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Isaiah 65:17-25
! Introduction
            Do you ever get tired of…the terrorist threat?
September 11 is just past and we have remembered what happened a year ago.
Although we have again settled into a routine of life, we know full well that it could happen again.
This week, George Bush outlined his reasons for war against Iraq.
When we hear that we know that peace is not going to come any time soon.
Do you ever get tired of these threats?
Do you ever get tired of…the cloud of death?
I never had a grandfather, my children have only had a step grandfather for a few years because both our fathers died before we were married.
I wish I could promise my children that their children will have a grandfather, but I can’t make that promise.
I wish it wasn’t like that.
Do you ever get tired of…impending difficulty?
As a city boy, I have spent the last 20 some years among farmers.
At first, I thought farmers would be content and prosper with occasional struggles.
I have found out that it is a constant struggle.
If it isn’t the low prices, it is the high input costs and if it isn’t that, it is the lousy weather or the new diseases resulting in low yields and if not that, something else.
What happens in farming is like life for many people - there always seems to be some difficulty around the corner.
Do you ever get tired of…fleeting prosperity?
It has happened to me so many times in the past.
I have a little bit of money saved up and think that I am getting slightly beyond a “pay check to pay check” existence and then something breaks on the car or in the house, the kids have more cavities than I thought, someone needs new glasses or something like that.
You never seem to get very far ahead.
Do you ever get tired of…the silence of God? God is not silent and the evidence of his loving presence is all around us in creation, salvation and so many experiences in life.
But we can’t see God and we can’t hear God and it seems that when we really want an answer, it isn’t always obvious to us.
I just wish I could hear God’s voice more clearly.
Romans 8:22 says, “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.”
When we get tired of the things I mentioned, we are a part of the “whole creation groaning.”
The violence, instability, environmental problems, violent weather, daily troubles, our own sin and the evil actions of others are all part of the whole creation groaning under the burden of a world that has been broken by sin and is suffering under its consequences.
Long ago the people of Israel, were people who were tired of a hard life.
They had built houses which had been destroyed by the Babylonians.
They had cultivated a vineyard and just as it was beginning to really produce, it was ripped from the ground.
They had children but watched as they were killed before their eyes.
They had cried out to God, but he wasn’t listening at this time because they had ignored him for so long.
To a people tired of trouble, God gave a promise that it would not always be like that.
Today as we conclude our study of Isaiah we will look at the glorious hope God promised in Isaiah 65:17-25.
Although being a Christian is about eternal life that is abundant and begins now, we also need to be reminded about what is yet to come and this passage is a glorious word of hope, not only to Israel, but to us as well.
An Act of God Creates It. 17
            After God created the world He pronounced it good.
Today that same creation is not good.
The groaning of the world we live in came about when we let sin come into the world.
But in Isaiah 65, God has promised a new thing.
How will it come about?
Some have suggested that it will come about as people begin to follow the Christian way.
As more people become Christians, they will begin to live in the way that God has intended - they will care for each other, they will not fight anymore, they will discover many new cures to diseases, they will pass laws that will make life more and more improved.
People will create a new world which is much better.
As they submit to God, gradually they will make it happen.
The words of Isaiah 65 suggest a different answer.
The certainty and power of this promise is not based on human effort, but is something created by God.
It is interesting to note that the language of this verse is very similar to Genesis 1:1.
The words “create,” “heavens” and “earth” are the exact same words found in the first verse of the Bible.
That tells us that just as God created the first world, so it is God who will create this new world.
The promise of something new is based not on the hope that people and conditions will somehow get better and better, but is based on the power and promise of the one who created the world in the first place.
The promise is given here in Isaiah 65:17.
It is repeated in the New Testament in II Peter 3:13, “But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.”
It is also affirmed in Revelation 21:1, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away...”
We are looking forward to a great renewal.
We can count on it because God, the creator will bring it about!
Conditions In It.
Bill Hybels tells of a Christian music instructor who was trying to get some junior high guys to behave in a music class.
She finally said in exasperation, "You'd better start singing like I'm telling you to sing in this choir, because if you have any plans for going to heaven, that's all we're going to do there!"
Well for the junior high kids, spending five or ten billion years in choir robes wasn't their idea of a good time!
What will the new heaven and earth be like?
!! A. New 17
            All of us can recall things that are part of our memory bank that are not pleasant.
We think about things that happened to us or things that we did that were embarrassing or hurtful to others.
Each time we think about them, we cringe and wish that we could forget these things.
Memories can be healed, but they are still there, we just learn to deal with them, but there is a much greater promise given in Isaiah 65:17.
The prophet says, "...The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind."
God will effect a complete healing of all painful things in our life so that we will not remember them.
The promise is even bigger than the healing of memories.
The promise seems to me to tell us that all the sad, hurtful, violent, destructive, evil things that have happened and are happening in the world will be completely removed so that they will never be remembered any more.
When Jesus came to earth, he began to bring about this removal of the former things.
One of the evidences of that is that the law is no longer a curse hanging over us.
We have forgotten what it means to live under the law because the law has been removed and we have no memory of that former thing.
But this promise is not yet completely fulfilled, either.
Revelation 21:4,5 promises, "...the old order of things has passed away.
"He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!"
            How wonderful it will be when all the old things, all the things that destroy and hurt and cause us pain will be gone and everything will be new.
!! B. Joy 18-19
            Do you ever have days which are so good that you think, I will never have reason to be sad again?
It has happened to me.
I feel so good and everything is going so well, that I forget that the next day may be quite different.
But then the day of sadness comes again and I am reminded that sadness and weeping are a part of life.
I once saw a tee shirt which said, "You are born, you pay taxes and you die."
If that sums up life, there is not really much to live for is there.
Life isn't that bad, but there are many days filled with sorrow and sadness.
The promise we are given in Isaiah 65: 18, 19 is that this condition of frequent sorrow or at best a guarded joy will be removed.
The promise is that "...the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more.”
When people experience deep sorrow, they get to the place where their tears are all dried up.
They don't cry any more, but not because they are not sad.
But that is not the case here.
There are no more tears because joy and rejoicing will be the order of the day, every day forever.
The words “joy,” “delight” and “rejoice” are mentioned 6 times in these verses.
Another part of the rejoicing is the knowledge of what God says in verse 19: “I will…take delight in my people.”
Not only will we rejoice to be in heaven and to have all tears removed.
Joy will permeate heaven so much that God will rejoice in us.
How wonderful to know that God will rejoice in us being there.
Sounds like perpetual party to me!
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