morning by morning
Palm Sunday – A LSB #’s 868:1, 3-4, 6; 686, 443 Text – Isaiah 50:4b
Morning by morning He awakens; He awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught.
MORNING BY MORNING
When Christian Marshall was baptized, his mother Kavina, along with his sponsors, Donna & Kevin Ellis, spoke on behalf of Christian. He has now completed two years of confirmation instruction. Right after this sermon, Christian will be confirming those baptismal vows on his own behalf. He will be doing that in the presence of God.
Nevertheless, sometimes children find confirmation class to be boring. The old model of simply memorizing the catechism is tedious & difficult for a young person to appreciate. At the age of 12-14, brain development is something they are not highly interested in. Of course, children are infamous for being bored with the tedium of life even apart from memory work.
Adults get bored with their jobs, with keeping up the house up & the yard, with raising the children & with their marriages. Watching a major league baseball game had become so boring that this year there’s a clock ticking between pitches to speed up the game.
Even apart from the fact that Satan wants you & me to bored to tears with religion, there’s another reason that so many people today are not highly interested in a relationship with God. Our Creator is just too good at providing for us. Every day that we wake up & are able to breath & think & eat & walk & talk, it’s because God is taking care of all of it.
Morning by morning, Yahweh takes care of so many aspects of our lives, & does it so well, that it never occurs to us to think about them. Have you given any thought to your heart beat this morning? How about your nervous system? Have you turned on or off your sense of touch? If you ate breakfast this morning, are your kidneys & liver functioning correctly?
Our relationship with our Creator seems boring to us because He keeps His end of the
Deal so well. As a result, when you actually listen to the opening words of the sermon text, “Morning by morning He awakens; He awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught,” it’s easy to assume that God is speaking about enabling you to hear as those who are taught.
However, Yahweh is fully aware of our boredom & of our incompetent failure to listen – no matter how many blessings He gives to us. In fact, the more blessings He gives, the more spoiled we become. The less generous we tend to be. When we have nothing it’s not difficult to give away what we have. Once we have more, then we begin to count the cost.
For many years in this country, Christians were the majority. Biblical values & teaching were predominant, & the children of God became lazy. We became lazy. Sure, we still went to church. We still believed in Jesus, but little by little we began to accumulate stuff & we started counting the cost of being generous.
Morning by morning we listened to our possessions & we listened to our position – in the workforce, amongst our friends & in our congregations. Little by little we had less time for listening as those who are taught. Hearing that Jesus has removed our sins has become the same old, same old song. Hearing of God’s love for us has become just another tedious & boring task.
In that, we are not unique, nor are we alone. Thousands of years ago, God sent the prophet Isaiah to wake up His people then from their boredom. They too had taken the Lord for granted because He was so effective at blessing them. Thousands of years before Isaiah, though God had blessed Adam & Eve with a perfect world, they became bored & sought their own way.
Isaiah was sent to, & we live in a generation following in the footsteps of, a long line of people who grow tired of Yahweh’s blessings. We seek our own way in life & eventually, all of those paths lead to despair. In the verses leading up to the OT reading, the people of God are lamenting their ruin. They were weeping under God’s discipline. They had jumped to the conclusion that Yahweh had forgotten them & abandoned them in their sins. Because they had become spoiled in God’s blessing, they assumed that a believer’s life should be only sweetness & light. Reading through those verses, & from thousands of years of history, it becomes clear that no one in Israel would ever respond properly to God.
Yahweh would need to create a new Israel, one who would hear as those who are taught. For that, the heavenly Father sends His only begotten Son. He would begin the new creation – of a nation to follow Yahweh, & of a new world in which to live. The old world, that we live in still, has been ruined by the fall into sin. You & I continue to ruin it today.
Satan tempts us, because of our sin, to wallow in that ruin & in our guilt. He tempts us not to listen to God’s good news that our life is being restored in Jesus Christ. Our boredom with this broken world, caused by the brokenness of our own sins, justly causes us to seek something new, yet we search for that newness in the same old brokenness of this world.
Morning by morning, the Father, the Son & the Holy Spirit all are working to call us to the new creation. That is the solution to our boredom. It is the solution to our sins & our despair. However, as history proves, we are totally incapable of finding it. God Himself must take us there. That is what this OT reading from Isaiah is about.
Yahweh sends His faithful Servant to do the listening. Morning by morning the heavenly Father awakens His faithful Son in order that this faithful Son’s ear might hear. Jesus is the disciple that you & I were created to be, but could not. Jesus takes our place so that we can be restored completely at the resurrection of the dead.
There our bodies will be recreated holy & without blemish. On that day we will hear as God intended from before the foundation of this world. Isaiah goes on to assure us that in spite of the faithful Servant’s suffering, He will not turn back from His mission. Jesus will not grow bored with the blessed opportunity of saving us from eternal damnation. You & I have turned back from the suffering that comes along with being God’s stewards here on earth. We have been wayward & unfaithful disciples. Like the men who fell asleep at Gethsemane while Jesus prayed, we too have slept through many opportunities to listen to Jesus & to pray.
Now, Jesus listens for us, so that He in His role as Savior can sustain, with a word, all of us who are weary from our struggles with sin. Jesus listens as one who is taught by the heavenly Father with all truth & power & righteousness. Jesus takes care of that so well that we also get bored with having our sins forgiven.
For that, all we can do is repent, daily & even every hour. God never rejects anyone who turns to Him, & He allows struggle & discipline in our lives so that His children do turn back to Him. I try to make life about me. That’s my sinful nature. So I try to avoid boredom. You try to make life about you. That’s your sinful nature. Repentance is in order for all of us.
Jesus calls us to let Him make our lives about us as children of the heavenly Father. Only God can truly give us the life that our saintly nature now desires. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Come, Thou font of every blessing, tune my heart to sing Thy grace; streams of mercy, never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise. While the hope of endless glory fills my heart with joy & love, teach me ever to adore Thee; may I still Thy goodness prove. Oh, to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be; let that grace now like a fetter bind my wandering heart to Thee: prone to wander, Lord, I feel it; prone to leave the God I love. Here’s my heart, O take & seal it, seal it for Thy courts above. Amen. LSB 686:1, 3.
Pastor Dean R. Poellet