Robert Morris - Strength
All right, so if you want to turn in your Bibles to Isaiah 35, we're gonna be there for four weeks. Isaiah 35 is a Messianic chapter. You've heard of Messianic verses. A Messianic verse is a verse in the Old Testament, which Jesus called the Scriptures. Every time He referred to the Scriptures, He was referring to the Old Testament, the Scriptures. The Scriptures, okay. So, it's a Scripture that refers to the Messiah. That would be a Messianic verse, but there are Messianic chapters and Isaiah 35 is one. And I was simply reading through it a while back, and four things hit me, and Isaiah says it this way - this is what will happen when the Messiah comes.
Now, it's the whole context, it doesn't use those exact words. But when the Messiah comes, this is what's going to happen to the nation of Israel, and we know that we've been grafted in to Israel as believers. And as I was reading it I saw four things, so I'll go through those four things. So, Isaiah 35:1, and the title of the series is, A Way in the Wilderness, that when the Messiah comes, that He's already come, He makes a way in the wilderness. So if you're walking through a dry season, He's gonna make a way for you, and there are four things that He is going to do, four attributes that Jesus brings, four blessings that He brings. Even though we're still living in a wilderness type environment in the world, we don't have to live in the wilderness, we can live in a garden.
If you remember, this whole thing started in a garden. Adam and Eve would walk and talk with God in the cool of the day in the garden, and the very first thing the resurrected Lord did was walk and talk with Mary in the garden. Did you all hear that? That was better than you thought. That's the very first thing the resurrected Lord did. Isaiah 35:1, this is what's gonna happen when the Messiah comes, and the Messiah's come, so this has already happened, all right? The wilderness and the wasteland, the wilderness and the wasteland, shall be glad, that's amazing that the land's gonna be glad, for them. This is referring to the nation of Israel. And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice, even with joy and singing.
Now, let me just explain. Because we believe in Yeshua, we've been grafted in to the nation of Israel. That's you. What was dry, and barren, and a desert, and a wasteland, is now blossoming abundantly and rejoicing with joy and singing, because the Messiah has come. That's what that's telling us. And then Verse 2 goes on to say, The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the excellence of Carmel and Sharon.
Now, Lebanon is a country now, but it was not a country then, so you need to know that. There are Bible words that we just kind of read over, but Lebanon was a very fruitful place in the northern territory of Canaan, the Promised Land. And if you've ever been to Israel, it is a garden in the middle of a wilderness. I mean, it's unbelievably fruitful in the middle of a desert. That's what it is. And, so let me just show you. Lebanon was this fertile region in northern Canaan. In other words, God prepared a garden for His people in the wilderness.
Now, hear me. What I'm trying to get you to hear is that we may be living in a fallen world, but we're living in a garden if we're believers, and it's a beautiful garden. But there are ways that we can receive strength in this garden, because the Messiah brings strength, and I'll show you that in a moment. All right. But, anytime you want to know what a word means, you can go to the root of the word through the Latin and then into the Greek. That's one way, but another way is you could just look up that word everywhere in the Bible, and what you'll see is that Lebanon represents fertile trees, fertile soil, but you're gonna be surprised by this one verse about Lebanon, all right?
Psalm 104:16 says, The trees of the Lord, of the Lord, are full of sap, the cedars of Lebanon which He planted. In other words, I'm telling you God planted the land of Canaan for His people. But in the same way, God has planted... He's already provided for you a rich and fertile garden for you to live in once you become a believer. So, that's what Lebanon represents, all right? Carmel actually means garden land. It means plentiful and beautiful cultivated soil. That's what the word means.
All right, but here's a verse. 2 Chronicles 26:10, Also he, and I put in parentheses Josiah, so you would know that it's Josiah. That's who this is talking about. Built towers in the desert, so in the wasteland. He dug many wells, so God put water there, even in the desert, for he had much livestock, both in the lowlands and in the plains; he also had farmers and vinedressers, you've got to have plenty of water for that, in the mountains and in Carmel, for he loved the soil. So again, this is telling us about this wilderness, and it's a place where God Himself planted trees and made the soil fertile. Are you all following me?
