Isaiah 49, Believe God’s Promises Over Your Feelings
1. God’s Faithful Servants May Feel Unfruitful (v1-4)
2. God Promises Abundant Fruit For His Servants (v5-13)
3. God’s Beloved People May Feel Forgotten (v14)
4. God Promises A Blessed Future For His People (v15-26)
Isaiah 49, Believe God’s Promises Over Your Feelings
Isaiah 49, Believe God’s Promises Over Your Feelings
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As we look at Isaiah Chapter 49 this evening I've titled the Message Believe God promises over your feelings, believe God promises over your your feelings.
Now we as believers are always called to walk by faith, and not by sight, and so we don't just base.
Our life and our decisions and build our whole life upon the things that we can see physically, taste and touch.
We don't live just by the physical, but also we continually need to be mindful of and reminded of the reality.
Be that what we feel and what we perceive, whether it be our physical sight or emotionally what we perceive and what we see you know as we try to forecast as we try to analyze and assess things and situations and the circumstances that are happening around us.
We in those cases also need to be reminded to walk by faith.
Leave and not by sight that we can't allow the physical things in front of us dictate what we do over and above what God has declared and we can't allow our internal self and what happens within our minds and hearts to dictate what we do over and above what God has said and what God has.
Declared and so this chapter, I think, is kind of a powerful example of that.
And I think there's some specific things the Lord wants to encourage us in before we get into the actual chapter, though I wanted to run through this quick outline for you.
Pastor Warren Wiersbe suggests this outline as an outline for Isaiah, and so he breaks down the chapters to kind of summarize them.
And give us clarity.
And I bring it up because chapter 49.
Begins that second to last segment and I think last week I probably.
He mentioned the separation from chapters one through 39 and then chapters 4366. The end of the book and how it relates to the old and New Testament.
And there's some cool pictures there, but as you look at that, those last three segments there, from chapters 40 through 66, he breaks it up into three parts, and.
Highlights the emphasis in each of those segments on the different members of the triune nature of God, and so chapters 40 through 48 we saw a lot of the issue of idolatry. We saw God say over and over again. I am the only God. There is no other.
And so there was this elevation of the father, and there is mention of the servant which is Jesus.
And of course the Holy Spirit is present.
But there is a, uh, an extra emphasis on the father in those first eight chapters, and then now as we move in Chapter 49.
The focus is on the sun, and so the servant that is the servant that Isaiah mentions over and over and over again is a reference to the Messiah to Jesus Christ, and so we're heading into this chapter.
This segment of chapters that really focus on the Lord Jesus.
And his life, his ministry, his suffering, his future glory. And so we're going to see that play out, especially in chapters 52 and 53. Those famous chapters that really depict the suffering of Jesus so clearly and so.
So that these chapters are really focused on Jesus and we get to see that a little bit this evening and then finally the closing chapters focus on the Holy Spirit and the Kingdom that is to come.
The millennial Kingdom, where there will be the the full, complete, flowing and draining of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the people on Earth.
And so just I thought it was kind of cool to to see this broken out in this way and to see the emphasis on the father, the son and the Holy Spirit in these chapters and kind of exciting to look at this and know that in the coming days we're going to really be focused on Jesus and the foretelling and the foreshadowing of those.
Things that are to come and have already happened in his first coming and then are to come in the second coming of Jesus.
Now on Sunday I talked about this a little bit, Isaiah really, as a prophet, really reminds us of the authentication of God's word. This is the word of God. These things were written preserved before Jesus.
Was ever born?
And this week, we'll get to be.
Reminded of how.
Faithful God is how amazing God is in being able to declare the end from the beginning and declare these things in advance of the Lord Jesus and everything else.
And so great incredible insights as we get into these chapters this week. But again, just focusing on Chapter 49 tonight. Believe God.
Promises over your feelings.
We're going to look at four points to help us to do that to help us to make that deliberate choice to shift our faith, to grasp.
Hold of what God has declared and pay a little less attention to how we.
Feel about the things that are going on and so we're going to start out. Point #1 here in verses one through 4.
God faithful servants may feel unfruitful.
God faithful servants may feel unfruitful here.
In this chapter we really get to see a little glimpse of the humanity of Jesus, although he is God, he took on humanity, he added humanity to his deity and he experienced what it is to be human, including.
Sometimes the feelings of being unfruitful, and as we get started here in these first verses, it's the Lord talking, and it's perhaps a dialogue between Jesus and the Father.
And as he's kind of interacting with the father about his situation and verse one, it says, listen, O coastlands.
To me and take heed you people from afar the Lord has called me.
From the womb.
From the matrix of my mother he has made mention of my name.
Here is the servant the Messiah.
He's calling out to all of the world.
The Coastlands talking about the far off places from Israel and Jerusalem.
You peoples from afar.
He's calling out to all of the world specifically to the Gentiles.
The Gentiles, of course.
Or anyone who is not Jewish by descent, and so he's calling out to all people all Gentiles.
And he's saying, look, the Lord has appointed me and called me from the very beginning, from the womb.
For a very special purpose, there's something unique about me, although I am a man, Jesus would be able to say.
