Christmas Eve 2010 - 'Help Comes Looking For You'

For those of you who weren't able to be with us during our Christmas Eve gathering, what follows is the transcript from tonight's message from Isaiah 9:1-7.
Every 4th of July we tell stories about 1776 and the battles fought to win our freedom as a nation. In 733 BC, the great story of freedom for the people of Israel were the events of the Exodus where the God of the Scriptures bent the laws of nature in order to rescue them from slavery to the Egyptian kingdom. 

In 733, that story becomes real and familiar because on the northern horizon, another kingdom threatens to invade and enslave this people...God’s people. The king has told the army to get ready for a fight and has made deals with other nations to help them fend off hese marauders - deals that will provide a short-term solution but in the end only delay the inevitable.

These are dark days...hopeless times. Because where do you go if you’ve exhausted economic, military and political help AND you think that God is angry with you and is out to get you? The shocking answer in this ancient text is that you don’t go looking for help; help comes looking for you.

You don’t go looking for help. Light shines into the darkness. Grief gives way to glory. Because help comes looking for you.

You don’t go looking for help. Crops you have ruined turn into a great harvest. Your story of scarcity becomes a tale of treasure. Because help comes looking for you.

You don’t go looking for help. Your pitiful attempts to rise up are eclipsed by a well-planned, infinitely-resourced rescue mission. Because help comes looking for you.

You don’t go looking for help. The war is already fought and won. You don’t step foot on the battlefield until the conflict has been resolved. Because help comes looking for you.

You don’t go looking for help. Help comes looking for you. A baby is born and you know that help has arrived. Help is not coming - you don’t have to wait for the baby to grow up and learn military strategy - his birth means that help is here and your hope is secure.

The birth of this baby reminds us that God is a wise warrior who will not rest until he finishes the job. Wonderful Counselor. Mighty God. Everlasting Father. Prince of peace. You don’t go looking for help; help comes looking for you.

The God of the old Exodus is the God of this new Exodus.  A baby’s cry pierces a silent night. This God proves he is mighty to save. A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices. For yonder breaks the new and glorious morn. You don’t go looking for help; help comes looking for you.

History and hermeneutic can tell us the hope these words provide to a people living in 733BC or to these same people centuries leader under Roman rule on the night that Jesus Christ was born. But what do you make of this?

I don’t know the kind of help you need tonight. Lonely. Tired. Guilt. Shame. Skeptic, seeker, saint - every story is unique but every situation shares this solution. You don’t go looking for help; help comes looking for you.

Will you let him help? Do you have the courage - the humility and the hope - to let a baby help you? Can you confess that you need help? If you walked in tonight as an outsider to Christianity, every hope and every help besides Christ is futile. If it isn’t failing you now, it will fail you later. Quit looking for help; help has already come.

If you call yourself Christian, this table is set so you can live out the story of Isaiah 9. You don’t walk up here looking for help; you make your way to this meal because help came looking for you. A baby is born. The wise warrior who won’t rest until we are rescued arrives. And so we sing songs about the night of his arrival and we soak bread into wine because on the night before his death, Jesus said ‘Do this and remember that you didn’t come looking for help; help came looking for you. You didn’t come looking for me. I came looking for you.’

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