The Everlasting God
The Everlasting God – He is the God we serve.
Today, we will learn from Isaiah that full recognition and acceptance of this nature of our God will demand of us a few things. If we will embrace this aspect of God, as displayed here in Isaiah 40, we would understand that He is requiring us to do four things – Prophesy, Prepare, Present, and Praise.
God is commissioning the prophet Isaiah to address His people. It is believed that the prophet was writing this at a time just before the nation of Judah would go into captivity. The nation of Israel was already dispossessed by the Assyrians. The fist half of his writing had already dealt with mixture of God’s predicted judgment on His people and on some of the surrounding nations and God’s desire to shower His grace on them. Now, as to bring a breath of fresh air, he uplifts his people with God’s words of hope and help—His promised redemption in Messiah—showing them the true nature of the God they are serving—The Everlasting God. In verses one and two of our text, he is implored to prophesy the comfort of God’s people. We are similarly implored to comfort each other. He is prophesying comfort for all; all who would embrace God’s call to make His words their life. We may be in similar situations right now—a distressed, discouraged, depressed, disobedient, distraught acquaintance, who once had a grasp of God’s way, but now only feel in themselves that the future is nothing but gloom. This is your opportunity to prophesy to them the comfort from the Everlasting God. He is here to ‘come alongside’ and share or carry their burdens. He wants to bring healing where there was hurt, restoration where there was ruination, and faith where there was fear. The church needs to live more of this so that the world would see and accept this.
Many times the reason for the distressed condition may be personal sins. If we know that that is the case, then we must correspondingly prophesy that their must be confession from all. You see, God is saying that the sadness of the past times will be removed as He pardons her sins. Yes, He will pardon, but that only comes to us after we have done our part of confessing our sins—I John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (NIV) is a testimony to this. There is no pardon (removal of the penalty and sadness) unless there is confession. Prophesy that without this confession, leading to pardoning, all that a person can expect is the continued punishment for disobeying God—destroying oneself. Every sin has the built in self-destruct component. It has deception, disobedience, and destruction. Confession carries along with it the activity of repentance. It is a tragic fact that today this prophesy of demanding confession and repentance from all is being silenced more and more. Preachers are saying that their members have enough struggles and hardships during the week, they do not need to come to church and be beaten up with preaching about sin and repentance. “Let’s just talk about the love of God; how much God wants to make them healthy and wealthy. God does not want them to feel badly about themselves.” That kind of God, that kind of preaching is not what we see in the Bible. I like what one of my favourite teacher/preacher often say “God wants you DEAD!” Prophesy that the Everlasting God wants you DEAD; dead to self, dead to sin, but alive to His righteousness, ready for His comfort. He is our Everlasting God.
Secondly, the Everlasting God, our God, requires us to Prepare. As in Isaiah’s times when a king was coming through, their preparation included the straightening of the ways, so today, to prepare for His coming to our situations we must straighten our ways. The paths would have become crooked and rough, we need to straighten and smooth the way. Crookedness and roughness come about through overuse or even the normal use of the paths. Crookedness and roughness may be seen as the worries and concerns of this life that we try to handle by ourselves, but did not succeed, and they are now form distractions from what should be our main focus. Crookedness and roughness would impede the progress of the king. We want nothing to impede the progress of God in our lives. A preacher was sharing with me how crooked and distracted many in his congregation had become, “Right now, the congregation is quite small -only 5 families. Depending on what they are doing on a weekend you could have as many as 25 or as few as 10. One lady goes south to help her elderly mother at least a couple of weekends a month and now that their son is in soccer, we probably won't see her until the season is over. Two of the sons of another family have wrestling every Sunday, so we only see the mother and the youngest daughter on those Sundays. We do have one lady who is separated, but is very faithful. Another single guy only comes in the winter when his trailer is closed for the winter season and he is in town. Another mother is so involved in community activities, she often misses church. However, one of her teen-age daughters is helping us with our Thursday night children's program. Only the single girl is an original member. Unfortunately, the older members which have passed away did a poor job of teaching their children to be faithful & some of the children have moved away (some details altered to preserve identity). Straighten it out—remove the clutter and distractions from your life. Do you have the worship of the Everlasting God as top priority in your life?
To continue preparing for the Everlasting God, I want to ask you to participate with me in a simple practice here Shout! Isaiah says that the voice said ‘shout’. Can you shout? Of course you will ask me what to shout. That was the question asked in verse six. The answer was , “Shout . . . man is like the grass that dies away . . ” Shout “Your God is coming!'' In other words, we are saying that man is frail, but God is FOREVER. Prepare by shouting about Him. He said not to be afraid to tell your cities about Him. Have you experienced the all-sufficiency of God in your life so much that you want to shout about it? Have you come to that point in your sanctification where you truly see that you are nothing without God—if He did not act for you, you would not be here? Have you?! Then, shout it out. Let the world around you know that all their strivings show their fragility, and all the while He wants them to experience His everlasting, dependable nature. He will never fail.