I'm not just a man, there is something special about me and so he points back to the fact that God would make mention of his name while he was.
In the womb.
And of course, we see this fulfilled in the New Testament and Luke chapter one.
The Angel Gabriel tells Mary that she will bring forth a son and shall call his name Jesus, and so his name is proclaimed before he is born.
While he's in the womb by the Lord to Mary, fulfilling.
Here Isaiah chapter 49, verse one, and so Jesus is calling attention to this effect and into this fact.
And he's saying, look, I am someone to pay attention to because God has appointed me and he has set me here.
He has established me from the very beginning verse two.
He goes on to say he's made my mouth like a sharp sword in the shadow of his hand.
He has hidden me and made me a polished shaft in his quiver.
He has hidden me.
And he said to me, you are my servant, oh Israel, in whom I will be glorified.
Now Jesus continues on.
It can get a little.
Tricky a little bit in verse three 'cause he mentions oh Israel, but it's not talking about the name of Israel there or the the nation of Israel, but the servant Jesus is adopting the name Israel the the name Israel means governed by God and when Jacob was given that name Israel it was God called to Jacob.
And to his descendants to be governed by God.
And Jesus is the fulfillment of the ideal of what Israel, the Nation of Israel was intended to be.
Be the nation that is governed by God, the nation that is the light to all of the world.
To draw people to relationship with God to fellowship with God.
That was what God intended purpose for the nation was, but Israel, as a nation, never lived up to that, but Israel.
Is the fulfillment of that he is governed by God.
He said I, you know, only do the things that the father has called me to do sent me to do I do the will of the father.
And Jesus declared himself to be the light of the world, and so he here is again, elaborating on the fact that.
He is not just some random guy.
He's not just some extra special prophet but but there's something even more unique and special about.
About him, he says he's made my mouth like a sharp sword.
Speaking of the word and and of course you can see the reaction of the religious leaders in the New Testament at the words of Jesus.
Later on, when Jesus returns in Revelation Chapter 19, you see him come and the sword comes out of his mouth, and maybe that's a literal, literal physical sword coming out of his mouth in his return.
Or maybe that's metaphorical and pointing back to this kind of thing, but but like a sharp sword, his words are they.
They cut to the heart.
They are able to divide between joints and marrow and discern the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Jesus said there's something powerful about my word.
It says he made me a polished shaft in his quiver.
He has hidden me.
For an arrow, you want it to have a very smooth shaft so that there's no bumps or curves or anything, so that as it's flying through the air, there's no wind hitting it that causes it to deviate from the path from the course.
Again, Jesus is saying I'm Israel, I'm governed by God and and I'm directly on course and I'm going to hit the target.
I'm not going to miss the.
Mark Sin means to miss the mark and the archery illustration is often used right.
Jesus is not going to miss the mark.
And and yet.
This little phrase here in his quiver, he has hidden me.
Is interesting because there seems to be this idea of.
There's this perfect person, this perfect one that is the prime example that is incredibly powerful that is exceedingly above all other humanity, or all of all other mankind.
And yet he has been hidden.
In a quiver.
He's in the shadow of his hand.
He's not quite visible.
And and the world is not understanding and recognizing who is there in front of them.
And so it kind of brings out verse four.
Then I said, I have labored in vain.
Think about Jesus.
Saying these words, then I said, I have labored in vain.
I have spent my strength for nothing and in vain.
Yet surely my just reward is with the Lord.
And my work with my God.
Here I would suggest that we are seeing.
An emphasis on the humanity of Jesus.
Much like I've been sharing as we go through the Psalms and the Book of Job and.
Those kind of pieces of the scripture.
That it is appropriate and OK for us to express.
To the father, the things that we are experiencing, the things that we are feeling Jesus in his humanity experienced emotion.
And it wasn't just all positive emotion.
It wasn't only the good things that.
He experienced, but he experienced.
The challenging things and the things that we struggle with and wrestle with, and the emotions that we battle.
He experienced as well.
The author of Hebrews in Hebrews chapter 4.
Encourages us to draw near to God because.
We know this about him.
Seeing then that we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the son of God, let us hold fast.
Our confession, for we do not have a high priest suit, cannot sympathize with our weaknesses.
But was in.
All points tempted as we are yet without sin.
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
And so the author of Hebrews reminds us the humanity of Jesus means that he is able to sympathize.
We do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize.
It's a double negative.
It's bad English grammar, but this was written in Greek so.
It doesn't matter.
But it's emphasizing the reality.
We do have a high priest, and he can sympathize with our weaknesses because he was tempted at all points he experienced.
All of those things that we experienced, he experienced the fullness of humanity.
And so, just as we might find ourselves in a position where we say I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and in vain.
It's all been worthless and useless.
I've worked so hard and and we can become very discouraged.
We can become very despondent.
We can become very depressed over how much we've given and how little it mattered.
And here through the Prophet Isaiah, we're getting a little glimpse that that Jesus.
Was tempted in that way also.
He didn't arrive to much fanfare.
There wasn't the appropriate response to.
But the significance of who he was the creator now.
In the flesh now there with humanity.
John chapter one, the apostle John tells us he was in the world and the world was made through him.
