God is willing to do some crazy things to get your attention. What are you willing to give up, to give Him your attention? Tune in to be challenged by today’s message about God’s Hunt for you. Help us advance the Kingdom, support our online ministry (harmonychurch.cc/give). Got kids? Check out Harmony Kids online (updated weekly) https://www.harmonychurch.cc/harmony-kids-online/!
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OPENING ILLUSTRATION: You ever seen something crazy in church? If you are online, I’d love for you to comment and let us know the craziest thing you’ve seen.
One time Jenni and I were visiting this church and we were listening to the preacher preach. Honestly, the sermon had been a sleeper. I was kind of falling asleep until the end. He started telling this story that was really drawing me in. It was getting good. And then all of the sudden, I heard this, thud, thud from behind the stage. I heard someone yell and then, no joke, this teenage kid came running out from behind the stage and did a cannonball into the baptistry.
I thought it was a setup for the sermon. The whole church went nuts! A youth pastor came running up from the back of the church and Jenni and I couldn’t stop laughing. No joke, I was taking communion and trying to stop snickering so I could focus and take the communion.
It was the craziest thing I’ve ever seen in a church but I have to tell you, it’s not near the level of crazy that I’m about to tell you about…
Check this out…
SCRIPTURE: Isaiah is in the middle of prophesying to the nations when God sends him to do this… It’s written in the third person, so some scholars think that maybe one of Isaiah’s disciples wrote this…Isaiah 20In the year that the supreme commander, sent by Sargon king of Assyria, came to Ashdod and attacked and captured it— 2 at that time the Lord spoke through Isaiah son of Amoz.
Sargon sounds like one bad mama jama of a name right? He actually was-He has sent his supreme commander – this would be like his highest general to Ashdod – the capital of the Philistines and he attacked and captured it.-Here’s what’s crazy about that-There had been a point before this where that town had been besieged for 29 years had never fallen.-Sargon’s leader is able to attack and capture this impenetrable city
-Think Thanos from the marvel movies…-Sargon’s forces are unstoppable
And this is what God says to Isaiah to preach…He said to him, “Take off the sackcloth from your body and the sandals from your feet.” And he did so, going around stripped and barefoot.
ILLUSTRATION:[start to unbutton your shirt]I didn’t want to have to do this, but if when in Rome… Ha, just kidding. But I wanted to stop and let it catch up to you what God is asking Isaiah to do. Isaiah is wearing a sackcloth – this is the clothing of a mourner. He’s been mourning the way the nations have been moving away from God and then God tells him to do something crazy.
God tells Isaiah to get Naked
Now a lot of commentators will tell you that it’s probably more likely that he’s still wearing a type of underwear, but still. Could you imagine me getting up in my boxers and undershirt and being like, “I promise, God told me to do this…”
Ha…Listen to the word God is wanting Isaiah to preach with this living. This is the craziest thing anyone had seen in church :)sermon illustration:3 Then the Lord said, “Just as my servant Isaiah has gone stripped and barefoot for three years, as a sign and portent against Egypt and Cush,[a] 4 so the king of Assyria will lead away stripped and barefoot the Egyptian captives and Cushite exiles, young and old, with buttocks bared—to Egypt’s shame.
Cush is Ethiopia. Isaiah went around naked for 3 years to make this point. And the point was Egypt and Cush were going to be captured and led off naked like Isaiah was… But I want you to listen to the real point of his sermon…
5 Those who trusted in Cush and boasted in Egypt will be dismayed and put to shame. 6 In that day the people who live on this coast will say, ‘See what has happened to those we relied on, those we fled to for help and deliverance from the king of Assyria! How then can we escape?’”
The point of Isaiah’s 3-year sermon was not that Egypt and Cush would be led off like this, but that those who had trusted in these countries instead of God would be dismayed and put to shame.
The problem was, Israel had a tendency to run to other nations instead of God for help b And God is asking them, “What are you going to do on the day that their help isn’t available?”
Dismayed & Shame.
I know none of you do this, right? None of you when you are facing a seemingly immovable object try to move it yourself?-you’ve never had so much on your plate that you can’t sleep and you just spin your wheels trying to get unstuck and feel more and more dismay?-you’ve never been parenting and got the point where you are shoving pills down your kid’s neck and trying everything possible and you are at your end-you’ve never been through a merger at work and worried night and day about how you’re gonna deal with losing your job and being swept away in the midst of the whole situation.
years ago, I had a friend say one of the most profound things He said “Your God is what you run to when you’re hurt or sad.“
So, Can I ask you a question? What’s your “God?” When you don’t know what else to do when you’ve reached the end of your resources. What do you run to? Do you run to food? Do you run to sex? Do you run to working harder? Maybe hitting the gym?
None of these things are bad unless they take the place of running to God…
James says it this way in James 4:4-64 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us[b]? 6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”[c]
James’ point is that God is a Jealous God; He desires and deserves your heart’s attention.
Can I just ask you? Why do you choose to run to other things instead of God? Do you not trust Him? Do you not really believe? Have you felt burnt in the past?
God longs to have you learn to lean into trusting Him. So much so that He would send a preacher to be naked for 3 years if He had to.
CLOSING ILLUSTRATION: In my own life, I have struggled with this. I call it Striving and Conniving. There was a period in my life when it felt like nothing I could do would go right, you ever felt that? I would work hard, stay up late. I’d try and try and it seemed like the harder I tried the less things worked for me. So much so that one night I told Jenni I just needed to go for a walk. And as I walked, I started praying. I started yelling at God.
How could he let everything I was doing seem like it was failing. I was a pastor and I was trying to build a church for Him even. And that’s when it hit me…
You know that part of the passage that says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
God spoke to me and said, Kent I don’t want what you can do for me, I want you.
I honestly think God was even frustrating what was going on in order to get my heart. Because I had been running to everything but Him. God wants to be the treasure of your life. He’s not nearly as concerned about the things we’re concerned about.
Because only one thing is needed.
Could I just tell you, today, God is on the hunt for some of you? And what you’ve been hunting is the wrong thing. You’ve been hunting success or riches, or relationships, or whatever it is.
What you need… is to learn to run to the Father.