The Words Of The Prophets - Week Three: Your Dreams Are Too Small
Today we're continuing the sermon series entitled "The Words Of The Prophets."
In the weeks leading up to Advent, we’ll be listening to the voices of the Old Testament prophets from the Lectionary readings as they prepare for the coming of the Messiah.
The inspiration for this series is a line from the classic song "The Sound of Silence" by Simon & Garfunkel. The line goes like this: The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls..."
Biblical prophets aren’t predictors of the future; they hope to shape it. They used their words to either project a hopeful future or one full of hardship---all based on what was happening at the moment.
And the words of the prophets can come to us from some unlikely places at times.
We just have to have our eyes open, our ears ready to hear, and our hearts ready to be transformed.
Prophetic imagination helps us see beyond our reality and God's reality. We get glimpses of the coming Kingdom of God to see the world the way it ought to be, and we also get a vision of a Messiah.
Today we’re going to be hearing from a prophet who saw everything fall apart but never gave up on the big dreams God had given him.
If you could remake the world---what would it look like?
This past week, I found a conversation thread asking: What would your perfect world look like?" The answers that people gave were nothing short of amazing. They ranged from the meta to the micro if you know what I mean.
Some thought about the whole world made new, and some thought about their lives and what would be the perfect world for them.
Here are some images that answer that question...
What I'd like to do for a moment is just ask some of you if you have some words or phrases that would describe your perfect world. You can shout them out.
Now let me ask you something: What would it take to make those dreams of yours a reality? Think deeply about it. You might start listing some things in your head, like money, power, and influence, or you could just state what most people are already thinking... a miracle.
Our dreams for a new and better world are too big for us, aren't they? At least that's the way it feels.
What if I told you that God has bigger dreams for the world than you or I could ever imagine? And that God wants you and I to have a hand in making those too-big dreams a reality?
Here's what I want us to hold on to today as we prepare to dig into a passage from the Old Testament prophet Isaiah:
THE ONE WHO MAKES ALL THINGS NEW DOESN'T SETTLE FOR SMALL DREAMS.
Our passage of Scripture comes to us today from Isaiah 65:17-25. We need to understand a little bit of this passage's context before exploring it.
First, this part of the book of Isaiah in the Hebrew Scriptures is known by scholars as part of 3rd Isaiah, or 4th Isaiah, depending on the scholar. This means that this part of the book was not written by the original prophet but was penned by one of his disciples, who prophesied much later.
Here's the text:
new heavens and a new earth.
The former things will not be remembered,
nor will they come to mind.
18 But be glad and rejoice forever
in what I will create,
for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight
and its people a joy.
19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem
and take delight in my people;
the sound of weeping and of crying
will be heard in it no more.
20 “Never again will there be in it
an infant who lives but a few days,
or an old man who does not live out his years;
the one who dies at a hundred
will be thought a mere child;
the one who fails to reach[a] a hundred
will be considered accursed.
21 They will build houses and dwell in them;
they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
22 No longer will they build houses and others live in them,
or plant and others eat.
For as the days of a tree,
so will be the days of my people;
my chosen ones will long enjoy
the work of their hands.
23 They will not labor in vain,
nor will they bear children doomed to misfortune;
for they will be a people blessed by the Lord,
they and their descendants with them.
24 Before they call I will answer;
while they are still speaking I will hear.
25 The wolf and the lamb will feed together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox,
and dust will be the serpent’s food.
They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,”
says the Lord.