Isaiah 35:4 Say to those who are of a fearful heart, "Be strong, fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you."
There are many people out there saying donít be afraid. Donít be afraid to do this, donít be afraid to do that, and while it is not at all hard to say, Donít be afraid, its not just the words, donít be afraid, which are important, it is the reason why we should have no fear, that is what we are paying attention to. And as we listen we hear the world selling us everything under creation as the reason why we need not be afraid, for if we have it, it will solve all our problems. So we are sold mouthwash, deodorant, new cars, vacations, entertainment, all manner of food, nutritional supplements. Over and over again, we keep hearing that if we buy or do the right things, all manner of fearful things can be overcome, everything from cancer and althzheimers, to the test we face tomorrow in school.
So on the one hand the world would sell us everything under creation, whereas our lesson says that the answer to our fears is God the Creator of all things, who will come and save us. Who saves? Things, or God? Its really not even a question, for we know that things need someone to save them, if they cannot save themselves, how could they ever save us, or be the answer to the things we fear? What do we fear, its a long list, and for each of us it is different, however, looking again, we see that there is one thing they all have in common, and all our fears can be summed up under the heading "the wages of sin" - so the is sickness, suffering and death, which are not sent by God, but which are, the consequence of sin, either our own, or that of the sinful world in general.
Death is not something the world will willingly face. For all of the worldís treasures come to an end in death. And at death, comes judgment, and with it the question, were you rich in the worldís wealth, or rich in the way of salvation? Perhaps thatís why there has been so much to do, over the death of a British princess, her story had always been told, almost as a fairytale, but this one didnít end, and they lived happily ever after. For the ways of the world have nothing to say, which can calm the fearful heart. And to speak of God coming, only makes the fear worse, for we all know that God will hold us accountable, God will see through all our excuses, God will see our sins, and our sins will condemn us, what can we do, where can we turn?
And that is the good news, that God does not just come as the Almighty Judge, but he came first as the Savior of the World, he came to suffer and die to pay the price so that he might give to us the forgiveness of sins, all our sins. So when we see our sins, we donít try to hold onto them, or to save them. We know that the answer for sin, is not, to sin even more. Sin hurts us, sin hurts our neighbors, and sin hurts God, and so we turn from sin, and turn to God, in sorrow for our sin, we ask of forgiveness, not because we deserve it, or have earned it, but we ask for forgiveness for mercyís sake. And God comes, and saves us, and heals us, and forgives us. We believe the promise, the blood of Jesus Christ, his son, cleanses us for all our sins. And it is not just that we are cleansed, for we are made a new creation, the sinner is changed, and by the grace of God is made a saint, the lost are made children of God. And so we are saved.
And by itself this would be enough, but God does even more: Isaiah 35:5-6 "Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing for joy."
Eyes opened, we see. Ears opened, we hear. Lameness healed, we leap for joy. And then God heals our dumbness, he opens our mouth so that we can tell all the world the glorious good news. That God, who from the beginning has promised the coming of a Savior, has kept his promise, the savior has come. He has taught us the way of salvation. He suffered and died that ours sins might be forgiven. He rose from death, and promises us that we need not be afraid of anything, not even death, for he will be with us, and will raise us from death, to everlasting life.
In some ways the greatest miracle may not be the simple story of salvation, but that God has called us, and equipped us to be the bringers of this Good News to all the world. For it is easier to believe that God can save us, than it something is to believe that God can enable us to speak of the unsearchable riches that are ours in Christ Jesus, for often this is beyond our words.