in Genesis 50:20 said to his brothers “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is being done.”
We live in a world where it is easier to be negative and doom-saying than positive and hopeful.
Last week I witnessed some bizarre behaviour. Walking along the bank of the river Ganges in Varanasi, India I saw a group of people having their early morning stroll laughing. But this was forced almost canned laughter. I asked the man with me what was happening and he told me it had nothing to do with the emotion of joy but that of healthy diaphragm use. What a waste of laughter!
The world needs real joy, real laughter, they need to hear a positive message. This is where the Christian steps in.
Life is tough. It is going to hurt at times. We have an enemy. But we do not go under in the storm. We do not have to pretend or force ourselves to look like we are positive.
We are in the hands of God and even though the day could be traumatic we can say with Hezekiah, “Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish”, v17
Your heard our enemy yesterday.
I am at the brink. I am facing reality.
But my despair will not take me from you but draw me to you.
Today I seek you for a word, I need the prophetic voice of your Spirit.
Before I call you answer me and I hear you now telling me not to be afraid.
The enemy that opposes me by trying to deceive me is your enemy.
The enemy has plans for my life but you have plans for his.
I receive your word.
So I cast all my care upon you.
Here it all is on this piece of paper, I lay it before you. Here are the charges against me.
My eyes are on You Lord of all.
There is one God and it is You.
You created all things and by You they are created.
All I can do and the best I can do is pray.
You speak not only to me but you also declare over the enemy of my life:
“Whom do you come against? Not my child. It is Me, the Holy One!”
“You are only a pawn in my hand!”
“I will defend what you oppose for My own sake!”
Thank you my Lord.
I deserve judgment but because of Jesus I receive your blessing.
In the end I will remain, the enemy will not.
Thank you God
Your grateful child
On what are you basing your confidence upon?
You have looked to ‘Egypt’ to man, but man will disappoint you.
You may as well give up for man is broken incapable of being relied upon.
What despair and discouragement your sin brings you.
Is it truly God you put your trust in? Really?
There was a time when you would worship Him wherever you were but now all there is in your life are church services. (Note: Hezekiah removed the high places that our spiritual fathers had in place of the sacrificial altar in Jerusalem, moving individualistic to the corporate, this was the right thing to do but easy to oppose).
You may as well give up, are you not tired of all this?
I hate fighting otherwise I would fight you, I like talking though, so listen to me.
There’s nothing I cannot give you, but you need to first give up.
You see, your God is my god, He is with me, believe me. (Note: the ultimate deception)
And God says “Give up before it’s too late!”
I am not only speaking to you but to everyone that is connected to you.
For their sake change course, change allegiance, choose me.
It is only going to get worse.
In fact I am speaking to them now so that they will agree when you make peace with me.
Make peace with me and I will make you and all your contacts rich.
The truth is though you have your God, He is just one of many.
Look at all the people in the world with the many gods that they have.
You are the same as them.
Are you listening to me?
Why are you silent?
What must I think of your stillness?
Can you not even argue against me?
I am waiting …
Christmas is a season of joy.
But not for everyone. For some it is a time to get through as quick as possible because of their memories. Or maybe the days are the just the same misery as the rest of the year.
How do people move from sadness to gladness? v1
Or how do people move from winter to springtime? V2
Can those who are weak become strong? V3
Can creation be renewed? V7
How do people walk a journey free from the destruction of the enemy? v8-9
Can people learn to sing again? V10
Can sorrow truly leave in place of true joy? V10
When Jesus came he opened blind eyes and unstopped deaf ears, 2 major signs He was the prophesied Messiah.
Whenever Jesus comes Joy is present.
When He comes again His people will have everlasting joy!
Many believe this chapter is fore-telling a great tribulation to come. Of course for so many of the Church world-wide it will feel like they are in it already because of the conditions they are experiencing.
What encourages me here is that Isaiah was so sure that what He was saying was from God.
He understood that his words were the words of God.
His words would not fail.
This is true of the whole Bible.
What you are holding is the words of God that will not fail.
Not all the words are nice and cheery, like today for example, but they are true.
No one wants to think of a God of judgment. Well, not in the western world anyway. But for those today who are living with injustices, violence, persecutions, oppressive regimes and facing death every day because of their faith, God’s coming judgment is a good thing, something to be welcomed.
We can be sure of this, for the Bible will not fail.
Sometimes it is the best thing to lay low.
Though everyone wants you to rise with power, victory and miracles
Sometimes we cannot do what people demand.
We lie low.
Once valiant now a cry.
Once peacemakers with man now disturbed.
But if this is you then wait. God says …
Now. Now because you have last laid low … I will arise!
You will see new revelation of His Kingship.
The blessing of material things will be His defence, His refuge and his provision of bread and water for your life.
But the true blessing will be you will see the glory of the King.
Your heart will meditate on terror and Zechariah helps in 12:10 when he says the glory of the King.
When we have this heavenly revelation we will be captivated by his beauty and that beauty will be the day He was laid low for us all.
Sometimes it is the best thing to be laid low.