Beth Moore - Lift Up Your Eyes, Part 4
Throughout Isaiah 40, in several different places, God takes on the idols of the world, and he's going, like, "Why would you trade me in for them, things you made with your own hands, and you're gonna worship them when you have got me? What in the world are you thinking"? And, you know, we don't carve out our wood like they did, we just go buy it. Anybody know what I'm talking about? We just worship the things that our hands have made. And how in the world can something we can make make us? How in the world? We work hard to make a lot of money because we think money can make us. How can what we make make us? We try to make a name for ourselves and think that name can make us. How can something we can make make us?
Here's the thing, this is the hardship. In order to know intellectually, and spiritually, and physically, and emotionally that no one compares to the Lord, we have to discover that no one is like him. And sometimes that doesn't come pretty. Who has devastated you because they could not be Jesus for you? See, today, do you know what would happen if we just came to a place of forgiving people and let them off the hook because they just couldn't be a false Christ to us? They just couldn't do it. They didn't come through for us. They broke our hearts and left us bloody, and then there's just the ongoing disappointment. We get disappointed in our leaders.
I'm sure if you know me very well, you've been disappointed in me, and if you haven't yet, you will be, because we will always let you down. But part of that process of people not coming through for us reminds us there's nobody that can pull this off but Jesus, absolutely nobody. Nobody, nobody, and one of the things I've really had to face is that when I'm done wrong and devastated by someone, and I feel like there is no getting up from that, I sometimes have to face my idolatry there that I idolize them, that I needed them to make me feel what I needed to feel about myself. But what if it was just you and Jesus? Of course we have people, we want our people, I'm just simply saying none of those people are him. We see little glimpses of him in a lot of people that walk with him, praise you, God, but nobody but nobody is Jesus. And, you know, I just thought to myself, "How many times will our idols have to let us down before we put them down"? How many times are we gonna do this?
So, number four is this, God is both infinitely strong and immanently tender. And let me tell you why those two are so important. I love the very end of Psalm 62. Psalm 62 is just a great Psalm. It's just a great Psalm. It talks about what we talked about just a second ago where nobody really can come through for our expectations but Jesus. We can't expect of others what only Jesus can deliver, but it ends by saying this. "One thing God has spoken, two things I have heard. Power belongs to you, O God, and with you is unfailing love". In other words, in you, God, is infinite power and unfailing love.
Imagine infinite power without love, and unfailing. Everybody say, "Unfailing love". It cannot fail. It cannot not be there. It cannot not come through. It is impossible. It is impossible, because God doesn't just do love, God is love. You would have to take away his is-ness. You'd have to come and you'd have to amputate part of him for him not to be loving, because it's part of his very self. But what would power be without love? Tyranny, a nightmare, horrifying. But what would love be without power? And listen, you've known some of that, we all have. Has anybody, forgive me, I won't go far on this, because nobody wants to talk about this, but anybody nearly loved you to death?
Come on, now. Their love was so unhealthy, they didn't have the power to walk in a way that did not tear everybody around them to shreds. I mean, they had a lot of love, but so unhealthy. You know what I'm talking about. Talk about destructive. All that affection. "I just wanna be loving". Yes, yes, yes, we want to be loving, but we also want to have the power of God in our bones to actually walk like whole people who don't try to destroy themselves every day, anybody, anybody? Who don't nearly destroy others with the brokenness of our natural affections. God is both infinitely strong and immanently tender, immanently tender, immanently tender.
I wanna go off on that for just a second, because the pictures are constant in the Word of God. When he says that he is close to the brokenhearted and he binds up their wounds, when the Psalmist says that, do you realize the picture is being held and the heart is literally being bound up in a bandage? Did you know that in the Old Testament Hebrew, the word for healing, that form of the word "rapha" for healing, he is our healer, it is a word that can also mean-it means all the things you think it means, but it means to mend by stitching, and I love the word picture of that, because, you know, you have to hold someone, you have to be close to 'em to stitch 'em up.
It says in Psalm 46 verse 1 that he's "A very present help in times of trouble," and somebody needs to hear that today. Know he's always present, but what Psalm 46:1 says is that he's very present. I'm not only telling you that he is present, I'm telling you he's very present. I'm telling you he's present, present. Anybody know what I'm talking about? I'm telling you, he is closer to you than your skin. "A very present help in times of trouble". I love Deuteronomy 1:30-31 say this, "The Lord your God, who goes before you, is the one who will fight for you". Who did not fight for you? Isn't that devastating? We just wanted somebody to fight for us. Why don't you fight for me? Why did you just, like, let me leave? I was so hoping I would turn around and you'd be running after me. Why didn't you fight for me?
