O GIVE THANKS UNTO YAHWEH
Christmas Eve – 2021 LSB #’s 356, 375, 363
Text – Isaiah 12:4-6
You will say in that day: O give thanks to Yahweh! Call upon His name! Make His deeds known among the peoples! Make memorable that His name is exalted! Make music to Yahweh, because He has done majestic things! Let this be made known in all the earth! Shout & sing for joy, O Zion who dwells securely! For great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.
O GIVE THANKS UNTO YAHWEH
It is a wonderful time of the year as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, Israel’s promised messiah. Doing so, you have received a great gift & privilege. You are living in the age of the fulfillment. God’s Son has already accomplished His saving work with His perfect life, death & resurrection. Salvation has been won for you.
Not only that, but you’ve been given the gift & privilege of thanking God, praising Him & commending Him to others. This too is a great gift from God – the gift of singing doxology. Isaiah 12 can help us appreciate this great gift, because many Americans do not consider going to church to be a blessing.
Even for many Christians, going to church is a chore, a tedious burden. “Mom & dad, do I have to go to church?” they complain. They’d rather stay home & occupy themselves with more amusing things. Most Americans now consider church to be just another voluntary association of like-minded people, like the Rotary, the bridge club or the friends of the library.
In their mind going to church is a big yawn because they see nothing special happening there. Isaiah, prophet of ancient Israel, helps us understand “church” in a very different way. You’ve been given the great gift & privilege of living in the promised age to come. Many Before Christ believers longed to be in your shoes, or should I say in your sandals.
In chapter 11 Isaiah announced the coming messianic age. The new & greater David will be anointed by the Holy Spirit who will bestow the gifts of wisdom & understanding, of counsel & might, of knowledge & reverence toward Yahweh. He will know how to rule & will be able to execute wise rule. He will be faithful to the God of ancient Israel. This new & greater Davidic King will rule in righteousness. He will establish the age of peace, when the wolf lies down with the lamb.
In that age to come the entire earth will be full of knowing Yahweh, the true God, the Creator of the heavens & earth. He will restore Israel. To this Messiah of Israel Gentiles will gladly come & enjoy the blessings under His saving reign & rule. In Isaiah 12 the prophet gave the response that future Israel would give to their God when He brings in the Promised Age.
It follows upon chapter 11 & its promise of the messianic age. In the age to come Israel will sing the song of chapter 12. Isaiah composed a hymn of the future. In that day Before Christ, Israel was experiencing tough times. They suffered under the tyranny of ancient Assyria & soon would suffer under the oppression of Babylon.
But, Isaiah proclaimed, the day is coming when our God will reverse our plight, when we will enjoy the blessings of salvation under a perfect Davidic King. And in that day, you O Israel & Jerusalem will sing a song of praise & thanksgiving:
“You will say in that day: O give thanks to Yahweh! Call upon His name! Make His deeds known among the peoples! Make memorable that His name is exalted! Make music to Yahweh, because He has done majestic things! Let this be made known in all the earth! Shout & sing for joy, O Zion who dwells securely! For great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.”
Life with God means doxology where life & praise are inextricably linked. Isaiah promised that the age to come will be one of praise & thanksgiving to the Holy One of ancient Israel, the true God. The sermon text is the 2nd stanza of the hymn in chapter 12 – eight lines that call for music & singing to God. How will Israel praise the Lord? By exhorting each other with imperatives. These lines are plural imperatives which the future Israelites will say to each other. “You all, give thanks to Yahweh. You all, call upon His name in holy worship. You all, make His wondrous deeds known among the Gentiles. You all make memorable that His name is exalted.” To give God praise is to brag about Him in public before others.
Christians extol the Lord, not themselves. Believers direct attention away from themselves to the Lord Himself. The God of Israel is the one to be glorified & magnified. That is how faith talks. In church we encourage each other to praise the Lord. We give glory to the Holy One of Israel.
But why? Because of what He has done. Not only were his BC promises marvelous. He fulfilled them in the most marvelous way. You have the privilege of seeing & knowing the fulfillment. There did come a new & greater Davidic King, One anointed with the Holy Spirit at His baptism under John. He was endowed with wisdom & power.
Jesus healed the sick, restored the lame, and gave sight to the blind & hearing to the deaf. He established peace with God & peace among His followers. Not only that, by His death He atoned for the sins of Israel & all Gentiles. By His resurrection, death itself was conquered. And through His gospel the earth is being filled with the knowledge of the God of ancient Israel.
Because Yahweh through His Son has done majestic things, make music to Him. Extol Him & His saving work to each other & around the world, so that more & more people can join His choir. For your saintly nature, going to church is a great joy & privilege. There the Lord gives you His saving gifts. There you can give the Lord your praise & adoration.
You live in the age to come inaugurated by Jesus Messiah. You can now sing Isaiah’s futuristic song as a present reality. A Christian church is a walking & singing doxology to the true God. The fulfillment has come. Tomorrow we celebrate the birth of the Davidic Messiah. He will rule all of creation in perfect joy, peace & harmony. This Christmas season give thanks to Yahweh, through Jesus the Davidic Messiah! Encourage each other to do that: “O give thanks unto Yahweh, for He is good, & His steadfast love endures forever!” (Psalm 107:1) Amen.
Come, your hearts & voices raising, Christ the Lord with gladness praising; loudly sing His love amazing, worthy folk of Christendom. Christ, from heaven to us descending & in love our race befriending; in our need His help extending, saved us from the wily foe. Gracious Child, we pray, O hear us, from Your lowly manger cheer us, gently lead us & be near us till join Your choir above. Amen. LSB 375:1-2, 6.
Pastor Dean R. Poellet