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Sermon 12-21-08
Beauty - Isaiah 33:17

Audio Sermon


Your eyes will see the King in His beauty; they will see the land that is very far off” (Isaiah 33:17)

We all know what beauty is, don’t we? Last week we were in Kauai, the northernmost part of the Hawaiian chain of islands. Almost a year ago we were bumped from a flight out of New York City, and the airline gave us free plane fare as a reward for our inconvenience; tickets that had to be used within one year. Almost a year later, my wife said, “I know what I’m giving you for your birthday – a trip to Hawaii to work on your book!” She made all the arrangements, including a hotel in southwest Kauai and then a bed and breakfast on the north shore. I had been on Oahu three times before, but was not prepared for Kauai, a place where we saw beauty – everywhere.

We drove to the southeast until the road ended and then we went up into the mountains to view the amazing “little” Grand Canyon of Kauai. We subsequently drove northeast until the road essentially ran right into the sea. There were waterfalls, clouds on the mountains, sunrises, sunsets, rivers that splashed across the road, golden beaches, lovely, gentle birds, warm days and cool breezes, water spouts that burst through the coral, magnificent ocean waves, and much more. It was simply – beautiful.

A surprise was the rainfall. While we were in Hanalei, it began to rain, dropping 4.90 inches of rain within 24 hours. It turned out that there was a landslide preventing us from traveling further east to a beach we wanted to see, and the bridge we crossed to the west when we arrived was guarded by policemen, who looked at us with stern eyes and told us “the bridge is flooded. You can’t cross.” Neither could anybody else, and the owners and workers in the local stores couldn’t get to work. The one little market never opened; and it was the same for the restaurants and everything else. A local café did open briefly and we were able to buy tostada take-outs for the evening. Even though it rained, it was sufficiently warm, and the skies were beautiful. There was a misty, fun quality to everything that was – beautiful.

I worked on my “Christian-fiction” book about the Pre-Flood world while we were there, especially during the rainstorm, managing to do one and one-half edits of the whole thing within the week. Now I have to find a publisher. Send me an email if you know one. It’s a beautiful feeling – my book is done!

Soon it was Sunday and it was time to attend church. There were three choices and we went to the one with the beautiful stained glass windows in an old, quaint building, where the service was at just the right time for us – 10 AM. I’ll make an attempt to pronounce the name – it was the “Wai’oli Hui’ia” Church. There was no sermon on that particular day, for the church members were acting out parts, dressed up in clothing everyone could agree was probably typical for the area of Jerusalem, in about the year 30 AD.

It was a very nice service. Children played the parts of angels, wise men, Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, and more. They forgot their lines, walked to the wrong places on stage, had to be picked up and placed in the right place, sang off key, and I thought all of it was beautiful because it reminded me of how we must appear to Almighty God. We build cathedrals with stained-glass windows, but we forget to love. We write books about God, but often have less hope in Him than we should. We devise church programs, but tend to have little faith.

But the good news is that just like I enjoyed that church service in Hanalei, Almighty God loves you and me. He loves us anyway. He loves us just as we are, when we simply trust in His Son. The intelligent can find Him and so can those who are considered less bright. And this good news is what this season is all about over much of the world. It’s not at all about how perfectly we can do things or how clever we might think we are. It’s about the Advent of the beautiful Son of God, who came to this earth to give us love and set us free. He loves you enough and has the amazing grace to find you altogether beautiful in His sight.

2000 years ago, something incredible happened. The “eyes” of human beings saw “the King in His beauty” (Isaiah 33:17). He gave up everything that we would call valuable, leaving the security of eternity to become, for our sakes, a human baby, vulnerable, helpless, unable to effectively communicate, dependent on first-time parents; just as other babies are. At first, He initially couldn’t dress Himself, for He needed help with everything. He was just what you would expect a human baby to be. He was not necessarily an outwardly beautiful child, for Scripture says about this God-man who came in human form, “when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him” (Isaiah 53:2).  "Beauty" is the heart of God.

The King” grew up in the confines of a small town, the backwoods life of a lowly, rural carpenter. His mom was chosen by God for great honor, but here on earth He and his mother lived with the reality that she had a “questionable” reputation in the eyes of the local townspeople. His stepfather, the good man whose name was Joseph, disappeared early from the pages of Scripture, suggesting that the young Jesus knew what it was like to have the grief and mourning associated with the loss of a father to human death. Are you experiencing grief from the loss of a loved one? – Speak to God about it in prayer, for Jesus who is God the Son knows exactly how you feel.

Joseph and Mary, in the years of their marriage, had other sons and daughters (Matthew 13:55-56), “who did not believe in Him” (John7:5). They didn’t believe what Mary and Joseph had said about Jesus’ birth. They didn’t WANT to believe that He was somehow the Son of God. He came into a family where He was that “other brother,” the one that His siblings didn’t like to talk about. There were great angelic promises made before and after His birth, suggesting that He was going to be a man of unprecedented greatness. His brothers felt embarrassed by all this and rejected Him. Have you been rejected by someone you love? – Tell Jesus about it. He knows what your feelings are all about and you are all beautiful in His sight. He is your Friend. You can trust in Him. “Beauty” is the Lord's love for you.

In the context of our Scripture for today, God, through the prophet Isaiah, contrasts those who refuse to have simple trust in the love and purposes of the Lord, with those who want Him and will give their hearts to Him. When you discover the truth, that you were designed to live in relationship with God and are willing to trust in Him, “Your eyes will see the King in His beauty; they will see the land that is very far off” (Isaiah 33:17). Do you want to see the beautiful King of glory? Do you want to catch a glimpse of the future and “see” the “land” that will be your home forever? Then trust in the Lord right now. You’ll be glad you did.

Dear Lord, forgive me of my sins. I give my heart and life to You. Thank You for Your beautiful love for me. I trust in You now and praise Your Holy Name. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries

Write to: Letters@FridayStudy.org

"While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8)

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