Let him tend to you today. Don't you act like that stuff's not going on inside of you. He brought you here in exactly the time and season you are in. Don't you leave your trash out in the car. That's what we used to do when I was a kid growing up at church. This is how we did it. We'd fight all the way to church, we'd go in, we'd act like, you cannot believe how prim and proper. We'd get back in the car, we'd fight all the way home. Not only that, all sorts of things happened on the way home. In those days, my mother and my grandmother, they would wear those girdles, those long-line girdles. They'd be in the car, and they'd be pulling those things off. You could hear the Lycra snapping. You cannot-and then, it was just like, I mean, the things coming out.
It was just like-there was just like a transformation taking place on the way home, and I'm not saying it was good. But we never connected that the Word of God that Jesus wanted to really tend to our deep brokenness, and scars, and needs. Never did even put 'em together. It says, "I will fight for you, just as I did in Egypt before your very eyes, and in the wilderness where you saw how the Lord your God carries you, just as one carries a child". Just as one carries a child. Okay, you're in the gospels, because I'm about to turn you to Mark, so that's why I don't want you to get lost there, but I do want you to see something back in Isaiah. If you got it handy, go back to Isaiah and I want to send you to Isaiah 46 with me.
Isaiah 46:3-4, "Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been born by me from before your birth". He is picturing that he is born, that he's carrying the, "Carried from the womb, even to your old age I am he. To the gray hairs I will carry you, and I have made, and I will bear; and I will carry you, and I will save". I know somebody wants to say amen to that. See, here's what occurs to me, because he's saying from before you were born to your last breath, I've held you and carried you. And I thought to myself getting ready for this weekend that we never outgrow the need for comfort, and for nurture, and for tenderness, we never do. I think that one of the hardest things about being an adult is just being an adult. Especially, anybody just, like, the rock of your family?
So, everybody's looking to you, but they have no idea that your own heart is broken, and that you're tired. That you're tired. That sometimes everything gets heavy, and sometimes you feel like that you are living in a can of mixed nuts. And I want you to know, we get to be God's child. So many places we have to be grown up, and we want to be grown up in our faith, and we want to mature in our faith, but I'm simply saying to you, you do have a place to go where you can shut the door in with your God and go cry, and say, "So and so hurt my feelings". You could even say this kind of stuff. I mean, whiny stuff, whiny stuff like, "Did you hear what they said to me"? Just like, "They're driving me crazy," or, "My heart is broken and I'm tired," whatever, whatever.
I used to go to this one little café over and over again, you know why? Because the woman behind the counter always called me baby, and I was anything but a baby. I was well into my 40s. I'd walk in the door, she'd look over at me, and she'd say, "Hey, baby". Every once in a while, I'd go-because she was real fluffy, and, you know, I'm kinda bony, and I would just go, "Irma, can you hug me"? And I'd just be like, "Don't ever let me out. This is where I wanna live".
A couple of days on Twitter I saw this picture. I'm not showing it, because of course I don't have permission and wouldn't have sought permission, because again, this ends up going on the program and it's just not right, it's too personal. But she did put it out on Twitter, and it was a woman that had a picture of her parents and I think I jotted down-oh, I did, I jotted down exactly what it said. It was the sweetest picture of her parents sitting in what looked to be like a recliner. You could tell kind of an over-stuffed leather chair, and they're both in it. They're both in it, and they are in their late 50s, and the woman is, like, curled up in his arm.
So, his arm is around her, and she's nestled on his side like that, and she's tiny. She's nestled on his side like this, and her eyes are shut, she's obviously asleep, and I thought it was so sweet, because I don't know if this was intentional or not, but they both have on royal blue shirts that almost look exactly alike. And so, they're just, like, snuggled up in this chair, and this is what it says. "My parents have been married for 34 years. My mom is in the final stages of young-onset dementia, diagnosed five years ago at 53. My dad cares for her full time", listen carefully, "She doesn't always remember his name, but she knows she is safe with him. If that's not love," she says, "I don't know what it is".