Are you involved in the preparation for the Everlasting God? As we straighten and shout, let us also surrender ourselves to Him. When you really consider it you will surely say to yourself, “Why not? What else is there to do?” Isaiah shows us how practical this is because He will rule (v.10), He will feed (v.11), and He will carry (v.11). Being Everlasting does not mean that He is old, decrepit, disillusioned or doting. He is awesome in strength. He can feed over a million travelling through a wilderness or He can feed one depressed prophet whostood up to over 400 men but is now running from one woman. He can carry me and my burdens the full distance—like a lamb in His arms or like a child peacefully sleeping in His arms. Surrender to Him in prayer and practice. Somebody once said, “Prayer is the place where burdens change shoulders.” Prepare by surrendering to the Everlasting God. I cannot think of anything more sensible to do, can you? My eldest sister sent me this story which she got from someone. It s called:
Can you sleep while the wind blows??
Years ago, a farmer owned land along the Atlantic seacoast. He constantly advertised for hired hands. Most people were reluctant to work on farms along the Atlantic. They dreaded the awful storms that raged across the Atlantic, wreaking havoc on the buildings and crops.
As the farmer interviewed applicants for the job, he received a steady stream of refusals. Finally, a short, thin man, well past middle age, approached the farmer. 'Are you a good farm hand?' the farmer asked him. 'Well, I can sleep when the wind blows,' answered the little man.
Although puzzled by this answer, the farmer, desperate for help, hired him. The little man worked well around the farm, busy from dawn to dusk, and the farmer felt satisfied with the man's work. Then one night the wind howled loudly in from offshore. Jumping out of bed, the farmer grabbed a lantern and rushed next door to the hired hand's sleeping quarters. He shook the little man and yelled, 'Get up! A storm is coming! Tie things down before they blow away!' The little man rolled over in bed and said firmly, 'No sir. I told you, I can sleep when the wind blows.'
Enraged by the response, the farmer was tempted to fire him on the spot. Instead, he hurried outside to prepare for the storm. To his amazement, he discovered that all of the haystacks had been covered with tarpaulins. The cows were in the barn, the chickens were in the coops, and the doors were barred. The shutters were tightly secured. Everything was tied down. Nothing could blow away. The farmer then understood what his hired hand meant, so he returned to his bed to also sleep while the wind blew.
When you're prepared, spiritually, mentally, and physically, you have nothing to fear. Can you sleep when the wind blows through your life? The hired hand in the story was able to sleep because he had secured the farm against the storm.
We secure ourselves against the storms of life by grounding ourselves in the Word of God. We don't need to understand, we just need to hold His hand to have peace in the middle of storms.
Surrendering in our preparation is “the peace like a child sleeping, hope everlasting in Him who is able to bear every burden to heal every hurt in my heart; it is a wonderful, powerful place.”
Do not think that His everlasting nature makes Him decrepit, disillusioned or doting. Thirdly, He wants us to Present Him. Present Him to compare with all of the things in our lives that we have used to replace Him. When we Compare Him with our ideology-we will fail. When we compare Him with our idolatry-we will be foolish. Our Everlasting God will pass any tests we give Him. He can more than withstand our scrutiny. He begs us to put Him to the test. He asked, “Has he ever needed anyone's advice? Did he need instruction as to what is right and best? (v. 14.)” All of man’s philosophies, beliefs, dogmas, creeds, principles, thoughts, or ideas without God will come to naught when we look at His wisdom—His wisdom in creating this natural world, in creating man, and in recreating man. As Paul discussed God’s redemption/recreation plan that is through faith in Jesus, in Romans 11, he said: 33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and[i] knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! 34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?”[j] 35 “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them?”[k] 36 For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.(NIV) Understand this, God never had to retract His words because He found out something different than what He had said. So many principles or teachings originating with man have had to be revised because of new findings. On the contrary, all of man’s new findings confirm the words of God. Nothing said by our Everlasting God was ever disproven by man’s findings or discoveries. They all confirm His wisdom. I do not know about you, but I much rather trust the mind of my Everlasting God than my own mind or that of others. Young people, do not be deceived by intellectual pursuits that leave God out of the picture. Remember that all truths are God’s truths.
My ideology without God does not match up to God’s wisdom. My idolatry will not match up to His power, the power of my Everlasting God. An elaboration of the folly of idolatry may be found in Isaiah 44. My idolatry—anything that will consistently come between me and my worship of God is a foolish activity of mine. Remember that congregation I told you about earlier? Well, some of those distractions would add up to idolatries. As Isaiah shows us, you do not have to be wealthy to be idolatrous. Wherever we are on the economical spectrum, we can (and do) contrive our own forms of idolatry. Parents can allow their children to become their idol and children their parents; spouses can allow their partners to become such; employees can allow their jobs to become such; populace can allow their politicians to become such; politicians can attempt to make themselves such; but the Everlasting God will bring down all such. Parents, we have to insist (as long as it is up to us, and it is up to us until that child becomes an adult) that our children know and establish priorities when it comes to the worship of God. Another favored preacher of mine often shares the priorities his parents established in his life as a boy—no ball games on Sunday at church time, or Bible study time during the week. You try that today and some of your friends or even teachers may accuse you of emotionally or socially abusing your child. Some insist that they must be involved in every activity promoted by the school or community, at the expense of their time to worship God. “The family too poor for expensive toys will find something else.” Riches can do it. Poverty can do it. Like the school child who once said to his teacher who was insisting that he paid attention to the lesson said “Teacher, I am so poor, I cannot even pay attention.” So poor that you cannot even pay attention to the Everlasting God? Idolatry is folly. He blows away everything and everyone that is not honoring Him as the Everlasting God. Would you choose to be blown away or be blessed? I will choose the blessings—setting my Everlasting God in the place where He ought to be. He is at the forefront of my life. As You sit above the circle of the earth (verse 22), sit above the circle of my life.
