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Sermon 6/6/10
Isaiah 29:16 - Beauty And Happiness

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Beauty And Happiness

 

You turn things upside down! Shall the potter be regarded as the clay, that the thing formed say of Him who formed it, He has no understanding” (Isaiah 29:16)

 

The first chapters of Book of Genesis give us a glimpse into the creation of the entire universe, including our planet.  Genesis Chapter One, with a few verbal brush-strokes, tells us clearly that God made “the heavens and the earth.” We see the creation of water, darkness, light, land, DNA, vegetation of all kinds, the sun, moon and stars, and every living animal, fish, insect, and finally mankind.  The latter group, humanity, was to govern the earth with God’s wisdom and in His kindness.  A fascinating aspect of creation as it is described in Genesis One is that God merely SPOKE and everything came into being in a breathtaking series of creative days.

 

Chapter One gives what we might call a “telescopic” overview of creation.  Genesis Chapter Two can be called a “microscopic” look at the creation of mankind.  The way we were created is unlike the formation of anything else.  He made the first man “of the dust from the ground” (Genesis 2:7), and then in a process not unlike what we call “cloning,” He created the first woman out of the man (Genesis 2:21-22).  She was not genetically identical to him, but was instead a unique being, formed out of the man’s deoxyribonucleic acid, his DNA.  Out of the first man the woman was taken, and out of them, everybody else.

 

They were in a very different world than anything we have seen.  The first people lived in a place referred to as a “garden” (Genesis 2:8), in which there was no disease, no sorrow, no aging and no death.  The first man and woman had no jealousy, no sickness, no fear, and no pain.  They had everything and they were utterly beautiful, as was the garden they lived in.  We will see it, for in the future we are to return to a place of beauty and wonder like the distant past, living outside of time as it is now.  Scripture teaches that, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature” (2 Corinthians 5:17).  By trusting in the Lord we are made new right now, and in eternity, the bodies and the environment we live in will be made new and beautiful as well. “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain …” (Revelation 21:4).

 

In “The Life Recovery Devotional,” by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop, within a section called, “Becoming Like Clay,” the authors cite Jeremiah 18:1-6, which includes, “…Can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My Hand.”  We are His.  We are God’s, but all too often we act as if it is the other way around.  Among those who believe in God, all too many tend to look at Him as some kind of genie in a bottle who hopefully will grant wishes from time-to-time.  But He is God and He has the right to do with us as He wills.  He has the strength and He has the love.

 

Arterburn and Stoop observed that trusting in God is giving our lives over to the control of the Lord, but most don’t want to lose control.  On page 190 of their “Devotional,” we find “Giving up control may be difficult for us. When we get ready for God to remove our shortcomings, we still may want to control how He does it. We’re so used to calling the shots that we’ll ask for God’s help as long as He does it on our terms. We may demand that the changes happen on our timetable, or in the order we feel ready to give them up, or at a speed convenient to us. God doesn’t work that way. That is why humility is such an important part… When we put our lives in God’s Hands, He will reshape them as He sees fit. It is our attitude of humility that allows us to accept the fact that He is the Creator… God is the Master Craftsman. Whatever He does, we can trust that He will recreate our lives beautifully once we get out of His way.”  The Lord intends that we will be happy and beautiful, utilizing in us a process called “humility.”

 

In what are often termed the “Beatitudes,” as seen in Matthew Chapter 5 and Luke 6, we find the English word “blessed” a number of times, and it is attached to attitudes and actions that reveal the nature of humility as it relates to happiness.  “Blessed” in those verses is a form of the New Testament Greek word, “makarios,” which can be translated “large” or “long,” but the key use of that word in the minds of those who spoke it 2000 years ago, is: “happy.”  Most look for the illusive feeling called “happiness” in all the wrong places and reject humility as a necessary part of it.  Here’s what the Lord said about blessedness, (happiness) in Matthew 5:3-11.  Each time the word “blessed” appears, think “happy,” which is what He intends for you:

 

  • Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
  • Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted
  • Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth
  • Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled
  • Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy
  • Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God
  • Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God
  • Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
  • Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you

 

Almost nobody on earth wants to be “poor in spirit.”  Wouldn’t you rather be popular, liked by others? And certainly you don’t want to go out of your way to be reviled and persecuted!  And who would want to lose someone or something and “mourn” that loss?  Our whole culture encourages us to keep everything we have and get MORE in life, not less.  And what about the attitude called “meek?” Everybody knows that the result of acting like a doormat will cause people to wipe their feet on you.  And the list goes on, but God is pointing out that happiness is not found in whiskey, women, men, beer, strength, good looks, popularity, relative intelligence or in dominating others.  Instead you’re headed in the right direction if you receive the Lord and let Him fashion you into a person of humility.  You may find fame, but you also need poorness of spirit, mourning, meekness, righteousness, mercy, purity, peace, and more. Humility was in the first man and woman, that attitude will also be found in eternity, and it is intended for our lives right now.  To be “blessed,” to be happy, is to humbly trust in the Lord and look to Him.

 

This is not about seeking some new philosophy; some strange, new way of approaching life’s situations.  Instead it’s saying “yes” to the Creator seen in Genesis One, the “Potter” found in Isaiah 29:16; letting Him have His way with our lives.  We are on our way to the best in life, to happiness, when we become malleable, like “clay” in His Hands.  We have the problem that we “turn things upside down.”  We may think like millions of others, but to watch the news is to see that humanity itself is less than rational.  Some think that God “has no understanding,” as it says in Isaiah 29, but the reverse is true.  When the Lord is in our hearts, thoughts, minds and lives, He brings beauty and happiness into the lives of people just like you and me.

 

Let’s cause our thoughts to become “right-side up” by placing our faith, our trust in Him.

 

Lord, I trust in You now.  I give You my heart, my life.  You have the right to me and I receive Your love.  Do with me as You will, for You are wonderful. Thank You.  In Jesus Name.  Amen.

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