And the world did not know him.
He came to his own, and his own did not receive him.
And so how would you feel?
If the people that you love rejected you.
Or ignored you or couldn't care less.
That you were even there.
How would you feel if?
You expanded yourself greatly and sacrificed significantly for people that you love and they just wouldn't even.
Pay you any attention.
It's not even about offering gratitude, but just not even be willing to receive.
What you sacrifice so greatly for them and on their behalf?
And as we.
Think about that.
Maybe there's not even like I don't even have to think of a hypothetical situation.
You might be saying, like that is the reality of my life.
I know what that feels like and it feels terrible.
This is what Jesus experienced.
This is what he walked through.
And and so here in verse four we get this idea that.
There was this temptation.
To allow those feelings to allow those emotions.
To dictate to rule but.
But of course he doesn't send.
He doesn't cave and give in to the lies.
But he also acknowledges the reality.
This is what I'm feeling.
This is what I experienced.
This is what's going through my head.
It seems like it feels like I've labored in vain.
Pastor David Guzik says we certainly must believe that one of the great temptations he faced was discouragement.
This passage shows us that even though he ministered in difficult and discouraging circumstances, he never gave in to discouragement.
But always put his trust in the Lord.
Because although he says it feels like I've labored in vain, I've spent my strength.
I've worked so hard for nothing.
It's all been in vain, but he goes on to say yet surely my just reward is with the Lord and my work with my God.
Here Jesus is saying I'm walking by faith and not by sight.
Listen God's faithful servant, the most faithful servant who ever lived, the Messiah Jesus.
Looked at his life, looked at his ministry.
And there were times where he says this just feels like it's all in vain.
There's no real value.
There's no real fruit coming from it.
And if Jesus can battle these kinds of emotions and feel these kinds of things, it's no surprise that you and I might as well the most faithful servants among us may feel unfruitful.
And these are emotions.
These are feelings.
These are things that we might be contemplating and wrestling with and considering.
And we need to follow the example of Jesus.
And walk by faith.
Let me remind you of what Paul said in First Corinthians chapter 12.
Talking about the body of Christ.
Not everyone can be the hand.
Not everyone could be the feet.
Not everyone can be the eyes but also the body can't live without the hands or the feet or the eyes that all of those members have their different roles and responsibilities.
And and they're all valuable.
And so Paul says, in first Corinthians 1222 those members of the body, which seemed to be weaker are necessary.
The members of the body.
That seemed to be weaker.
I'll take a little bit of liberty here.
And say those members.
Of the body which feel like they're weaker.
Those Members, you guys you are necessary.
Those that we think to be less honorable, or those that think themselves to be less honorable.
These actually, Paul says.
Have greater honor.
The unpresentable parts have greater modesty.
In contrast, our presentable parts have no need.
There's these different roles.
These different parts of our service unto the Lord in the Kingdom of God.
But Paul makes the point in verse 24 God composed the body, having given greater honor to the part that lacks it.
That there should be no schism in the body, but that the Members should have the same care for one another.
Here's the reality.
There is no.
Lesser important member.
Of the body of Christ.
But very often we can feel like a lesser member of the body of Christ, and we can feel like all the work and all the labor and all the effort.
It's just unfruitful and worthless, and probably probably because I'm a lesser member of the body of Christ, and I'm not that talented and there's just not that much.
That you know God wants to do in my life or through my life.
But that's how we feel.
That's not what God is promised.
That's not what God has said.
The reality is.
There is no unessential member.
There is no dishonorable member of the body of Christ and so.
We have to learn to walk by faith.
And not by sight.
And be honest and feel the things that we're feeling when we feel like it's all in vain and all futile.
But then continue.
To trust the Lord and serve the Lord in the role that he's given to us, Pastor Thomas Constable says this verse clarifies that feelings of futility and faith in God need not be mutually exclusive.
The servant trusted God for the final outcome of his ministry.
Though as he was carrying it, it appeared to be ineffective.
He trusted God.
Because what he saw.
Ah, the visible work.
The visible evidence.
Did not match.
The effort that was being put in.
The visible results.
Were not equivalent to the importance.
Of what was going on.
But he entrusted himself to the father, and he says, I'm here to do the will of my father.
Listen, the reality is.
Serving God will always require faith.
And we're going to have to learn to not base our response in our life and our faithfulness and our continuing.
On the things that we can see.
The evidence that presents itself for us.
We are blessed, of course, if we get to see fruit develop, but we need to.
As Paul later on, would encourage Timothy that were to be like hard working farmers.
We need to be investing and thinking about the long term, the the long whole picture, not just.
The immediate results that we want and hope for and wish that we could see.
Isn't born overnight?
You know that old saying, I've quoted it often.
The best time to plant a tree for shade for fruit was 20 years ago.
The second best time is today right now.
If you did it 20 years ago.
That now you could be enjoying the fruits.
But there's a lot of time that you're investing and planting and watering and tending and pruning and doing all that.
That work and effort too later on.
And maybe even.
Not even in your lifetime, but it's the next generation or the next owner of your home that that really gets to experience the benefits of that fruit.
