Chapter 1
Tender Gratitude

Isaiah 25:1-9

In Isaiah 25, God's power over the wicked in the Great Tribulation is seen by Isaiah's vision from God. Isaiah looks toward the future when the Messiah, who is the Lord Jesus Christ, will establish His kingdom on this earth. Based on the New Testament, we know that this kingdom will exist for 1000 years, followed by the eternal state of God. Christ's kingdom will be characterized by great peace and prosperity.

I love this chapter in Isaiah, especially the first verse. It is so beautiful. With tender gratitude, Isaiah's love for God leaps forth from the page. His expression of love and praise is a model for us to follow in our own hearts. He reminds us of important matters for which we should be grateful.

One of the disadvantages of living in such a fast-paced society with our cars, jets, and busy schedules is the fact that we sometimes forget to be still, thank the Lord, and praise Him for all the wonderful things He has done for us. Notice verse one.

I. A Personal Relationship

Isaiah 25:1a

"O Lord, thou art my God ..."

What tenderness is exhibited in these words, "O Lord, thou art my God." Can you say that? Is the Lord Jesus Christ your God? If not, He can be if you will invite Him into your heart and put your faith in Him for eternal life.

Romans 10:10—For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

John 3:36—He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

A relationship with God is not a head relationship. It is a heart relationship that stems from your faith in Him. Christ is the living God that desires to live within you if you will trust in Him. When you make that your decision, He will be your shepherd who will care for your life.

Psalm 23:1-6—The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

If Christ is your Lord, then be sure to thank Him for His love for you and His great gift of salvation.

Romans 5:8—But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

1 John 4:9-10. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

II. A Purpose for Living

Isaiah 25:1b

... "I will exalt thee ..."

Exalting the Lord is to be the purpose of our lives, not exalting ourselves. When Christ comes into your heart, He gives you a purpose for living and that purpose is to exalt and glorify Him. In tender gratitude, Isaiah says, "I will exalt thee." Perhaps, this is one of the reasons why he was such an outstanding prophet of God. His focus was in the right place and so should be our focus. By exalting the Lord, we express our gratitude for Him.

Psalm 99:5—Exalt ye the Lord our God, and worship at his footstool; for he is holy.

Psalm 118:28—Thou art my God, and I will praise thee: thou art my God, I will exalt thee.

I was in one of my meditation moods about three weeks ago as I stared at the kitchen cabinet. There on the shelves were all kinds of cups and glasses. Some were little, some were big, some were plastic and beat up, and some were pretty. Usually, when I want to get a cold drink of water, ice tea, or Pepsi, I just grab an empty glass. I don't sit and fret about my glass unless it has a hole or crack in it or if it is dirty. If that happens, I use a different one. When I am chugging down my water, tea, or Pepsi, I don't say, "Wow, this glass is really good!" No, I am focused on what is IN the glass. What is inside the glass is good, tasty, and satisfying. What is in the glass is what receives the praise.

The same principles hold true for every Christian. We are all a bunch of glasses folks. Our responsibility is be empty of ourselves and to keep ourselves clean so we can be used. We are to be useable and available.

Our purpose in life is NOT to be the focus of people's praise. That is not to be our goal in life. Our purpose is to be a vessel for the Living Water that lives within us, the Lord Jesus Christ. Like tasty tea or ice cold water, praise is to be directed to the One within us who refreshes the soul's of men and women, boys and girls.

So the next time you see a glass, may it remind you of what you are, and what your true purpose and attitude should be in your life. Paul put it this way in 2 Timothy 2:21, "If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work" With the time we have left, may we be vessels of honor, clean, useable, and prepared to be used by the Lord to bring glory to Him.

2 Corinthians 10:17—But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

III. Praise for the Lord

Isaiah 25:1c, 4, 8

... "I will praise thy name ..."

Isaiah expressed his gratitude by praising the name of the Lord. We are supposed to do the same thing. Genuine praise for God should grace our lips repeatedly. Genuine praise for Christ is an outflow of the joy and love that bubble and churn within our souls. It is the burning within us that must come out into the open for it cannot be contained. When speaking about the Lord, the disciples said in Luke 24:32, "Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?"

When tender gratitude for God takes root in the heart, then triumphant praise is sure to follow. Your praise will not be contained, concealed, condensed, confounded, confused, consumed, or concluded.When praise grips your heart, you will feel like you will explode if you don't say something. Your feelings will be, "I've just got to speak up. I can't remain silent." Our Lord is to be the recipient of our praise.

