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Sermon 11/23/08
Isaiah 9:6 - The Recipe

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The Recipe

"For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6)

I’ve discovered that I like to cook. Decades ago, after I lost the wife of my youth, a kindly older lady gave me some helpful hints about how to raise my daughter alone. She also provided six recipes, all of them casseroles, including meatloaf, macaroni and cheese, a tuna casserole and more. My daughter, Jenni, and I had the same dinner meal every six days for a long time. Somehow, as I cooked breakfasts, lunches and dinners in the years that followed, the idea formed in my mind: why am I following recipes? I am the cook. I can alter the ingredients as much as I want. I can even invent new meals - and I did!

I’ll share one of them with you today. I call it “Traditional Southern Fried Oatmeal,” though it’s only traditional for me; and I live in Southern California, not the “Southern” portion of the United States you might expect. Here’s how you make “Ron Beckham’s Traditional Southern Fried Oatmeal” (servings for two people):

Prepare two servings of “Old Fashioned” oatmeal in a microwave (or on the stove if you prefer). Mix in cinnamon, nutmeg, half a non-sugar sweetener or so, and vanilla flavoring to taste. Use much less water than the recipe calls for. After it’s cooked, add two eggs. Mix well. Separate the oatmeal into two portions and fry in a small amount of olive oil. In a separate bowl, mash a couple of bananas and mix a cup of flavored yogurt (strawberry, peach, whatever flavor you like) with the mashed bananas. Put the fried oatmeal onto plates and top each patty of fried oatmeal with the banana and yogurt mixture. Try it – you might like it. That recipe is my invention and it changes every time I make it. Sometimes I add orange juice to the oatmeal instead of water. Other times grape juice. It’s always different and we like it. I also prepare apple pancakes with whole wheat flour, which you also may like. Write to me: Ron@FridayStudy.org and I will give you the recipe. And by the way, on most mornings, I serve my wife, Genevieve, breakfast in bed. I’m the cook and I can do what I want.

Now, please note that my way of doing things is not necessarily the way other people would do them. And note that each of us is only sovereign in certain areas of our lives. I can do what I want as a cook, but in some areas I defer to other people, and especially – life is best when we defer to our God.

Our Scripture for today is from the Book of Isaiah, written by “Isaiah the son of Amoz” (Isaiah 1:1), a man who was given wonderful glimpses of the Messiah, the Christ, revealing incredible aspects of His ministry in eternity and on earth that we would not otherwise understand. For example, Isaiah 7:14 tells us, 700 years before Mary the mother of Jesus was ever thought of by humanity, that she would be a “virgin (who would) conceive and bear a Son.” And one of His names was given to us in that verse – “Immanuel,” which best translates, “God is with us.” Indeed He was with us 2000 years ago, and He is here for us right now.

Isaiah’s statement was given to him for King Ahaz of Judah, a frightened man whose capital city, Jerusalem, was being attacked by the combined armies of Israel and Syria. Ahaz was given the Word of the Lord by Isaiah the prophet that Jerusalem would be spared, but he did not believe it. The Lord replied through Isaiah, “Ask a sign for yourself from the Lord…” (Isaiah 7:11). Ahaz replied, “I will not ask, nor will I test the Lord…” (Isaiah 7:12), which sounds commendable, but note that he was disobeying the Lord, who had just told him to “ASK!”

And so the Lord gave him a “sign” whether the man wanted it or not: “the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel,” as we saw in Isaiah 7:14, speaking of an event, the birth of the Son of God, which was to occur 700-years in the future from that moment.

Another very interesting prophesy of Isaiah, involved the place where the Messiah, this “Immanuel” was to live, 700-years later. It was to be the area of Galilee, and the people of that place were thought to be “country-bumpkins” by the proud religious leaders, the “in-crowd” at Jerusalem. Some of them said about Jesus, “This is the Christ,” but others sneered at Him, asking contemptuously, “Will the Christ come out of Galilee?” (John 7:41). They should have read the Book of Isaiah more carefully because it said that one of the places He would be from was to be “Galilee of the Gentiles” (Isaiah 9:1-2).

Another incredible verse is our Scripture for today, which reveals who this Man from Galilee really is. As you can read in many places within Scripture, the Messiah (a Hebrew word), the Christ (from the Greek) both translate as “the Anointed One.” In these days, a president-elect or a new king will swear an oath of office, but in those times, precious oil would be poured onto the head of the one named to office. This Anointed One was described in various places within Scripture. He had and has many names and titles and some of them are included in today’s Scripture verse, which was written 700-years before He came to earth. Let’s read that verse together:

He did not come as a conquering king, a judge of humanity, He came to us as an obscure “child,” born to poor parents in an impoverished area that was outside the mainstream of polite society. If we were God and were sending our Son to this world, we would probably pick Rome, the capital of the Roman Empire, or maybe we would send Him to the present New York City or some other notable place. We would likely have Him be the son of the king or in-line to be the president-elect, but that was not the way God thought about it. The “Son,” as described in Isaiah 9:6, would be born in a manger, a cow-stall in Bethlehem, another obscure place, then be moved as a fugitive to Egypt, where He would not be known or recognized, and then His parents would move back to rural Nazareth, where He was to be thought of as a “Galilean.”

But from God the Father’s perspective, He is our sovereign King. “The government will be upon His shoulder,” means exactly what it says – He is the Lord, now and forever. And if you haven’t read Isaiah 9:6 for awhile, take a look carefully at the rest of the verse: Some of His other names and attributes include, “Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” He is “Wonderful.” Many women spend their lives looking for “Mr. Wonderful,” but so many have looked in all the wrong places, and He has been here all the time. He is our “Counselor.” He is not merely someone who is paid a fee to counsel us – He is the One who LISTENS to you, knows what you need and loves you without limit. He was, is and always will be the “Mighty God” and He is our “Everlasting Father.” Those who view the Messiah, the Christ as a mere man must prayerfully read Isaiah 9:6, where it clearly says He is the “God” and the “Father” of all who place their trust in Him. He is your “Prince of Peace,” the One you have always needed to finally quiet the storm that is inside and bring peace to your soul. He is the Master Chef who can do whatever He wants, and His recipe is not what the world expects – he wants you to be filled with His love, His peace. Will you trust in Him?

Mighty God, I trust in You now. Forgive my sins and save me, now and forever.  Thank You for loving me. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries

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