Surely It is God Who Saves Me
Surely It Is God Who Saves Me
Text: Isaiah 12:1-6
What a grand time Easter is! It’s one of the best times of the year! Children get some time off of school and parents get some time off of work so families can be together. Our teachers have been doing cartwheels down the hallway because this year Spring Break and Easter Break have combined to form one big, much-needed break from school.
Easter day is so grand too! Parents find their best clothes. Little boys get new suits or dress shoes and little girls wear the prettiest of new dresses. Churches are packed. Egg dishes are served (One of my favorites!). Children make the mad dash for as many eggs as those little fingers can grab. We get to fill children with smiles and chocolate and sugar, and then send them back home with a sugar buzz. (Enjoy, parents!)
And what grand worship on Easter Sunday! The white colors and fresh lilies breathe life and stand in stark contrast to the blackness and death of Good Friday. Christians belt out hymns and alleluias until they are red in the face. There’s a palpable, tangible excitement and joy in the air. (So if you Easter worship, feel free to come back for a second, different Easter service at 10:00am this morning!) How grand Easter is!
But like Cinderella at the ball, tonight the clock will strike 12 and our Easter bubbles will burst. Tomorrow is Monday. Easter dishes need to be cleaned. Long-missed families have to go home. Try not to remind our teachers or your children, but school starts again tomorrow. Work starts again tomorrow. This means that the real world starts again.
The bills you pushed off your table on Easter Sunday are still unpaid. Arguments will be resumed. Families who “played nice” during Easter brunch will be fighting again. You will remember that pain and in your heart. You will think about your family member that’s sick again. You will worry about the economy, worry about the coming election, worry about your family, worry about your job. You will be afraid again of sickness, catastrophe, disaster, disease, death.
Poof! Easter is gone! The fun and egg hunt games are over. The happiness and smiles have disappeared. Back to the drudgery of same old, same old sad and dreary life.
Why is this? Why do things have to be this way? Why can’t every day be like Easter? Why does there have to be pain and sadness and stress and disappointment?
We know one reason. This world isn’t perfect. Far from it in fact. Every tornado and hurricane; every sudden sickness and case of cancer; every trouble and trial; every minor mistake and every major murder is because this world is imperfect.
From the very beginning perfection and paradise were lost when sin entered the world. From that point forward, nothing in this life would ever be easy again. Why is this life so tough? Because we aren’t living in the Garden of Eden any more! When bad things happen in our lives—be they personal problems, natural disasters, or anything in between—they aren’t because God is punishing us for something. These are simply consequences to an imperfect and sinful world.
So we look to find ways to deal with the stress and problems and pains and fears of a sinful world. Maybe if we eat enough or drink enough or smoke enough our troubles will go away. Maybe if we buy something new and shiny or a new set of clothes or go on a cruise, then maybe we’ll forget about cancer or heartache or arthritis. Maybe if we keep busy at work we’ll forget about our problems at home. Maybe if we run away from church and from God then he’ll just leave us alone and our problems will go away.
But sooner or later we will have to come to realize that none of those things make life better. We try so hard to make life tolerable and happy. But then the next problem and the next trouble and the next hurricane come and we are back to square one with sadness.
You see, the further we push God away, the more we ignore our relationship with him, and the more we live for this life the worse things are going to be. Not only will we fail to ever find happiness that way but we will also fall deeper and deeper into sin.
The prophet Isaiah knew what happens when we do things our own way. He knew what happens when we follow whatever sinful cravings or desires each of us might have. We make God angry. He mentions this in verse 1: “I will praise you, O Lord. Although you were angry with me . . .” Isaiah knew that we all anger God with the sinful things that we do in our lives.
Interestingly, the Bible pictures God being angry as if he is burning with anger and his nostrils are flaring out. God takes sin seriously. God is not happy when we sin all the time. God is not happy if we sin just one time.
Therefore God rendered a verdict of punishment and justice. Bloodshed is the price for sin! Death is the price for sin! Hell is the price for sin! And as God looked out on this world filled with sinners like you and me, and as his nostrils flared out his and anger raged and burned, he decided it was time to execute punishment for all that we have ever done.
