What would you do if you had the governor's powers and options for one week? If you could do anything the law allowed a governor to do, what would you do?

What would you do if you had the powers and options of the president for one week? If you could do anything the law permits a president to do, what would you do?

If you had the right and the power to rewrite the tax laws of this nation, what would you do? What changes would you make in the tax code?

If you had the right and the power to change the Social Security system, what changes would you make? How would you make the system different?

Suppose you were given those rights and powers with a condition. The condition: you had to personally witness the impact of your choices on the lives of each man, woman, and child affected by your decisions.

  1. Suppose for just one day, 24 hours, you could function in God's position.
    1. For just one day:
      1. You could see what God sees.
      2. You could hear what God hears.
      3. You saw and knew the hearts and the motives of every individual.
      4. You saw and knew every expression of evil in people and their actions.
    2. Suppose that just for one day you saw everything evil that occurred in the entire world.
      1. Suppose worldwide you saw every child who was abused, and you saw every child abuser.
        1. You knew what happened within each child because of the abuse.
        2. You knew exactly why the abuser committed those horrible acts and used those horrible words.
      2. Suppose for just one day worldwide you saw every spouse who was abused, and you saw the husband or wife who was the abuser.
        1. You knew what happened within the adult who was abused.
        2. You knew exactly why the abuser committed those horrible acts and used those horrible words.
      3. Suppose just for one day worldwide you saw every person who was raped.
        1. You knew what happened to the life of each rape victim.
        2. You knew exactly why each rapist committed the act.
      4. Suppose that just for one day worldwide you saw every assault, every injustice, every murder, every person in despair, and every person in grief.
        1. You saw how the life of every victim was affected.
        2. You knew the motives of every person who committed the evil.
    3. And suppose on that day that you had God's power.
      1. What would you do?
      2. How would you use your knowledge and power?

  2. Before the Babylonian empire captured the nation of Judah and placed them in captivity, God gave Judah a special message through His prophet Isaiah.
    1. God through Isaiah made it very clear that their evil had reached a level that He could no longer ignore or forgive.
      1. They were so thoroughly evil and rebellious that they were like a person that did not have a single, healthy place on his or her body (1:4-6).
      2. Their worship so sickened God that He hid His eyes when they sacrificed and closed His ears when they prayed (1:10-15).
      3. The city of Jerusalem was like a prostitute who helped murders and thieves take advantage of widows and orphans (1:21-23).
      4. God promised that the time of reckoning would come soon, and He would punish all their evil (1:24-31).
    2. As God continued to speak to Judah through Isaiah, basically Isaiah declared two things.
      1. God documented their evil and proved they were a wicked people.
      2. God promised that vengeance and devastation would consume Jerusalem and all the people of Judah.
    3. And it happened.
      1. Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, starved Jerusalem into submission.
      2. Israelites were taken as captives to Babylon; they lost the "good life" and became slaves.
      3. The city of Jerusalem and the temple were completely destroyed.
        1. The city and its walls were reduced to rubble.
        2. The rubble served as a home for wild animals.

  3. After Judah was taken captive into Babylon, God through Isaiah invited Judah to come home to Jerusalem (Isaiah 55).
    1. Read Isaiah 55:1-13 with me.
      "Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk Without money and without cost. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And delight yourself in abundance. Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen, that you may live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you, According to the faithful mercies shown to David. Behold, I have made him a witness to the peoples, A leader and commander for the peoples. Behold, you will call a nation you do not know, And a nation which knows you not will run to you, Because of the Lord your God, even the Holy One of Israel; For He has glorified you." Seek the Lord while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the Lord, And He will have compassion on him, And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon. "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," declares the Lord. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it." For you will go out with joy And be led forth with peace; The mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, And all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Instead of the thorn bush the cypress will come up, And instead of the nettle the myrtle will come up, And it will be a memorial to the Lord, For an everlasting sign which will not be cut off.
    2. The chapter's structure is fascinating.
      1. First God speaks (55:1-5).
        1. "All you exiles who realize how much you need Me, come to the waters."
        2. "I will bring you to My blessings; it will not be you; it will be Me."
          1. "You do not need money."
          2. "You need to trust my grace, my goodness."
        3. "I will be as dependable and as merciful to you as I was to David."
        4. "If you trust Me, as David did, you will be a witness to the world to show what I can do."
      2. Then Isaiah speaks (55:6,7).
        1. "God is calling you; come to Him while you can locate Him."
        2. "Turn to Him, and He will have compassion on you, and pardon you."
      3. Then God speaks (55:8-11).
        1. "Do not try to figure Me out; just trust Me enough to come to Me."
        2. "My purposes will be accomplished; what I say will happen; depend on it!"
      4. Then Isaiah speaks (55:12,13).
        1. "Go with joy while God calls you and find peace."
        2. "If you will trust God and return to Him, the whole creation will applaud you."
        3. "Everything that opposed your return will now help you."

  4. Judah could not understand God's compassion, mercy, and grace.
    1. "You mean the God who destroyed us because we were wicked now wants us to come back to Him?"
      1. "You mean the God who knew how murderous, arrogant, idolatrous, materialistic, and evil we were would just take us back?"
      2. "You mean the God who was sick of our worship, who refused to look at our sacrifices, who refused to listen to our prayers would take us back?"
    2. And God answered, "Oh, yes, if you will repent and trust me, I will take you back."
      1. "I will not only take you back, but I will bless you."
      2. "I will not only take you back, but I will make you my people."
      3. "I will not only take you back, but I will make an eternal agreement with you."
    3. And Judah said, "But God, that is not the way we would do it--destroy us, make us slaves, and then restore us--we would not do it that way."
      1. And God replied, "Of course you would not."
      2. "I do not reason like you reason; I do not react like you react; I do not think like you think."
      3. "I think and act in ways that you never think and act."
      4. "My ways and your ways are different; my thoughts and your thoughts are different."
      5. "Trust me, repent, and come."

[Prayer: God, help us stop trying to figure You out. Instead, help us follow You because we trust You.]

Can you forgive, accept, and restore loving relationship with a parent who abused you? a spouse who rejected you? a boss who exploited you? A person who caused you enormous pain? Probably not. We do not do things like that.

God can. God does. He can and does because He is filled with compassion, mercy, and grace. And that is why I am glad that none of us ever are God for a day.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Morning Sermon, 18 June 2000

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