The benefits of all that labor.
We we have to understand service unto the Lord in a similar way.
Many times it's going to feel unfruitful.
But the fruit.
The seeds planted will grow.
It might take them 20 years to grow.
And so when you're serving in the children's ministry.
You might be in eternity.
Before that, fruit really begins to develop.
But think about that the the power of the word of God planted in a the heart of a child.
That later on in their 40s and 50s.
That effort that was put forth 30-40 years ago now is starting to bear fruit, not now. It's starting to develop and grow, and those the seed is opening up and and the spiritual life is beginning to develop and and it was.
Partly because of that effort that was given.
So long ago.
By those who ministered to that person as a child.
Parents, of course, can immediately think of their own children and all of the work and all of the effort and all of the.
The thoughts and prayers, anxieties, and and everything that goes into it.
And there must be many times where it just seems so unfruitful.
But parent you still need to be faithful to serve the Lord in your parenting.
Even when you don't see those seeds develop right now, even when you don't see the the good results that you would hope for and wish for, you can't let the the right now.
Once you see the visible, the sight.
From faithfulness to the Lord.
Again verse four.
Then I said, I have labored in vain.
I've spent my string for nothing and in vain.
Yet surely my just reward is with the Lord and my work with my God.
God has all these things.
I've done this unto him at his request.
So it's all in his hands.
He knows exactly how these things are going to develop, and I'm going to entrust myself and all of my labours, and every last bit of energy to him.
Well, moving on to verses 5 through 13 gives us point #2 and that is that God promises or sorry God promises abundant fruit for his servants and so here we get kind of a response from the father to the son as the sun is.
Wrestling with experiencing the emotions of seeing fruitless.
Ministry fruitless service.
Unto God and God says, no, that's not how it's going to go.
Let me remind you to walk by faith and not by sight.
Verse 5 and now the Lord says who formed me from the womb to be a servant, to bring Jacob back to him so that Israel is gathered to him.
For I shall be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and my God shall be my strength.
Indeed, he says, it is too small a thing that you should be my servant to raise.
Up the tribes of Jacob.
And to restore the preserved ones of Israel.
I will also give you as a light to the Gentiles that you should be my salvation to the ends of the earth.
So in verse 4.
The servant Jesus the Messiah is saying man, it looks like all of this is in vain.
There's no real strong good results coming forth.
I'm trusting God, but I just don't see.
I don't feel like a lot is happening and now the father responds and says, hey.
I'm the one who formed you.
I put you here on the earth to bring Jacob to bring the nation back to right relationship with God, but.
You know what?
That's too little.
Of a thing.
That's not a big enough result of your work in your ministry.
That's that's too little of a thing and so.
You're not just going to be.
The one who restores the tribes of Israel.
I will give you as a light to the Gentiles that you should be my salvation to the ends.
Of the earth.
A light to the Gentiles.
Fulfilled, of course, by the life and Ministry of Jesus and then on into the book of Acts that.
Jesus is not just the savior for Jews.
He's not just the savior for the descendants of Abraham.
But whoever calls on the name of.
The Lord will be saved as.
Paul walks through in Romans Chapter 11.
The Gentiles have been grafted in.
To the Kingdom of God in this way by faith.
In Jesus Christ.
And so, as Jesus was ministering, he was ministering to the Jewish people, not seeing a response, not seeing.
But the father says, don't you?
Worry about it.
In time, you're not just going to restore Israel.
But you are going to be a light to the Gentiles.
You're going to be.
Salvation for all humanity.
Verse 7 thus says the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, their holy one.
To him who men despise is to him whom the nation of horrors to the servant of Rulers kings shall see and arise.
Prince is also shall worship because of the Lord, who is faithful.
The holy one of Israel, and he has chosen you.
Could say it looks like it's all in vain.
Man despises me, but in verse 7 the father says to the one who man despises.
I'm addressing you directly, answering those feelings, answering those emotions directly.
The nations abhor me.
Jesus could say.
To the one whom nations abhor.
Here's what you need to know.
Kings shall see and arise.
They don't esteem you now.
The way they should you are the creator.
You are the son of God.
You are there in their presence on Earth and nobody cares.
But it won't always be that way.
Pretty soon kings shall see you and arise.
Princesses shall worship.
Because of the holy one.
I'm sorry because of the Lord.
His faith were the holy one of Israel and he has chosen you.
This is really what Paul is alluding to in Philippians chapter 2.
Contrast between the humility of Jesus.
And the glory.
That he receives.
Because Jesus humbled himself being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself, became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
Therefore, direct result of the humbling direct direct result of the ministering and exerting great energy to serve the Lord, even though it seemed like it was in vain.
Therefore God has highly exalted.
Him and given him the name which is above every name.
That at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow, even the kings and the Prince.
Is then all glory and honor that is due to him will be fulfilled and recognized by all humanity.
Every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
And if you back up a little bit before these verses there in Philippians 2, Paul says let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.
This point here God promises abundant fruit for his servants.
It's true of Jesus, of course.
But it's also true of us.
That is, we humble ourselves and serve the Lord in spite of.
