August 26, 2018-Mr. Wonderful

Jerusalem faces destruction because they trusted falsehoods instead of the Word of the Lord.

“Oh here they go again!” I can just here you saying to yourselves.

Will they ever learn their lesson?  Why can’t they get anything right? How many times are they gonna need the same admonition?

Our patience diminishes rapidly as we read the accounts of our forefathers and we seem to forget their similarities to us today.

Oh here I go again!

If it isn’t one thing it’s another…sinful inclinations like; gossiping in the hallways of life…lustful thoughts…judgmental talk…divisive action…impatience…curtailing our Lord and even flat our disbelief.

When we take stock of our daily thoughts, words and deeds; little, let alone 10%, is devoted to God and our sinful shame creeps in.

Now look at Judah again…maybe we’ve judged them too harshly, after all they’re not much different than we are, and maybe more so than you and especially I would like to admit.

Judah was tempted to take refuge in pleasant sounding lies, selfishness, and false worship.

It’s so easy to do, after all; everyone listens to what they want to hear!  And manipulative people will only tell you what they want you to hear.

Who won’t buy it when a pretty face says satisfaction guaranteed!  SOLD; now this will make me happy!

But we forget to listen to the wise counsel of those who bought it before and found out it was nothing more than a rip off.

Or that so called friend who whispers in your ear that, “you don’t need them! It’s time to treat yourself!”

But the treat is that man or woman outside your marriage; virtually or actually; and our motivation is the sin of selfishness.

We forget the vows we make before our Lord and the commitment through Christ to our spouse before anyone else.

Or that next new wave of worship comes along that is just so much more exciting than the way we’ve always worshiped.

And they don’t strangle your emotions with God’s Word or what God wants.

They free you to be whatever you want to be.

Then the false worship quickly pushes out the one true God…after all there wasn’t much room for the Trinity in my family to begin with.

There is a severe warning from Isaiah today for Judah who suffers much in a similar way.

Their actions deeply offended God, so now he would no longer let them see what He is doing.

And just like that they were out of the loop; the scrolls would not be unrolled in order to be read.

The directives are now encoded, the documents password protected, and they became like a virus waiting to be kicked out by PC security.

You know…it’s gotta hurt when you finally realize you’re not going to be tolerated anymore.

Like that time your boss brought you into his office and said, “We found your efforts less than commendable and your productivity lacking, this organization will no longer require your services…clean out your desk, security will see you to the door.”

Or your girlfriend wrote you a Dear John Letter when you thought everything was great, but her words were all too clear, it was never great and she saw no hope for a future with you.

Or you just sat at home one to many times ignoring the invitation of your friends to go out, so they stopped inviting you altogether surmising that you were never their friend at all.

Ouch, that really hit me where it hurt!  Maybe it’s time to take a closer look at my not so wonderful life.

I guess I was just going through the motions at work and never really produced anything that helped the bottom line.

I guess I did just honor her with my lips but she clearly saw my heart.

Wow, you know I never really was a friend, I just used them for what I wanted and never cared about what they needed.

And just like the Judeans treated God we treated many in our lives and have to admit the silence we earned is deafening. 

When the reality of our self-centered sinfulness settles in, that’s when a steady small voice comes through loud and clear saying,

“Now that were alone and what you thought mattered is no longer distracting you…I want you to know…I have something wonderful for you.”

“But it’s not what you want:  Wisdom? Forget that; the wisdom of this world is on its’ way out!”

“Understanding?,  No understanding here will ever help you comprehend what I have to give.”

Insight?,  Yes, but not insight for you; rather the honest reality, that nothing is hidden inside of you, from Me!”

The Judeans were given a new reality; the destruction of everything they held dear, so God could hold them dearly without fear of them ever being lost again.

Isaiah brought them the hope of Mr. Wonderful, worth more than everything they lost combined!

Everything they thought was so good, apart from God, was only the opposite of everything God created them to be.

But with God all is new and better

Like a whither dried desert becoming a fruitful orchard with enough to feed everyone.

Like deaf ears unstopping to hear the chorus only God’s people can sing.

And like blind eyes being able to see the clarity of the all-seeing God!

It’s an incredible reality, what we were ceases to be and new life is everything we are for eternity.

It just took death to make it so.

Consider the two poisons of ammonia and chloride combined. Separate they kill us, but combined they make something we cannot live without, salt.

The ammonia ceases to be and the chloride ceases to be, the ingredients of death are gone, and the life giving salt is created.

Jesus Death and our Sinfulness which kills us as well were combined.  Then death was no more, and only Christ lived, and we were reborn so He could live in us.

So many times I have heard contractors say…it’s cheaper to tear down and build anew than to renovate.

And God says it too, only the price was the life of His Son and our lives as well. 

Christ died, and along with Him, we had to as well.

Our sinful nature, our sinful bodies, our sin sick souls and everything we ever were had to be utterly and completely destroyed!

The waters of Holy Baptism drowned us.

The Words of Absolution incinerated our selfishness.

Holy Communion replaced our false worship.

The Old was indeed torn down, and Christ re-created us anew in Himself.


And Wonderful has a very special meaning in the Bible

In Judges 13:17-18 Manoah, the father of Samson encounters The Angel of the LORD, and asks Him what His name is.  The Angel of the LORD replies, “Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful?”

And after the Angel of the LORD left, Manoah says to his wife, “We shall surely die, for we have seen God!” (Judges 13:22) 

Isaiah 9:6 clarifies the significance of Manoah’s confession of faith saying, “For to us is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Indeed this Mr. Wonderful is our Savior Jesus Christ and His death with our death is more wonderful still.

What was old is gone; death no longer defines our daily existence; only the new lives we have in Him.

Indeed in Christ we died but because He is Wonderful we wonderfully live, forever with Him. AMEN.