I know this is some history, but I want you to smile more than you're smiling right now, I want you to get, because I get excited about this. All of this refers to stuff! Then he talks about Sharon. Sharon refers to the beauty of the bride of Christ. Go to the Song of Solomon. Think about this. You've heard this Scripture, Song of Solomon 2:1. I am the rose of Sharon, the lily of the valley. That is the Shulamite woman and she represents the church, the bride of Christ. And then, here's an other Scripture again about that it's a garden, it's a place of fertility.
Isaiah 65:10, Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, a place for herds to lie down Do you see what I'm saying? So, that's why God uses these words, because they mean something, but we come along and read them and we don't know what they mean, unless you study the Bible. So if you ever come across a word that you think, I don't know what that means, look it up everywhere else in the Bible and you'll find verses like this, all right?
So, now let me get to strength. Verses 3 and 4 of Isaiah 35, Strengthen the weak hands, I want you to notice hands, make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are fearful-hearted, so you've got hands, knees, and heart, Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God; He will come and save you. Yeshua means God saves. Okay? So, again this is saying the Messiah will come, and He's gonna do this when He comes, but remember, He already has come. Does everyone follow me?
So when He comes, He brings strength. Hands could represent what you do, knees could represent where you walk, and your heart could represent how you think, because, As a man thinks in his heart, so is he. So, let me say it again. He's going to strengthen your hands. Would it be okay if God strengthened whatever you do, whatever He's called you to do, if He gave you strength? Well, I'm telling you it's available. If He strengthened where you walk, and if He strengthened how you think. So, what we're gonna do is we're gonna take hands, knees, and heart, and I'm gonna show you extremely, extremely practical ways to strengthen your hands, your knees, and your heart. All right? Are you all as excited as I am about this message? You better be. You better be excited now, all right?
Okay. All right, so Isaiah 35:3, Strengthen the weak hands. Hands refer to worship. If you want to strengthen what you do, you're going to have to become a worshipper. Nehemiah 8:6, And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. Then all the people answered, 'Amen,' while lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground.
Okay, so I'm gonna go real simple here for a moment, and we're gonna talk about one element of worship that has freaked many people out - lifting hands. Has anyone ever gone to a church where you got freaked out? Now, you may not be freaked out anymore, or you might have been freaked out today. That's okay, cause I was freaked out the first time I saw it, too. All right? The only problem is you don't get freaked out when people do it at the football game, but we get freaked out when they do it at church. So, I came up with four excuses that I've heard of why people don't lift their hands in church and I'm gonna answer each of them with a Scripture, cause His opinion matters more than your opinion.
Excuse number one[b/], I'll lift my hands when I get to heaven. I've heard that. That's just not my personality. Again, I'd like to see you in a football game, sir. I'll lift my hands when I get to heaven. Psalms 63:4, Thus I will bless You while I live. I will lift up my hands in Your name. So, don't wait till you get to heaven. That's the Bible. All right?
[b]Excuse number two[b/] I've heard - Pastor, I lift my heart up. Lamentations 3:41, Let us lift our hearts and hands to God in heaven. I'm the last person you want to play Bible trivia with.
[b]Excuse number three[b/], the Bible doesn't specifically tell us to lift our hands in church. Psalm 134:2, Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and bless the Lord. Let's just do it! Just lift them! That's what the Bible said!
[b]Excuse number four[b/]: well, those are Old Testament Scriptures. 1 Timothy 2:8, I desire therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands. It's in the Bible. So, but, I understand.
I was an evangelist when I was young. I was a Baptist evangelist, and I don't mean that wrong. I have nothing negative to say about the Baptists, all right? But, we didn't lift hands in church, except when we were voting people out. That's the only reason we... When we were voting a pastor out. I'm in favor of that, you know, so.