The lack of honor and recognition that we receive in spite of the gratitude that we receive, we failed to receive in spite of, you know, the vanity, that it all seems.
There will be fruits and reward in the future as a direct result of our humility to humble ourselves and serve the Lord now.
Going on in verse 8 thus says the Lord in an acceptable time.
I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you.
I will preserve you and give you.
As a covenant to.
The people to restore the earth to cause them to inherit the desolate heritages.
That you may say to the prisoners, go forth to those who are in darkness.
They shall feed along the roads, and their pastures shall be on all desolate heights.
There's some powerful pictures here of the effect of Jesus Ministry.
Those who are bound in sin, bound in chains bound to death, bound in Hades, released set free.
Because of the work of Jesus, the service.
Of the Lord.
Today is the acceptable time, the day of salvation.
Paul quotes this in Second Corinthians chapter.
6 There's a lot of quotations that you can kind of tie into this chapter. Chapter 49. In looking at the life and Ministry of Jesus in the New Testament, verse 10.
They shall neither hunger nor thirst, neither heat nor sun shall strike them, for he has mercy on them, will lead them even by the springs of water.
He will guide them.
I will make each of my mountains a road and.
My highways shall be elevated, surely.
These shall come from afar, look those from the north and the West.
And these from the land of Sinim.
Here we're looking at the father is pointing us to the millennial Kingdom of Jesus, where there will be this massive.
Pilgrimage to Israel for the Jewish people to be there with the Lord in the promised land that God had given to them, and so we see a little bit of that in the Kingdom of Israel the nation of Israel.
Today there has been somewhat of a return, but in the millennial Kingdom there will be this universal return.
All the Jewish people will go to Israel, will go to Jerusalem.
And so the mountains that previously were obstacles, keeping people from going back and returning to the nation and being there.
Now those mountains become a road and the highways shall be elevated.
They'll be this easy straight path.
For the people.
Of the Lord to be returned to him, and so now in the moment in the life and Ministry of Jesus.
There is a few people who have gathered, but the majority of the nation.
The nation as a whole rejected Jesus.
The father is pointing ahead and saying there's going to be this day where all of them will return.
All of them will get on the highway and head fast.
Head quickly to be with you.
And there's going to be this kind of impact in the millennial Kingdom to your presence and to the reality of who you are.
Verse 13 sing, oh heavens, be joyful.
Earth and break out in singing or mountains for the Lord has comforted his people and will have mercy on his afflicted.
They're in that millennial Kingdom. There's going to be a glorious glorious restoration of Israel of the earth as Jesus rules and reigns for 1000 years from Jerusalem and so.
The father points ahead.
There is not a lot of fruits abundant now.
There's not a lot of evidence.
Of this amazing massive work that corresponds with the significance of who Jesus was and what he did for us.
The the real radical transformation of things would take place afterwards.
The real fruit of all of the efforts that Jesus.
Endured and put in, and walked in in his life were fulfilled afterwards.
This is the way that God works.
He promises abundant fruit for his servants.
But we're not.
Always going to see that, and so he's calling us to walk by faith and not by sight to believe his promises over how we feel about things to look at.
The example of Jesus and see.
How the fruits of his life?
And ministry and efforts.
After his death after his resurrection after.
He had invested so greatly.
And it costs him everything.
Then later on and the fullness of that fruit hasn't yet been realized, but that fruit has been developing and blossoming and growing ever since.
And so there was abundant fruit.
Even though I'm sure from.
Jesus is perspective.
From the disciples perspective, from the religious leaders perspective, like it all, just looked like it was in vain.
In those moments, and at those times, the Messiah's ministry seemed to be a failure.
But the father says it will bear fruit.
In its time at the right time.
Pointing to the second coming as an example, of course.
Spiritually we get to experience the fruit of that right now by faith in Jesus Christ.
God promises will be fulfilled and those seeds sown will bring forth fruit.
So let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.
It stirs up in my mind the.
Parable of the talents again, Matthew 25.
The different servants, given different portions, sums of money.
Saying put it to work.
Invest it, do business until I come back the master said.
And each one was called to.
Engage to take those resources and put them to work.
In a similar way, you and I we've been given by the Lord Resources, he says hey, I'm coming back.
Put this to work.
Looking at what we see in front of us.
Looking at the evidence that is immediate.
We say you.
Know what I'm going to bury this talent?
It just doesn't seem like I'm going to get good results like the market is just not doing good right now like it's just I.
I just, I'm just going to bury it.
One day we'll stand before the Lord.
And and I, I wonder.
Not that he would need to do this, but the Lord could do this, right?
If you would.
Kind of show the alternate.
Path, what if you had invested that talent?
Like the Lord could just kind of throw on a big screen here.
Like let's let's consider.
What if you had spent that hour?
Doing that thing that I put on.
Your what if you had spent a?
Couple days on the mission field, what if you had prayed for those people as I put them up on?
What if you had and?
Played that out before us.
Oh, and the impact that it would have had and how it would have transformed lives.
And yeah, maybe you wouldn't have seen it right then, or you didn't see it right then, but 40?
80 years later, the fruit is continuing to grow and develop, and abound from that investment that you made in responding to what God put upon your heart.