I wonder where you could really use some comfort. See, for some of you, you're not even comfortable with us bringing up comfort, like, eww. And you're thinking, like, "It's so feminine," well, that's odd, because the one who comforted over and over again, and self-entitled in Exodus 34, "I am the compassionate one, the Lord". "The Lord compassionate and gracious, the one with steadfast love". He said, "I will send you a comforter". Have you ever noticed that when we're just brokenhearted, sometimes even sick, have you ever noticed how we'll fold all up. And when was the last time you cried so hard you could not even speak? I wonder, were you able to stand straight up, or did you find a place to curl up? Because there's something instinctive in us that knows I'm supposed to be somebody's baby.
Now, I'm sorry if you're too grown up for that kind of talk, but it's important to me. I gotta know, as a grandmother, as a woman that still has some dreams that didn't come true, and some disappointments, and some things that didn't work out the way I hoped they did, but I still get to say, "I'm your child. I belong to you. Take care of me," and he always does. I'm gonna show you something in Mark. I love this so much, it astounds me.
Mark chapter 7:31-37, "Then he," being Jesus, "He returned from the region of Tyre and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, in the region of Decapolis. And they brought to him a man who was deaf and he had a speech impediment, and they begged him to lay his hand on him. And taking him aside from the crowd privately, he put his fingers," this is Jesus, "Put his fingers into his ears, and after spitting touched his tongue. And looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, 'Ephphatha,' which means, 'Be opened.'" It's Aramaic for "be opened". "And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. And Jesus charged them not to tell anyone, but the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it, and they were astonished beyond measure, saying, 'He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.'"
Okay, I wanted you to notice something that seems so odd. Did you catch it in verse 34? Like, they bring this man to Jesus, he takes him to the side, 34, "And looking up to heaven, he sighed". What is he sighing about? Like, here we go again, healing, healing, healing. It's all about healing. When will this ever end? Can you people not heal yourselves, you know what I'm saying? I mean, why in the world? What is happening here that he would sigh? I want to show you something gorgeous.
I think you can go ahead and turn away from Mark 7 as long as you kind of know where it's gonna connect. Go with me to Romans 8 starting at verse 18. "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God," and that's talking about believers.
"For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together," don't forget that, "Groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches the heart knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for him according to the will of God".
Okay, hold up a second. You remember when we talked about the first law of thermodynamics, that very first law, which is energy is conserved? And we compared it to the Genesis account when he said, "Then on the sixth day after creation was done, he was finished and he rested". Now, people feel all sorts of ways about creation, we talked about that last night. Like, how long it could have taken, how short it could have taken, and you know what? I don't have any problem with six days, and I'm gonna tell you why I don't. Because I'm gonna tell you that he could have closed his eyes like this and gone, "Be," and the whole thing could have been, you know what I'm saying?
I mean, like, he probably was done by mid-morning every day, and then had to wait like this 'til the next day, you know what I'm saying? I mean, I'm just simply making a point there's nothing he can't do. So, you know, that doesn't trouble me. I don't get all caught up in that, but you be you, but I just find freedom in going he can do whatever he wants, but the second law of thermodynamics is that energy dissipates, energy dissipates. This is the law that conveys entropy, that means the wearing out and the running down and deteriorating of something. And do you know in Isaiah 51 verse 6, and in Hebrews 1:10 through 12, both of these passages talk about the fact that creation is wearing out like a garment.
This is exactly what Romans 8 is talking about. We are watching it happen, and we see it in all sorts of different ways. But what is happening on our earth right now is it is just, like, groaning, and groaning, and groaning. And the Word of God supports that over and over again, but here's what I want you to see. Did you notice all the forms of that groaning? It says that, I wanna see it again, that all of creation, 22, "For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together," then we see that we ourselves, in the next verse, we groan inwardly.
We then see that the Spirit, when he prays for us, that he groans, that it's with groanings that cannot be uttered and cannot be understood by us, what's the connection? Every one of those are forms of the word, the Greek word "stenazo," "stenazo," S-T-E-N-A-Z-O, and it's a long O, "stenazo," everyone even groaning together is "sustenazo," that means together groaning. This is the same word, the same root word is used over there in Mark chapter 7, so stay with me here, because I hope this means something to somebody. Here he is looking upon this man's suffering. He's not sighing, like, "Oh, who had time for this"? He's groaning, eagerly awaiting the day when our bodies will no longer hurt, when our hearts will no longer break, when he will create a new heavens and a new earth. When we will be set free from what Paul called this body of death. Groaning, compassion, once more deeply moved, John chapter 11. Jesus wept at the suffering of Mary and Martha over Lazarus.