All right, but I remember I was going to a Baptist church. It was a Baptist church, but we were having revival, and you've got to watch out when you're having a revival, you know? And we had this worship pastor, and a few people in the choir would lift their hands, and a few people in church, but we figured they were visitors, but it was okay. But I was sitting, like right down here on the second row, and no one was on the front row. I don't know if it was reserved or what, but I was right there, you know? And I was staff evangelist, so I went out and did revivals and crusades, so everybody knew who I was. And the worship pastor said... Of course, I don't know if he was called worship pastor, he might have been called music leader, you know. I don't know. But he said, You know what? On this last chorus, let's just all lift our hands as we sing this.
[b]And I remember thinking, let's not all lift our hands while we sing this. But everybody did, and so this is what I did. I remember that, but I also remember the first time I thought, you know, I got saved in a motel room and I don't care what anybody thinks. I'm gonna stand like this in church. And I am going to give Him the praise He deserves from me, no matter what anybody thinks. So, if you want to strengthen your walk with God, learn to worship. Learn to express your worship to God.
Here's number two, knees. Isaiah 35 said, Make firm the feeble knees. Knees refer to prayer. If you're not physically able to kneel, that doesn't mean you can't pray, so please don't... I'm just saying in the Bible it refers to prayer, okay? 1 Kings 8:54, And so it was, when Solomon had finished praying all this prayer and supplication to the Lord, watch, that he arose from before the altar of the Lord, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven 1 Thessalonians 5:17, I'm gonna skip down a little bit. 1 Thessalonians 5:17, Never stop praying. Never stop praying.
Philippians 4:6, Be anxious for nothing. How could you be anxious for nothing? The very next part tells you, In everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. That's the only way you're ever going to learn to get over anxiety. You know, the problem is that we think about things, and we think about things, and we think about them, and the more we think about them, the more anxious and the more worried we get. But if we'd pray about it... Okay, so let me explain something to you about prayer, okay? I'm going to read you a Scripture that you've heard, that again, when you go to the root of a word, it's wonderful once you find out what it means.
Proverbs 16:3 says, Commit, I want you to notice this word, commit, your works to the Lord and your thoughts will be established. The word commit, it's a Hebrew word, it's galal. It's in the... it's obviously Old Testament because it's Hebrew, 18 times. 11 of those times it is not translated commit, it is translated roll away. Prayer is rolling off the burden. It's getting on your knees and rolling it off. If you go into your prayer closet...
I heard Pastor Jimmy Evans say this, so I want to take credit for it, but I can't. Pastor Jimmy said it this way. He said, If you go in your prayer closet, and you come out and you still have the burden, you didn't pray, you just griped. Cause prayer is rolling off the burden, but here's what we do, and I've shared this before, but it bears sharing it again. We say, Lord, I can't carry this anymore, it's too heavy for me. I'm just gonna lay it at Your feet, Lord. I'm just gonna lay it at Your feet. I'm gonna leave it at Your feet, Lord. I'm just gonna lay it at Your feet. Well, if You're just gonna sit there.
Sheep were never designed to carry burdens. You have never heard anyone say I'm going on a safari and I need to rent some pack sheep. You are designed to carry burdens only to the feet of Jesus, and you're not even designed to walk with them. You're designed, that when it puts on you, you just turn around and lay it at His feet. That's as far as you can carry a burden right there. That's what prayer does. That's how your knees are strengthened. And here's number three, hearts.
Isaiah 35:4, Say to those who are fearful-hearted, notice what the heart does when it's not given over to God. Fear comes in and takes over. But it says, Say to those, Be strong, do not fear! Okay, this term, Be strong, is in the Bible more than you think, and it's spiritual fathers to spiritual sons. Joshua - you've heard, Be strong and of good courage, or Be strong and very courageous. What you may not know is Joshua heard it seven times, so I'm gonna do it quickly for you. Three times Moses said it, three times God said it, and then one time the children of Israel said it to him.
So, Deuteronomy 31:6, "Be strong and of good courage". This is Moses, talking to Joshua, 31:7, "Moses called Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, 'Be strong and of good courage.'" Deuteronomy 31:23, "Then He inaugurated, or laid His hands on, Joshua the son of Nun, and said, 'Be strong and of good courage.'" In Joshua 1, God shows up and says Moses is dead. Moses is dead, you're the leader now. Verse 6, He says, But be strong and of good courage. Verse 7, Be strong and very courageous. Verse 9, Have I not commanded you, be strong and of good courage Then Joshua shares with all of Israel what the Lord said to him, and they answered him, Verse 17. Just as we heeded Moses in all things, so we will heed you. Only be strong and of good courage.