And you would look at that and you would say, well, how was I supposed to know that it would have such an impact and God would say because I told you so.
Walk by faith and not by sight.
It doesn't matter how you feel about your service to God, it doesn't matter the results that you see.
What matters is what is God calling you to?
And are you being faithful in that?
Don't bury the talent.
Don't bury it because it feels insignificant.
It's just I mean other people got 10.
Not only got this one, it's not.
I don't even see any results from it.
So like, why bother?
The enemy wants to get us to think like that to focus on the visible.
The immediate results.
So that we just quit before we even start.
But the Lord calls us to think differently, to walk differently.
In Matthew chapter 10.
About those who find their life will lose it and he loses his life for my sake.
Will find it.
That is, look if you.
Are insisting on getting the immediate results and seeing what you want to see and having all of your goals and desires met.
You're going to lose it all.
But if you will lose your life.
And not actually.
Make it important whether or not you see the results that you want to see.
Whether you see the evidence, whether.
You see the fruit.
If you will serve the Lord regardless.
For the sake of the Lord, he says you'll find your life.
He goes on to give some examples. If you receive a prophet in the name of a prophet, you receive a prophet's reward.
You invest in the life and ministry of a prophet.
You participate in that to the degree that you're able to.
Maybe it's just a small part, it's just the receiving. You're not the one doing the prophesying. You're not the one you know going out there and being the problem, proclaimer but but but receiving and helping it and showing hospitality and you get to partake in the prophet's reward.
There's abundant fruit that comes from that.
He says even if you give a cup.
Of cold water.
To the little ones.
Serving your kids.
Serving in children ministry.
Serving some random kid in the streets or showing the love of Christ and and serving the Lord in.
That way he says I.
I surely say to you, you shall by no means lose your reward.
You will not lose.
There will be a reward.
There will be fruit that comes from the most simple acts of service.
Unto the Lord.
But if you're seeking after this vision of victory and success and glory and just abundant fruit and wonderful things, because you know, you're so faithful to the Lord, you're going to lose a lot.
But if you're willing to lose your life for my sake and serve the Lord and be obedient to him regardless of the immediate results and how that it.
Is seen in your eyes and the eyes of those around you.
You'll find it there will be much fruit.
Paul tells us in First Corinthians chapter 15, verse 58. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
You know it's not in vain.
God promises fruitfulness.
To his servants.
Believe God's promise is over.
Well, thirdly we continue on in verse 14.
God, beloved people may feel forgotten.
Notice the pattern God faithful servants may feel unfruitful.
Now as we move on, we're kind of changing subjects.
We're addressing the nation of Israel as they are preparing to depart from Babylon, being released by King Cyrus, who conquered Babylon and released to go back to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple and.
It's an exciting time, but the people of God at that time, the.
Nation of Israel.
They don't feel it.
They don't recognize the times that they're in and how exciting this is.
Instead, they're stuck in this mode, and this idea of.
Commentator FB Meyer puts it this way. These assurances in the rest of the chapter here. These assurances were given to the chosen race on the eve of their return from Babylon. They were timid and reluctant to quit. The familiar scenes of their captivity.
They dreaded the dangers and privations of their way home, and questioned whether the great empire of their captors would ever let them go or allow their city to rise from its ruins.
Therefore, the Lord's voice takes a tone of unusual persuasiveness.
They're timid, they're fearful they're comfortable in Babylon.
And so now is the opportunity to return comes about.
They're not jumping on it, they're not.
Excited about it.
There's a like they're thinking about the dangers on the road. They're thinking about the issues they're thinking about, but God's rejected us and we've been stuck here in Babylon for 70 years.
He's forgotten us.
Are we going to venture out now in faith, and you know, we've been suffering for so long?
And clearly God is not with us anymore.
Why are we going to risk our lives?
When we don't see the evidence of the Lord being with us in his presence.
Zion, The Nation of Israel, said, the.
Lord has forsaken me.
And my Lord has forgotten me sometimes.
God's beloved people feel forgotten.
It's important to factor into this understanding that Israel was in that place.
Because of their rejection of God in his words and their rebellion against God.
But God over and over throughout the book of Isaiah and through the other prophets he is declaring I haven't cast you away.
I'm not giving up on you.
This is discipline.
This is calling you back to right relationship and fellowship with me.
And after the 70 years of captivity, as you have been corrected in your idolatry, you'll be brought back to the land of Israel.
And there's going to be a a new work.
Sometimes God's beloved people feel forgotten.
Even though they're faithful to the Lord, but even more likely is to feel forgotten.
When we are experiencing the consequences.
Of our own sinfulness and rebellion.
I'm sure there are many times that Joseph felt forgotten, right?
But it tells us over and over and over again throughout his trials of slavery and imprisonment.
The Lord was with Joseph.
And he was faithful he wasn't there because.
Of his sinfulness.
He expressed over and over.
He felt distant he felt like God had given up on him.
He felt forgotten.
And so that happens, but.
But this is even more focused, even more particular.
For the person who is suffering the consequences.
Of sin, I didn't.
Walk with God.
I didn't pay attention.
I didn't listen to God.