In Psalm 121, the Psalmist asked if he should lift his eyes to the hills as if his help comes from there. He followed by answering that his help comes from the Lord—the One who is the Maker of heaven and earth. Isaiah says “Look up into the heavens!”(verse 26) See His immeasurable creative power—beyond or unlike what any idol can do. PLACE NOTHING BEFORE YOUR WORSHIP OF YOUR EVERLASTING GOD.
And lastly, the Everlasting God requires us to Praise Him. After you have prophesied about His comforting, prepared by surrendering, and presented His immeasurable creative power, it is now time to praise Him. This praise is reasonable. Actually, it is more than reasonable as we deem reasonable to merely mean rationally acceptable. Praise of our Everlasting God is the soundest activity in which we should be engaged. Contemplate these:
How can you say that the Lord doesn't see your troubles and isn't being fair?
Don't you know by now that the everlasting God, the Creator of the farthest parts of the earth, never grows faint or weary?
He gives power to the tired and worn out, and strength to the weak.
they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint
Hello! When we praise our Everlasting God strength will rise. Are you really serious Jacob, Israel, Church, to say “the Lord doesn’t see our troubles and isn’t being fair”? STOP the ‘pity party’ and begin the ‘Praise Rally’! Do you really know of whom you are speaking? This is our Everlasting God— the One who has immeasurable creative power, the One who Created and RECREATED US, the One who Comforts us, the One who Carries us, the One who is the Strongest, the One who sits upon the circle of your life! What else would come from Him but strength? What else should we do but PRAISE HIM! Are you weary, are you heavy-hearted? Get your praise on! Strength will rise. We need to cease making ourselves weak by failing to praise Him from our circumstances. Shout your praise of Him.
Get your praise when you WAIT ON HIM. This is not speaking of passivity—laying around doing nothing, looking for something to happen without any effort on our part. The best way to look at it: “. . . the active nature of intertwining one’s life with the life of God. When intertwining is being done, that person is made strong. He who “waits” (twists his life with God’s) upon the LORD is made strong.” http://www.karlcoke.com/importance_hebrew.htm
On one hand we may do nothing, but on the other hand we may do just we think if most practical and beneficial to us without the direction of God. Oh yeh! Tell me again! Because of our human defective desire to run our own lives, the twists and binds of God are not always easy to accept. We often say, “God, just show me the straight road and the destination and I am okay”! When asked the way to heaven, one man said “Turn right and keep going straight.” While that is a simplistic way of stating it, we know that we do not always have an unobscured vision of God’s complete plans for us. The twists and the binds project the idea of the strands in a rope—one is thus intertwining with God’s ways to receive what God has ordained for him. Our natural tendency is to ‘untwist or unbind’ ourselves, to hold on to what we think is the surer way. Therein lies the deception. Remember that we are talking about intertwining ourselves with the Everlasting God— the One who has immeasurable creative power, the One who Created and RECREATED US, the One who Comforts us, the One who Carries us, the One who is the Strongest, the One who sits upon the circle of my life! What else should I do but be twisted with and bound to Him? With whom would you choose to tangle, the Strong One or the defeated, weak one? I choose the Strong One—my Everlasting One. And so, I will wait on Him. Would we even venture to say as Job, “though He slay me, yet will I hope in Him.” (Job.13:15)? Or, like Paul, would we say, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? (Romans 8:35). Where are His twists and binds taking you? Do not let go. Let God—our Everlasting God!
We should compel ourselves to give the Everlasting God our praise because WE WILL BE DELIVERED: He gives power, He gives strength. Some (youths, young men, verse 30), in their natural abilities would be expected to have these, but our God gives these to us beyond our natural abilities. This will only happen when we first give ourselves, unreservedly to Him. Does He have you in that way? Let the world be amazed as to the composure you have because they hear you praising your Everlasting God in the midst of your ordeals. When others would have their ‘pity parties’ you are having your ‘Praise Rally’.
Our Everlasting God IS THE GOD WHO DELIVERS. Let us prophesy about this, encouraging comfort and confession. Let us prepare ourselves through our surrender to Him. Let us present His wisdom and immeasurable creative power above all distractions in our lives. And now, let us praise Him by waiting on Him.
I have been in the habit of saying my goodbyes with the words “Take care.” Early this year, one of my devotions gave me this wonderful thought that I will leave with you. It said that “Our work is to cast care; God’s work is to take care!” So, “Cast Care.” If I ever again say to you “Take Care” correct me by saying “No, I will cast care.” The best way for us to cast care is to walk in faith and reap the benefits.