Damariscotta Baptist Church
Monday, May 21, 2018
Growing personal relationships with God and community

02/11/18 Sermon - Stop Trusting in Humans

“Stop Trusting in Humans”

Isaiah 2:10-22

 

We have been reading through chapter 2 of Isaiah, and today’s Scripture gets us to the end of the chapter but not the end of Isaiah’s description of the people that were living in Judah and Jerusalem. That description will continue through chapter 5.  Up to this point we have read about Israel’s problems with their nation, and today’s Scripture continues by describing their problems with their religion and with their society. The beginning of this chapter described the glory of the Messiah’s reign, followed by the corruption of Judah. Today we have read how the earth will be transformed from its current corruption to glory, in the day of the LORD.

Verse 12 states, “The LORD Almighty has a day in store.”

 

The term “day of the LORD” is used more than 25 times in the Bible, and does not refer to a particular day, but rather to “God’s time.” We are currently in the day of humans and have been since the fall. But as we read here in Isaiah, the day of humans will not last forever. Isaiah prophecies that the “day of the Messiah” will come and when it does, the “day of humans” will end and the Lord will reign.

 

The description of what humans will do when the “day of the LORD” appears begins in verse 10:

  • Humans will be terrified - they will try to hide in the rocks, in the dust
  • Humans will be humbled - the LORD alone will be exalted
  • There will be no more idolatry - the LORD alone will be exalted
  • God will be glorified - all will see the terror of the LORD and the glory of His majesty
  • The LORD’s glory far surpasses human’s attempts for height and stature

 

  • The high tower
  • The fortified wall
  • The beautiful, tall masted ships of Tarshish
  • All these attempts of humans expression of human’s loftiness and haughtiness, will be humbled

Nothing in all creation will compare to the LORD.

 

Isaiah’s recommendation for when the LORD “rises to shake the earth” is this:

 

“Stop trusting in humans”

 

Isaiah takes this fact to its logical conclusion. If humans are only humans, then why do we give so much to their opinions? When we know that we have someone better to live for?

Did you catch what Isaiah said about all the things that human’s hands created and what human minds pronounced as holy? Did you comprehend where they will eventually end up?  

Verses 19-22 states that they will be not only thrown away, they will be thrown away to the “rodents and bats” which were known as the most unclean animals that existed.

Those who tried to make themselves high as the mountains, will be the very ones cowering under rocks.

Jesus described it like this as he was being forced to walk to his crucifixion, 28 But turning to them Jesus said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ 30 Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ “ Luke 23

Our attempt to make ourselves holy actually turns out to make us unclean, and when we attempt to give ourselves significance, we are left worthless.

Isaiah’s profound question hidden within these words is the same for us today.

Why would we put our trust in something worthless and unclean when we can put our trust in the living God?

Intellectually that does not make any sense. And yet when we trace intellectualism back in time we can locate a shift in the theological belief of God. Before the 13th Century, God was thought to be involved in every part of human life. Then came Thomas Aquinas, an Italian Dominican friar, Catholic priest, and Doctor of the Church. He was an immensely influential philosopher, theologian, and jurist in the tradition of scholasticism. So much so, that following his teaching, God has been separated from the material and physical world and has been put to the side and not seen as making any difference to normal history. Since the 13th Century and the time of Thomas Aquinas, God has been moved more and more to the periphery of our existence. For five centuries God has been on the outside and human existence has been on its own.

 

Then in the 18th Century human reasoning evolved to thinking that if something was not rational, it simply did not exist. Immanuel Kant tried to argue that God was so far on the periphery that He was beyond reason. Which was an attempt to recognize the existence of God, but ultimately left the existence of God to be subjective. The existence of God was subjective to the how any individual believed and did not depend on the fact that God existed. Kant argued that God could exist but only for the person who wanted Him to exist. Which led Friedrich Nietzsche to come to the conclusion that God was dead and the whole concept of God, was not only so far out there, it was useless, and for those who entertained the concept of God it was harmful. Because by hanging on to the concept of God, one would be confusing and diluting the real purpose of life, which for Nietzsche was the “will to power.”

 

The will to power, sound familiar?

 

This is where we put our trust and faith in the humans around us who have the most power, to make the best decisions for us. Yet, we know that humans fail, continuously.

 

Today, our society, as a whole, believes this -

·         all of our reality is defined in terms of humanity, God is dead, He doesn’t exist except outside of our reality, if you need him, then he is a crutch which may be fine for those who are weak

Our society, as a whole, believes

·         humans are the highest order of being, because we are the only being in nature that has reasoning

Yet, here is the difficulty with this thinking, if humans are the highest order of being, then we are in real trouble, because in reality, we have no meaning in ourselves.

 

This week’s observance of Ash Wednesday states it perfectly.

When the priest rubs the ashes across ones forehead in the sign of a cross, they will say, "You are dust, and to dust you shall return."

 

So how has the world dealt with the conflict between existence and worthlessness? Well, today, existentialist philosophers argue that we must each create our own pattern of meaning. Which means, whatever each of us thinks is meaning, then it is meaning, and just because it works for one, doesn’t mean it will work for others, so you can’t claim your meaning, is the “meaning of life” because in reality there is no such thing.

 

Is it sounding familiar?

 

Today, we have a society that argues for tolerance, as if to say that we are to accept everything everyone chooses to believe is truth.

 

When it comes to the existence of God, well, He’s dead, and it is up to us to assume for ourselves the place that God should take in the universe, because we know our own reality. And we have been told over and over again, that like Nietzsche, the only way to do this is to gain power. This message comes in loud and clear every time I listen to the news.

 

Yet, Isaiah reminds us that when we exalt ourselves, we have in fact reduced ourselves to nothing. Paul talks about this same thing in Romans 1:21-32

21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.

 

If you are like me, you may be wondering, how did everything get so muddled? God is God and we are created to worship Him. We are created to be in relationship with Him. How did the world get so confused? What’s one to do?

 

Isaiah’s answer to that question is - “Stop trusting in humans”

 

Instead of trying to make ourselves God, in order to take care of ourselves, we are called to submit to God and allow Him to take care of us. God’s plan is that when we do this, He will make us His sons and daughters. Jesus Christ entered into our space and time, and in doing so gave our space and time, meaning. And more importantly by taking on our form, God has given humanity ultimate worth.

 

Start putting your trust in God. All of it. Not just the things in your life that you find easy to give to God. He wants everything! The good and the bad! And when we do this, we read in 1 Peter 5:6 that God will lift us up,

 

6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.

 

Basically, I think we humans are impatient. God says He will lift us up in “due time.” We want it “right now.” So we have a choice. We can conceive of a way to get it right now, or we can humble ourselves and be lifted up in due time. Which means, we either trust in humans, or trust in God. Isaiah suggests we stop trusting in humans, who has but a breath in their nostrils. Of what account is this?

 

The one thing the existentialists have correct, is that it is up to You to decide.

 

Let’s pray.