I didn't obey God.
And suffering the results of that receiving.
Payment for that thin.
There is a great temptation to feel forgotten.
To feel like yeah, I'm getting what I deserve.
And I can.
Just expect God to not be around any longer.
I can just expect to be on my own.
I can expect bad things for the rest of my life.
I can expect more and more consequences.
That's just what I can expect.
But that's not the truth.
That's not the reality, and God is going to go on to explain that to the nation.
You may feel forgotten, but you're not forgotten.
And even though you're experiencing what you are experiencing because of your own sinfulness and rebellion against me and your hatred.
Towards me even.
That doesn't mean I've given up on you.
No, in fact point #4.
God promises a blessed future for his people.
It's interesting those who perhaps feel like God has forgotten then.
God would be saying to them.
Listen, you don't see you don't understand.
The blessedness I have in store for you the future.
You feel all the guilt and all the shame and remorse and the hurt and the consequences for.
What has already taken place?
But you need to understand there's still good things ahead.
There's still a path to victory from here.
In the place of consequences and defeats.
There's still a path to glory.
There's still a path to blessedness.
Has a blessed.
Future for his people, he promises it.
Let's work our.
Way through these verses, starting in verse 15 and 16, he says, can a woman forget her nursing child and not have compassion on the son?
Of her womb.
Surely they may forget.
Yet I will not forget you.
See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands.
Your walls are continually before me.
God says, how can I explain this to you?
Let me let me try to.
Get you to picture it.
Can a woman forget her nursing child?
How unusual is it for a woman to forget her nursing child?
It's rare, it's unusual, and it's.
Typically great tragedy when that happens.
God says it might happen, it is.
Really UN normal, though it is really unnatural.
I was listening to a pastor consider this verse and he was talking about doing baby dedications and how so many times, especially if the child is young like.
When the time comes to pray, the mom doesn't close her eyes like she's watching you pastor.
I'm watching you with the kid like you.
Be careful and don't drop the kid and so like there's this like.
Mothering protection constant presence on the mind of the mom can, uh, worse, uh, a woman forget her nursing child.
No, yes it happens.
It's tragedy, but oh, it's so rare it's we understand.
OK, there's there's a great sense of attention and protection and and occasionally it might happen.
And it's a tragedy when it does so.
God says, surely they may forget.
But I will not forget you think about how unusual that would be, how rare that would be, and understand that it's not even rare for me, God saying.
It's not like God usually doesn't forget people, but you know, congratulations, you're the exception.
He's forgotten you.
No, you think look.
There are exceptions to that rule.
But when it comes to my love for you, my compassion on you, there is no exceptions.
I will not forget you.
There is no exceptions.
The children of God, those who have believed in Jesus Christ, those those who have received what he has accomplished for us upon the cross, are not forgotten.
No matter what you face, no matter what you experience, no matter what circumstances around you would tell you otherwise, they're not the truth.
Again, we walk by faith and not.
By sight, God promises look.
I have not forgotten you so much, so see I've inscribed you in the palms of my hands.
I've inscribed you in now.
There's a very.
Simple understanding of this that you know first of all, God is not physical and so he's not talking about literally, you know, but he.
But he's giving an illustration that that people could understand, like he's like I tattooed your name on my hand.
So there's no way I could forget you 'cause I got the tattoo every time I use my hand I see the tattoo like that's kind of the the parallel that Jesus is or that the father is giving here.
But but then, of course we we can see so much more in this.
In Jesus having been crucified, his hands pierced.
Saying, I've inscribed you.
I died on the cross for you remember when?
Thomas missed out on the first meeting with Jesus with the disciples.
John, chapter 20.
Jesus showed up again.
He said to Thomas, reach your finger here and.
Look at my hands.
Look, I've inscribed your name, Thomas.
I haven't forgotten you, Thomas.
And he said, my Lord and my God, Paul tells us in Romans Chapter 5 that God demonstrated his love toward us, and that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Yes, you might even be suffering because of the consequences of your own sin.
And but God demonstrated his love towards you.
And that even while you were still sinners even before time began, and he knew exactly what you would do and how terrible you would be and how awful you.
Would blow it.
He would say see.
Look right here.
I inscribed you.
In my hand.
Where the nail went through that was.
That was for you because I love you.
It's my love demonstrated for you.
And listen, Paul goes on to say if we were enemies when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God.
How much more having been reconciled shall we be saved by his life?
God promises a blessed future for his people.
He paid the price for your sin.
He has so much more in store for you blessings and promises ahead.
Your sons shall make hate.
Your destroyers and those who laid you waste shall go away from you.
Lift up your eyes, look around and see all these gathered together and come to you.
As I live says, the Lord.
You shall surely clothe yourselves.
With them all as an ornament and bind them on you as a bride does.
You've been experiencing the destroyers.
You've been experiencing the being laid waste.
But all of that's coming to an end.
This season of discipline.
This season of destruction.
The season of consequence.
It's coming to an end.
Lift up your eyes look and you're going to see something different take place.
I haven't given up on you.
I haven't forgotten you.
There's still good things ahead.
