Sermon for 1st Lenten Midweek – 3.9.22

+ 1st Lenten Midweek Service – March 9th, 2022 +

Isaiah 43:1-7

Beautiful Savior Lutheran

Milton, WA

 

“God Only Has Eyes for You”

 

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

 

Remember that old song, “I Only Have Eyes for You.” Since it was first written in 1934 by Harry Warren and Al Dubin, singers from Frank Sinatra to Art Garfunkel have covered it. It’s a song of personal devotion and love.

 

The Lord has His own version, albeit a far greater version, of this golden oldie here in Isaiah 43. A song of God’s love and devotion…“you are valuable in My eyes.”

 

The you in our text is singular, not plural. It’s you not you all. Singular you denotes a focus that is individual and intimate, particular and personal. The same specific concern for you comes in Isaiah 43:1 where God says, “I have called you by name, you are Mine.” His care is cosmic and universal, to be sure, but to emphasize the value God places on you, He uses the personal “you” singular you, twenty-five times in Isaiah 43:1–7. Over and over again it is you, you, you . . . you! “You are valuable in My eyes.”

 

When God’s people first received these words they were far away from home. They were in Babylon, and Babylon said, “You are nothing in my eyes.” Babylon was distant, aloof, cold, cruel, and calculating. The Judean exiles were nothing more than slaves and prisoners, cogs in their vast and ever-growing political machine.

 

Isaiah’s words to Israel leads us to ask an important question. Where do I find my value?

 

It is quite easy to search for and find our value in the world around us. Just turn on the TV, scroll through your social media or your favorite news source. There we see perfect people with perfect families and perfect marriages delighting in perfect jobs. And when these images summon us, what do we see? We see that we don’t measure up. You name it—we don’t have it. And we quickly become addicted to how the fallen world sees us or values us. But this is like looking at a circus funhouse mirror to see your reflection. Look into the mirrors of this fallen world long enough and we’ll soon begin to languish, lose heart, and feel worthless. As if we have no value.

 

And yet, in the face of all that, the Lord declares to you, as he did to Israel, You are valuable in My eyes.”

 

Your value comes from the Lord, who says, “You are valuable in My eyes.” It is the same you—singular, not plural. Specific, reserved, and exact. It is you! And you are incredibly valuable. The Hebrew word here, translated “valuable,” denotes significance, stature, and substance. You are prized, priceless, preferred, and precious.

 

So much of value, in this life, is based on ownership. Maybe you’ve heard that joke about the value you see your house at, what a buyer sees your home’s value, and the value the placed on it for tax purposes.

 

But what does the Lord say in Isaiah 43. “Bring My sons from afar and My daughters from the end of the earth. All upon whom My name is called, and whom I created for My glory, whom I formed and whom I made.” God’s value of us, isn’t so much a matter of ownership, as it is a matter of handiwork, creation, and a unique relationship. God has created and claimed, fashioned and formed us. We are His sons and His daughters. We belong to him because he has formed us and redeemed us.

 

The other thing about value is the price someone is willing to pay for something. When we value something, say a family vacation or something special for a loved one, we are willing to pay the cost.

 

In a similar, yet greater way, God says in Isaiah 43:4, “And I will give people in exchange for you, and nations in exchange for your life.” When Israel passed through the Red Sea, the Lord paid for it with the life of Egyptians. Now Israel is about to leave their captivity through the Persian King Cyrus and God will pay for it with the life of Babylonians. Our God is willing to lay down people’s lives for us.

 

Who is God that we would trust him? Isaiah 40:26 says that He calls every star by name. The Milky Way is 104,000 light-years across and contains over 100 billion stars. To count them one by one would take a person over 3,000 years. And yet, God calls each of them by name! This is the God who says in Isaiah 43:1, “I have redeemed you, I have called you by name,” and in verse 4, “You are valuable in My eyes.”

 

And when God declares this, you can take him at his word. For His Word is everlasting—Isaiah 40:8; His righteousness is everlasting—51:8; His love is everlasting—54:8; His covenant is everlasting—55:3. No wonder Isaiah 40:28 states, “He is the everlasting God.” This is the One who says, “You are valuable in My eyes.”

 

Who? You. Yes. You. You are valuable, cherished, of infinite worth, precious in the Lord’s sight. Where? Not in the eyes of Babylon. There we are nameless numbers and state-owned statistics. Where are we valuable? Not in our eyes. When our eyes are wide open, we see our duplicity, dishonesty, idolatry, and ongoing sin.

 

So where are we valuable? God says, “In My eyes!” To quote Luther, “Although in supreme trials you seem nothing in your own eyes and are condemned as one cast off by the world, in My eyes you are glorious. Therefore you may be vile in your own eyes, in the eyes of the world, and even in those of your brothers (as happened to us on the part of our Enthusiast brothers). Fear not. In My eyes I regard you as a precious jewel.”

 

You are valued in the Lord’s eyes when in a baptismal flood, God claimed you as His own; and on a hill called Calvary, He paid for you with His Son, Jesus. This means God has more than just eyes for you. He has hands and feet for you, nailed to a cross. He has a head for you, crowned with thorns. He has a side for you, thrust through by a spear.

 

You are valued so much so that our Lord Jesus took on your flesh, became one with you in your humanity, lived for you, went to the cross for you, suffered for you, was crucified for you, considered of no value by the world for you, laid in the grave for you, and rose again on the third day for you.

 

But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.

 

And now the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus to life everlasting. Amen.

Beautiful Savior

is a traditional Lutheran Church, faithful to God's Word and His Sacraments. We equip God's people to serve, love, and encourage one another as we grow in our personal relationship with Christ. We reach out to the community as beacons of light, sharing the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Savior.

Church Office Hours

Monday - Thursday 8:30am-3:30pm

Friday 8:30am-11:30am

The office is closed on Fridays during the summer months of June, July, and August.

Preschool Office Hours

August - May
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
8:30am-12:30pm

By appointment only June and July

Contact

Address
2306 Milton Way
Milton, WA 98354
Phone
(253) 922-6977
Fax
(253) 922-6977