So he sent his Son. As anger burned and punishment loomed, God so loved the world that he sent his one and only Son. On Friday we watched as the guilty verdict crashed down on Jesus. On Friday we watched as the punishment of bloodshed and death and hell were executed on an innocent man. On Friday we watched as Jesus laid down his life to take our place of punishment and death.
But then this morning we hear the news announced by Mary and the ladies. Jesus is not there! We sprint behind John and Peter and peer into the empty tomb! We watch with astonished hearts of joy as Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene and makes his way to visit the other disciples.
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! The payment for sin has been made! Death has been destroyed! New life is ours!
So we join in Isaiah’s first song: Surely it is God who Saves Me! Take a look again at what Isaiah says: “I will praise you, O Lord. Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you have comforted me.” Because our loving Lord turned his anger and punishment to Jesus on the cross, he has turned his anger away from us and now comforts us in our troubled and sin-filled lives.
Our song continues in verse 2: “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.” The Lord has saved us from sure and eternal death. What is there to fear or be afraid of?
When we face troubles we trust that a God who loves us enough to save us from sin will also keep his promises to work all for our good. When we face troubles we trust that the Lord will give us strength. When we have sorrow and sadness we remember joy and perfection await in heaven. When we come face to face with death we take comfort in the eternal life that is ours.
This is why Isaiah says in verse 3: “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.” Each and every time we come to Jesus, parched with thirst and starving for help, Jesus feeds us with living water. He forgives. He strengthens. He comforts.
This is the joy of Easter. This is a joy that does not go away. This a joy that lasts longer than the brunch and the egg hunts and the Easter ham. This is a joy that gets us through the rest of this week and the rest of our lives. See what God has done! Surely it is God who Saves Me!
This day, Easter day, changes our lives. It changes our outlook. It changes our attitude. It gives us peace. It gives us strength. It gives us comfort. But this day, Easter day, is not just for us. It’s for others too!
That’s part two of Isaiah’s song. Verse 4: “In that day you will say: ‘Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted. Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world. Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.”
Surely it is God who Saves Me, and because that’s true, there are two things I can’t help doing: thanking and praising God, and telling others what he has done!
Wasn’t it wonderful today to hear the children singing Surely it is God who saves me? Our school children know that one by heart. And they let it rip. When we have chapel on Fridays you can hear them all the way down the hallways. They don’t care about pitch or tone or timbre. They just sing with joy from the bottom of their hearts.
Or I think of my son back in January. We were driving down Belle Terre past the fire station, but he didn’t comment on the trucks or the flag or the fountain like normal. Out of nowhere he blurted out, “Daddy, sometime you have to talk to the firemen because they don’t know that Jesus died on the cross.” Now he doesn’t really know what Palm Coast firemen believe, but he got the main point: Other people need to hear about Jesus!
That’s how Easter joy changes our lives. Like little children bursting with song or unafraid to tell everyone the best news in the world, we make known among the nations what he has done. We proclaim that his name is exalted. We sing for he has done glorious things. We let this known in all the world. We shout aloud and sing for joy, for great is the Holy One of Israel.
Surely it is God who Saves Me! Surely I will thank and praise him for it, and surely I will tell others about it!
Tomorrow is a new day. Tomorrow the egg dishes will be gone, little plastic eggs and empty candy wrappers will lie all over the floor, and family and friends will be on their way. Tomorrow we are back to school. Tomorrow we are back to work. Tomorrow we are back to the grind. Tomorrow we face life again—bills, aches, pains, suffering.
But tomorrow, Easter is not over. Oh no, dear friends. Easter is every day. Every day I wake up knowing that my sins are forgiven. Every day I wake up knowing that God is my salvation. Every day I wake up knowing that God is my strength and I will not be afraid. Every day I wake up with joy in my heart, praise on my lips, and a message to proclaim to others. Every day I can sing:
Surely it is God who saves me; I will trust in him and not be afraid.
For the Lord is my stronghold and my sure defense,
and he will be my Savior.
That’s our song today. That’s our song on Easter day. That’s our song every day, because Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
Posted on April 9, 2012, in Church, Sermons and tagged Church, Easter, Easter Sunday, Fear, Garden of Eden, Isaiah, Isaiah 12, Jesus, Pain, Paradise, Problems, Resurrection, Salvation, Sermons, Suffering. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.