Verse 19 for your waste and desolate places, and the land of your destruction will even now be too small for the inhabitants and those who swallowed you up will be far away.
The children you will have after you have lost the others will say again in your ears.
The place is too small for me.
Give me a place where I may dwell.
Then you will say in your heart.
Who has begotten these for me?
Since I have lost my children in M desolate, a captive, and wandering to and fro, and who has brought these up.
There I was left alone, but these.
Where are they?
There's this interesting picture that God paints here.
Again, the consequence, the results of their sinfulness and describing here losing their children.
And it can feel like in that moment that's it.
I've lost so much and everything that was important to me and.
But God says, look, I've got a surprising blessing for you and in the future it's just going to dawn on you.
For a second and say wait a minute.
Where did all these kids come from?
I lost all my kids.
I experienced the consequences of my sin.
I lost everything because I disobeyed God.
How is there so much blessing in my life now?
When when did this happen?
How did this happen?
Where did this come from?
This the surprise of blessing that like the the IT dawns on.
You later on.
Wow, look like God is done and I wasn't even conscious of I wasn't even aware of it.
I was so caught up and focused on how stupid I was and how dumb I was and how terrible I was against the Lord.
I didn't even realize that God was already beginning to bless me, but I just couldn't see it.
'cause I felt so forgotten.
Verse 22 thus says, the Lord God, behold, I will lift my hand in an oath to the nations, and set-up my standard for the peoples.
They shall bring your sons in their arms, and your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders.
Kings shall be your foster fathers and their Queens, your nursing mothers.
They shall bow down to you with their faces to the earth.
And lick up the dust of your feet.
Then you will know that I am the Lord, for they shall not be ashamed to wait for me.
Those who wait on the Lord.
Will not be ashamed.
They'll renew their strength.
Israel receiving penalty punishment dishonor.
God says it's all going to turn around.
You're going to be blessed and people are going to be excited to be in your presence.
And they're going to honor you.
Because of your place in my heart, God says verse 24 shall the pray be taken from the mighty or the captives of the righteous be delivered.
Can this happen? These nations are strong. Babylon Medo Persian Empire. These are strong nations. Can they be delivered? Can they be taken out? Verse 25 thus says the Lord, even the captives of the mighty shall be.
Taken away and the prey of the terrible be delivered, for I will contend with him who contends with you, and I will save your child.
I will feed those who oppress you with their own flesh.
And they shall be drunk.
With their own blood, as with sweet wine, all flesh shall know that I, the Lord, am your savior and your Redeemer, the mighty one of Jacob.
Those are fighting against you.
I will fight against them.
I will turn their oppression upon themselves.
God promises a blessed future for his people, where it seems impossible for any kind of recovery or any kind of blessing.
God says I'm going to surprise you with more blessings than you could have expected exceedingly abundantly above all, that you could ask or think.
Commentator Alec Motyer says the answer to despondency is to look to God, acknowledge his sovereignty and rest trust fully in him to perform his perfect will.
Believe God promises.
Over your feelings and so this evening as we consider.
Isaiah 49 I pray.
That you faithful servants.
Would be continuing to be faithful even when it feels unfruitful.
Because you know that your labor is.
Not in vain in the Lord.
Don't judge it too early. Paul tells us in First Corinthians 4I judge nothing before the appointed time when the Lord comes, then he'll bring all the things to light.
Then each one praise will come from God.
But but before that, don't judge it too early and think advena it's useless, it's worthless.
Be faithful with those things that God puts upon your heart.
Don't come to conclusions based on what you see and feel.
Believe God promises.
And press forward in faithfulness to God.
And when you feel forgotten.
Your decisions on how you feel.
Because your feelings are lying to you.
You're not forgotten.
God has inscribed you in his hands.
Declaring once and for all his love for you.
He hasn't abandoned you.
He will not abandon you and no matter what you're seeing right now and how terrible things are right now and how difficult your life is and challenging and hurtful and painful.
And all of that.
There is a blessed future ahead for you.
There is opportunity to experience.
As you walk with God as you run to God as you clean to God and walk by faith and not by sight, you're.
Going to be surprised.
At how much God can do?
From where you are.
To where you will be.
As he fulfills his plans for you.
Believe God's promises.
Over your feelings, Lord, I pray that you would help us to do that.
So much of the feedback that we get Lord in this life.
Would discourage us.
From obeying you from walking with you from serving you.
But Lord, it's.
Help us to see beyond the physical help us to see beyond the emotional.
And a grasp.
Hold of the truth that you have declared.
Lord, as we receive your grace and forgiveness, we are your children.
And you will work all things together for good.
On our behalf.
And so would help us.
To be faithful.
As you prompt our hearts to serve you.
To exert ourselves to give diligently.
To the task that you set before us.
Lord, that there might be abundant fruit and that you might be glorified.
For ages and ages and ages to come.
And Lord, in those times where we feel forgotten.
And those times where we feel castaway rejected.
But may we be reminded of your scars?
And however we feel and however the circumstances look.
But you haven't given up on us.
You still call us.
Abundance, glory, blessings.
By faith in you.
The deepest to walk by faith and not by sight.
I pray this in Jesus name.