Personally, if I was Joshua, by now I'd have thought, I wonder what's up ahead of me. But here's what God was doing, and here's what they were doing, and this is how you be strong. Moses was putting a word in his heart. What he was saying was you're going to win, you just have to be strong, and you have to be courageous. Don't fear. You're going to win. God is going to give you this Promised Land. He was putting the word of God in his heart. All right, David told Solomon, on his death bed, I go the way of all the earth. This is 1 Kings 2:2. Be strong therefore, and prove yourself a man.
Paul told Timothy, in 2 Timothy 2:1, and 2 Timothy is the last book he wrote. He's gonna be dead in less than two years. You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. So, how do you be strong? Well, look at that verse one more time. Be strong in the grace that's in Christ Jesus. So, it's not your own strength. It's not by might, it's not by power, it's by the Spirit of the Lord. Right? So, how do you become strong? Listen to me carefully. You get the word in your heart. You get the word in your heart, because when you have a word from God, it doesn't matter what comes against you. You think, God already told me this. God told me that this was going to happen. But if you don't have a word, then you get fearful, and then all of these thoughts go through your mind.
So, get the Word in your heart. Deuteronomy 6:6, And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. Deuteronomy 11:18, Therefore you shall lay up these words of Mine in your heart. Psalm 119:11, very famous, Your word I've hidden in my heart. It goes on to say, that I might not sin against You. Now, let me show you. There are a lot of verses in the New Testament that are also in the Old Testament. So, let me show you one. Ephesians 4:26, have you ever heard this Scripture? Be angry and do not sin. Have you ever heard that Scripture? Be angry and do not sin. Okay, and then it says, Don't let the sun go down on your wrath.
Okay, watch this, Old Testament, Psalm 4:4. Be angry and do not sin. How do you do that, though? Meditate within your heart on your bed and be still. I didn't have time to go all through all of the Scriptures, but, The man who meditates on the word of God day and night, everything he does will prosper. A man who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, but he walks uprightly, he meditates on the word of God, and he will have good success It's over, and over, and over in the Bible. You meditate on the word of God. So, meditate means to think on, all right?
So, let me just say this. Have you ever awakened in the middle of the night and started thinking about something and couldn't go back to sleep? Am I the only one that's ever happened to? And has that happened to anybody else? Has that happened to you? Okay. Let me tell you what you do when that happens. You meditate on the word of God. So, I woke up one night, could not go back to sleep. Thinking, thinking, thinking about a problem I had, trying to figure it out, and the Lord said to me, Stop it, just like that. Stop it. And He said, Start speaking the word.
So, now I didn't do it out loud, because Debbie was still sleeping wonderfully, so I didn't want to bother her, but I just started quoting a Scripture that I've memorized over the years. So, I started quoting Psalm 23, The Lord is my Shepherd. And I remember stopping, thinking, the Lord is my Shepherd. What in the world am I worried about? I shall not want for anything. The Lord is my Shepherd. And I started going through, and before I could get through the Psalm, I went back to sleep. And, I had a dream, and when I woke up, I had the solution to the problem. God spoke to me, just like that. I'm telling you, I know these sound simple. I know they sound simple. Worship, pray, and read the word, and the Messiah will strengthen you. That's where strength comes from.
Isn't it amazing that no matter how long we've known the Lord, we still go through wilderness seasons? And yet, in the wilderness God provides strength, and I've given you three simple ways to strengthen yourself. That's with your hands, your knees, and your heart. In other words, lifting your hands in worship, but not just your hands, obviously - entering into His presence. That is bowing before Him, kneeling before Him in prayer, and that is meditating in your heart on the word of God - worship, prayer, and the word. I want to encourage you, whatever wilderness you're going through right now, spend time worshipping God, spend time in prayer, and spend time in His word, and watch God provide strength in the middle of the wilderness.