In his book, In the Grip of Grace, Max Lucado tells the story of a man who adopted a troubled teenage girl. Everyone in town knew the girl’s reputation. She lied. She cheated. She refused to obey any authority. She often turned destructive. Why would anyone want to adopt her? Still the man took her into his house, gave her a special room of her own, and treated her like his daughter. She treated him just like everyone expected. One day she ran home from school, raced into the house, and started looking everywhere for money. Finding none, she went on a rampage, disrupting and destroying everything in sight. When the man returned home from work that evening, a ruined house greeted him. The entire place was turned topsy-turvy. Many precious possessions lay shattered on the floor.
The neighbors watched to see the girls expected expulsion. They came to him with advice: “Don’t finalize the adoption papers. Send her back.” The man steadfastly refused all such advice. “Send her back,” neighbors and friends repeated. “After all, she is really not your daughter.” “I know,” the man admitted. “But I already told her she was.”
Isaiah chapters 1 through 11 describes God’s people at their worst. They are liars, cheats, and disobedient to authority. Every sin we could imagine is laid out before us. Judgment has ruled most of Isaiah’s first 11 chapters—judgment on disobedient people, on greedy rulers, on luxury-loving women, and even a on cruel enemy nation called by God to punish God’s people. Sandwiched around most of the judgment speeches have been promises of hope. These promises centered particularly in a baby boy who would enter the world and be everything the present leadership of Israel was not.
The first part of Isaiah’s prophecy teaches me that, I am a sinner; that I deserve all the judgment God has described, all the punishment that he could possibly dole out, I deserve. Like the people of Israel, I turn to Yahweh and ask “Are you going to exile me from your presence for ever?”
The answer comes back, “No, my son. I told you, you are my child. I meant it. Come, see my salvation and celebrate with me.”
Isaiah chapter 12 teaches us how to celebrate God’s salvation. We sing!
The message comes in four parts:
Conclusion: When Jesus spoke to the woman at the well in John Chapter four, he offered her living water, and said those whose thirst is quenched with this water, out of their bellies will flow living water. Once we taste it, we should tell it. It should flow out in songs of salvation. With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.