Isaiah 40:1-11 Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13 2 Peter 3:8-15a Mark 1:1-8
Geocaching sounds like a hobby that I may want to pick up. Geocaching is like hide-and-seek for people with a map and a compass. It is more than that. It is a game, a competition, to see if you can find specific items in specific locations. All you have to guide you is a set of map coordinates. As you follow the direction the compass points you, the object you are trying to discover may be in the woods. It may be found near a busy intersection. The item may be anywhere. Once you find the object that you are looking for, then you take a picture of it so that you have proof of your discovery.
Geocaching is a skill that can aid you in traveling in a strange town. It may help you if you were ever stranded and need to find the quickest route to your family. What it does is help you can confidence in yourself. Along the way you leave the habitats in which you find the objects the way that you found them.
As we are heading towards Christmas and the arrival of the Son of God, we realize that geocaching takes on a different perspective. Instead of keeping our surroundings in pristine order, God changes everything. Instead of us searching for meaning, God is searching for us. Instead of leaving the items in place for the next person or group to find, God takes us to a new place. Yes, God is looking for us. When he finds us, we won’t be the same. We are to be willing to change. This willingness to change happens whether we are in a wilderness or not.
A. We might be in a wilderness (Isaiah 40:1-5)
1. Advent is about being prepared for the coming of the Son of God, Jesus
2. However, we can feel out in a wilderness, with no idea which direction to go
3. Yet, God is saying to us that our guilt doesn’t have to make us feel alone, especially when our punishment is over!
4. God is making a way for us to get back to him – no matter what we have done
5. The way of the Lord will be prepared, even in the wilderness that we are in
6. All the rough places will be made level, so that we may see the glory of the Lord
7. Are you in a wilderness right now? Does it seem like your prayers are not being answered? Does it seem like you are getting punished, over and over again, for something you did a long time ago? God is making his way to you. And He is making a way for you to get to him! You will be able to find God – for he is looking for you! And do his messengers have good news for you!
B. God sends messengers to speak of his coming (Isaiah 40:6-9)
1. Yes, we grieve the loss of a loved one – we do wither and fade from life
2. However, the word of our God will stand forever!
3. The herald of good tidings is going to lift up her voice and say: “Here is your God!”
4. John the baptizer was one of the heralds of good tidings (Mark 1:1-8)
a. He proclaimed a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins
b. As people confessed their sins, they were baptized
c. He said: “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me”
d. I have baptized you with water, he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit
5. God is coming your way. And he is making a way for you to get to him. For us to know that we are going to meet God, we are to repent and be baptized. We are to change our ways. We are to no longer get joy out of pleasing ourselves. We are to confess our sins and start to seek God’s ways. We have much to gain as we meet God and live lives that show God’s care for us. Much like in geocaching one takes care of the environment in which the object is found, God cares for those whom he finds.
C. God is claiming his people (Isaiah 40:10-11)
1. The Lord comes with might (2 Peter 3:8-15)
a. The heavens pass away of the Lord’s arrival
b. The elements dissolve like fire
c. Everything, including the earth, will be burnt up
d. Before this happens, we have time to repent of our ways! Why repent?
2. God has righteousness for us!
a. We repent because God has forgiveness for us (Psalm 85:2)
b. We claim and live the holiness and godliness that God has for us
c. We live lives that reflect the fact of our repentance
d. He is calling us to be faithful to him!
3. God has salvation for us!
a. God wants us
b. He is pursuing us, so that we might have salvation
c. He wants to gather us up in his arms, feed us, & carry us!
4. God wants you to know him. He wants to you have all the good that he has for you. He is offering forgiveness to you. He is offering peace to you. And when we accept all that God has for us, then we will know what salvation means. Isn’t it about time that you received the good that the Lord has for you?
God is doing whatever it takes to make sure you know that he has found you. He is being quite patient with us. The earth has not been burned up yet because God wants you to choose him.
Everything about the rough places in our lives will be made smooth as we realize what God is doing for us. We may be suffering from depression. We may have everything in life stacked up against us. We may be buried under mountains of despair.
But God is making a way for you to see him! Repent of your ways. The Lord is wanting to help you to get rid of the comfort you are finding in self-pity. The Lord is wanting you to come in from the self-imposed isolation that you have given yourself.
During this Advent, during this week, nary even today, look towards God. He is here for you. Oh, you are not depressed? You are not doing the backstroke in self-pity? Regardless, repent of your ways. Confess your sin. And take hold of the good that God has for you. Live the forgiven life.