When you listen to a sermon, do you tune into the pastor’s message and really listen, maybe even take notes? Or do you gaze around the room and think about the football game you’re going to watch later, what’s for lunch, or let your mind wander? I hate to admit it, but this was often me. About 10 years ago, I decided to do better. I started taking notes and studied them afterwards looking for the main theme and noting analogies and studying the scriptures cited. As I compared my take away from the sermon to my husband’s take away, I realized that each person may have a different thing that they keyed into depending on their life experiences. That’s why I began this blog in the first place. I’ve grown through this process and I recommend at least taking notes and looking over them along with the scripture even if you don’t write a blog. You might be surprised how you learn so much more than you expected.
To hear the sermon, click here.
As we are in the advent season, we are waiting, looking for what is to come. Looking at the book of Isaiah, we see him talking in the middle of a wasteland after the Assyrians invaded and destroyed it.
1 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.Isaiah 11:1
Isaiah is referring to Jesse, the father of King David. He says that a branch growing out of the stump will become a tree. Obviously this is about more than a tree. When we think of a stump, it’s usually a lifeless part of a tree, once full of branches of green leaves. Towering over the people it would provide shade from the sun. But a stump seems to be dead, not bearing growth, yet this stump, a remnant of an ashy wasteland, has new growth. There’s life in the roots of this tree. It represents God’s life. The spirit of God appears in this shoot.
10 On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious.Isaiah 11:10
Isaiah seems to have a hope for the future. Despite the destruction around him, the wickedness of man that destroys brothers, he sees a hope that many of us grasp at when we are going through dark times.
2 And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. 3 And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.
He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; 4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. 5 Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.Isaiah 11:2-5
The sprout changes into a person. It is the Annointed One, the Messiah, Jesus Christ. He is the Promised One that will bring salvation.
Jesus will not judge by appearance; he’ll judge by the person’s heart. He sees our potential. He’ll do things in a totally new way.
500 years later, we see Paul putting his own spin on Isaiah’s words.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.Romans 15:13
We all have desolation that we’ve gone through, the fire that took our peace. What has that been for you? It may have been the death of a loved one, false accusations, loss of a job, addiction. We’ve all been there at some point. But “what we lose in the fire, we find in the ashes.” (from the Magnificent Seven)
In this season of Advent, we are waiting for the gift of Jesus Christ. Anticipation and hope in what we believe. We must seek to find the gift that we know we’ve already been given.
Before the first Advent, the people of God were waiting in the dark. As we await the second Advent, we are waiting in the light.
Take aways for this sermon:
- What God does in us as we wait is often much more important than what we are waiting for.
- What we lose in the fire, we find in the ashes.
While you are waiting in anticipation for the celebration of Jesus, seek the wisdom of God that you might see as Jesus sees.