Refuge in a Dark World Back to all sermons
Date: January 17, 2021
Speaker: Sean Grossman
Scripture: Isaiah 26:1–27:1
›Refuge in a Dark World
1 In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:
“We have a strong city;
he sets up salvation
as walls and bulwarks.
2 Open the gates,
that the righteous nation that keeps faith may enter in.
3 You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you.
4 Trust in the LORD forever,
for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.
5 For he has humbled
the inhabitants of the height,
the lofty city.
He lays it low, lays it low to the ground,
casts it to the dust.
6 The foot tramples it,
the feet of the poor,
the steps of the needy.”
(Isaiah 26:1-6, ESV)
7 The path of the righteous is level;
you make level the way of the righteous.
8 In the path of your judgments,
O LORD, we wait for you;
your name and remembrance
are the desire of our soul.
9 My soul yearns for you in the night;
my spirit within me earnestly seeks you.
For when your judgments are in the earth,
the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.
10 If favor is shown to the wicked,
he does not learn righteousness;
in the land of uprightness he deals corruptly
and does not see the majesty of the LORD.
11 O LORD, your hand is lifted up,
but they do not see it.
Let them see your zeal for your people, and be ashamed.
Let the fire for your adversaries consume them.
12 O LORD, you will ordain peace for us,
for you have indeed done for us all our works.
13 O LORD our God,
other lords besides you have ruled over us,
but your name alone we bring to remembrance.
14 They are dead, they will not live;
they are shades, they will not arise;
to that end you have visited them with destruction
and wiped out all remembrance of them.
15 But you have increased the nation, O LORD,
you have increased the nation; you are glorified;
you have enlarged all the borders of the land.
for the LORD has spoken.
(Isaiah 27:7-15, ESV)
16 O LORD, in distress they sought you;
they poured out a whispered prayer
when your discipline was upon them.
17 Like a pregnant woman
who writhes and cries out in her pangs
when she is near to giving birth,
so were we because of you, O LORD;
18 we were pregnant, we writhed,
but we have given birth to wind.
We have accomplished no deliverance in the earth,
and the inhabitants of the world have not fallen.
19 Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise.
You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy!
For your dew is a dew of light,
and the earth will give birth to the dead.
(Isaiah 27:16-19, ESV)
20 Come, my people, enter your chambers,
and shut your doors behind you;
hide yourselves for a little while
until the fury has passed by.
21 For behold, the LORD is coming out from his place
to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity,
and the earth will disclose the blood shed on it,
and will no more cover its slain.
27: 1 In that day the LORD with his hard and great and strong sword will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the twisting serpent, and he will slay the dragon that is in the sea.
(Isaiah 26:20-27:1, ESV)
› The true power of the faithful is not in themselves, but in God
› When opposition comes against them, they will find their assurance in God
› God is their foundation they are able to withstand the trials and flood
› The world oppresses, but in the end the faithful will be vindicated by God
› Refuge in a Dark World
– When we consider our current times it can be easy to become discouraged
– It can be accurately described as spiritual darkness
– As the world continues to spiral down into the pit many could conclude this is the end
– Hope in the world is futile…because we see the merry-go-round of the nations which rise and fall
– This may be the worst we have seen it
– Is it really any different than any other time before?
– The world is bathed in darkness, and has been since the Fall
› Refuge in a Dark World (2)
– As Christians we shouldn’t at all be surprised over what we have been seeing in our society
– We know this is the case because we know sinfulness and know the world and humanity are robed in sin
– While many believe humanity is progressing…our time shows us it is not the case
– That which can be purposed for good we very often purpose for evil
– Why? Because of sin
– Humanity defines things such as morality, justice, and righteousness arbitrarily
– Everyone doing what is right in their own eyes
› Refuge in a Dark World (3)
– This fails because the definitions always change
– Our morality, justice, and righteousness becomes like reeds in the wind
– We all know and want morality, justice, and righteousness to exist
– Our own reasoning is not adequate enough to provide the foundation necessary for such concepts as these
– This is what Isaiah has been telling us
– Instead of turning toward God we continue to choose ourselves
– The reason the way the world is the way it is today is because of such sinfulness
– If this is true then this is the best we can do, forever changing on a whim, forever suspect to our own limitations
› Refuge in a Dark World (4)
– If, however, God exists then we do not need to rely on our limited selves
– We would have a stronghold to sustain us
– We would know justice and righteousness for all time because it would come from an eternal source…God
– All that Isaiah has proclaimed would be true
– If it is true then we have no reason to worry about what is happening in our society
– We would be able to stand against the torrents of a world falling apart, because God is stronger than the world
› Refuge in a Dark World (5)
– Yet we need to be cautious, because overcoming does not being going unscathed
– Those who belong to the world will punish those who belong to God
– They will jeer, they will hurt, they will hinder
– Isaiah describes it as such…the people are in distress because of the hindrances of the world
– Yet where do we find our peace?
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
10 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
(Philippians 4:8-13, ESV)
› Refuge in a Dark World (6)
– Isaiah began by recognizing the peace of God is found for those who belong to His city
– Christ is our refuge, and He provides our peace
– He has defeated death
– In Him we find our peace and why we are content, because He is victorious
– If Christ, who is the conqueror, did not escape the darkness, then how can we?
– Yet…we know though the world seeks our destruction God gives us life through Christ
› Refuge in a Dark World (7)
– Darkness is always the absence of what is good, and therefore it is no different from generation to generation
– The questions, worries, and fears they have all been experience by those in the past
– What kept those who have come before? That they knew God
– The knowledge they had we have as well
– We have trust that God has placed us exactly where we are for His intended purposes
– We have a refuge in this dark world
– It is not made by our hands, our reason, or our abilities
– Our refuge in this dark world is God Himself
› The Gospel of Christ