Isaiah 35:1-10; 45:21-22; Matthew 1:21: Hebrews 12:12-13, 18-24

“Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.”

These words, recorded by the prophet Isaiah, spoke words of hope to the people of Judah at one of the darkest moments in their nation.  Like a blossom in the desert, the prophesy gave promise that life would come forth from the barren circumstances they faced.  They did not understand the theology of this promise – they did not know that it referred to Jesus, the Messiah who would come from heaven.  The one thing that they were able to hold onto was the promise that God had not forgotten them.

Looking back, we understand that the words of this promise were fulfilled when Jesus came to earth to save us.  We read in Matthew,  “…You shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (Matt 1:21)

We need to be reminded of this promise today.  People are losing hope. Everyone seems to be concerned about the state of things in our world.  We hear every day about:
Terrorist attacks
Economic meltdown
Racial tension
increased homelesness and poverty
crime, drugs, gangs
People seem to be without hope

By looking back to Isaiah’s prophecy, we can gain hope for our lives today.

ISAIAH’S TIME
The time was around 700 BC.  Judah had a series of revivals, but now they were in a time of great NEED.  The ASSYRIANS had captured several cities of Samaria.  Jerusalem was surrounded by the Assyrian army.  People were starving, fearful and overwhelmed at the thought that like the northern tribes of Israel, Judah would also be taken into captivity.

ISAIAH’S MESSAGE: JEHOVAH WILL SAVE
Isaiah 35:3-4  “Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.””
The Name ISAIAH literally means Jehovah Will Save!  Every time someone spoke Isaiah’s name, they recited the promise that God had not forgotten them!

Isaiah 45:18-19  “For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens (he is God!), who formed the earth and made it (he established it; he did not create it empty, he formed it to be inhabited!): “I am the Lord, and there is no other. I did not speak in secret, in a land of darkness; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, ‘Seek me in vain.’ I the Lord speak the truth; I declare what is right.” (Isaiah 45:18–19, ESV)
Isaiah 45:21b-22  “Who declared it of old? Was it not I, the Lord? And there is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me. “Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.”

WE NEED A SAVIOR for our TROUBLING TIMES
Isaiah’s message is just a powerful today: WE NEED a SAVIOR
ISAIAH 35:4 says “He will come to save you.”
HOW would God come?  How did the inhabitants of Jerusalem think that God would come?  In a mighty whirlwind?  In destruction killing Egypt’s firstborn?  In a pillar of fire and a mountain burning with smoke?  NO.  He came as a baby, lying in a manger.

Very similar to Isaiah’s name, the name JESUS literally translates “Jehovah Saves.”    “She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”” (Matthew 1:21, ESV)

Jesus as a frequently used name in the First Century.  It is the most common reference used to speak of our Savior, being used over 600x in the NT.  It is a COMMON name with great meaning.

The MESSIAH would come as a CHILD
This gives us HOPE
PEOPLE NEED HOPE TODAY, just as they did in ISAIAH’s TIME
JUDAH was DESPERATE

We can relate to the feelings the people of Judah were experiencing during the Assyrian invasion.  Unless someone came to save them, they were doomed.

Everyone is captivated when someone is RESCUED.  It could be a person from a burning building, a fishermen lost at sea or people trapped in an earthquake.  We are all overwhelmed with concern when we hear of hostages taken by terrorists, regardless of where it takes place.  Whenever we hear of a crisis with people in need of rescue, ever effort is extended to rescue them.  NO PRICE is too high for their rescue. NOTHING is HELD BACK.  During rescue operations, no one asks, “do we have the money to pay for this rescue?”  EVERY EYE is CAPTIVATED

Why do we respond in this way?  I believe it is because we see ourselves just as vulnerable as those who need to be rescued.  We realize, “I could be the one in that car being swept away by flood waters.”  “ I could be the one trapped in a burning building.”  “It could have been me”

We see our mother as the one crying for her son to be rescued
We understand the HUMAN PLIGHT

Let me tell you the story of a LITTLE GIRL named Esperanza Ticona (hope).

The story centers around the tragedy of a coal mine accident in Chile in 2010.  This incident captured the world’s attention, as for 2 ½ months, 33 miners were trapped 2300 feet below ground, waiting to be rescued.  Here are the highlights from CNN.

ON August 5, 2010, a collapse of the main ramp into the San Jose mine leaves 33 miners trapped 2,300 feet underground.  They would have no COMMUNICATION, FOOD or WATER from above for 17 days.  They didn’t know if the outside world knew where they were, or if they would every see the light of day again.  Finally, after 17 days of limited food and water rations, with almost no light so that they could preserve their battery power, a drill finally broke through to their location.  The miners send a note up tied to a probe which was lowered by authorities earlier in the day. Written in red ink, it reads, “We are fine in the shelter, the 33 of us.”

With frantic effort, rescue workers began the first of three plans aimed at rescuing the trapped men.  The second of these plans, known as “Plan B” began drilling approximately 30 days after the cave in.  Food, water and fresh air was being send up ths small shaft, but getting the men out was still a difficult task.

During this time, on September 14, 2010  Elizabeth Segovia, wife of trapped miner Ariel Ticona, gave birth to a girl she names Esperanza, the Spanish word for hope. She was born after her father had been trapped for 44 days underground.  Her birth brough hope to the miners below and their worried families praying that the rescue would be successful.

On September 17, 2010, 47 days after their calamity began, the Plan B bore hole reached the 33 miners. However, the hole was only 12 inches wide and would need to be widened on a second pass.   Almost one month later, the Plan B drill broke through the roof of the mine.  Now, plans to extract the men began with greater hope.  It would take almost one month longer before everything was ready to get the men out of the mine.

On October 13, 2010, after 2 ½ months underground, the first miner rescued, Florencio Antonio Avalos Silva, 31, reaches the surface at about 12:11 a.m. ET. Shift foreman Luis Alberto Urzua Iribarren, 54, is the 33rd and final miner to be rescued.  For 22 1/2 hours the final rescue operation continued without rest, as the families of the miners, the nation of Chile, and the rest of the world watched and prayed for a miracle.

You see, PEOPLE without HOPE need to be RESCUED
This story touches our heart because we know that when someone is in trouble, we must do something to help them.

Just like those trapped miners, we also are in need of a rescue.  We are reminded of the need of a physical rescue when we hear stories like this one about the Chilean miners.  Our trouble is spiritual in nature.  We are lost and destined for hell because of our sin.  We are estranged from God.  “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23, ESV).  We are without hope.  “Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” (Ephesians 2:12, ESV).

We need to be rescued!
The PEOPLE of JUDAH had lost hope
ISAIAH promised them that a SAVIOR would come

That Savior HAS COME.  His name is JESUS – JEHOVAH SAVES
“She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”” (Matthew 1:21, ESV)

He will rescue you if you call on him.
“and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.” (1 Thessalonians 1:10, NIV84)