Beloved, praise for the Lord is not to be kept a secret. It is to be publicly declared. When we do declare our praise for the Lord, we express are gratefulness for Him.

Jeremiah 17:14—Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise.

Psalm 109:30—I will greatly praise the Lord with my mouth; yea, I will praise him among the multitude.

It is interesting to note that the word "praise" comes from the Hebrew word yadah {yaw-daw}. This word also means "to throw or to shoot arrows." Let's think about this for a minute. Shooting arrows carries several ideas.

1. The idea of Attack

When we praise the Lord we are attacking Satan and robbing him of the glory that he seeks.

2. The idea of Attention

Arrows, especially flaming arrows, draw attention. When we praise the Lord, we draw attention to Him.

3. The idea of Aim

When you shoot arrows, you aim at a target. Our focus or aim is to be upon Lord. We are to be looking to Him for our joy and the needs of our lives. The writer of Hebrews said, "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. ..." (Hebrews 12:2a).

Beloved, when the Christian praises God, his praise identifies him as a Christian. The ungodly may acknowledge the existence of God, but they won't glorify God. Unrepentant sinners refuse to praise the Lord. That's what Paul told us.

Romans 1:21—Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

Praising God for His blessings each day is a great way to start the day and express your gratefulness. You get your focus on the positives in your life instead of the negatives when you do this. You see that which is good instead of dwelling on that which is bad. Learning to rejoice and praise the Lord in difficult circumstances is one of the keys to overcoming frustration and worry because it directs our focus from the problem to the Prince of Peace. It creates an attitude of joy in our hearts.

Lamentations 3:22-23—It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

When the Christian praises God, it also counteracts his pride. When we prosper, we have a tendency to forget about the Lord and become independent of Him. For this reason, we are to keep our eyes on God and eternal matters.

Colossians 3:2—Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

When the Christian praises God, he brings glory to the Lord.

That is what we are supposed to be doing.

Psalm 96:8—Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts.

Psalm 34:3—O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.

Psalm 9:11—Sing praises to the Lord, which dwelleth in Zion: declare among the people his doings.

Psalm 51:15—O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.

1 Peter 2:9—But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.

When the Christian praises God, he can take circumstances that discourage and defeat him and turn them into victory. In the desert of Arizona, a gentleman named Mr. Scull settled on a farm with his family. One night, the farm was struck by a fierce storm of rain, hail, and ferocious winds. At dawn, Mr. Scull, feeling sick at what he might find, went to survey the damage. The hail had pulverized the garden and scalped part of the roof of the house. The hen house was gone and there were dead chickens everywhere.

Shocked and dazed, he heard a stirring in the lumber pile that consisted of the obliterated remains of the henhouse. A rooster was climbing up through the debris and didn't stop climbing until he mounted the highest board in the pile. The bird was dripping wet and most of his feathers had been blown away, but as the sun came over the eastern sky, he flapped his bony wings and crowed with pride and joy.

We too, can pick ourselves out of the rubble of life by trusting in the Lord and rising above our circumstances. Our joy and praise enable us to endure.

Habakkuk 3:17, 18—Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: 18 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord. I will joy in the God of my salvation.

In the Old Testament, worshipers would bring a sacrifice to the Lord to honor Him. Their sacrifice was to be an expression of love, gratefulness, and it was also an act of obedience. Today, our worship of the Lord involves giving Him the praise that is due Him. Our praise is considered a sacrifice to the Lord.

Hebrews 13:15—By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.

Why is "praise" a sacrifice? For one reason, "Have you ever praised the Lord in the presence of unsaved people?" Unsaved people can intimidate you into silence by their looks, comments, and rejection of your praise. Praise Him anyway in the good times and even in the dark times.

John Wesley was about 21 years of age when he went to Oxford University. He came from a Christian home, and he was gifted with a keen mind and good looks. Yet, in those days, he was a bit snobbish and sarcastic. One night, however, something happened that set in motion a change in Wesley's heart. While speaking with a porter, he discovered that the poor fellow had only one coat and lived in such impoverished conditions that he didn't even have a bed. Yet, he was an unusually happy person, filled with gratitude to God.

Wesley, being immature, thoughtlessly joked about the man's misfortunes. With a touch of sarcasm he said, "And what else do you thank God for?" The porter smiled, and in the spirit of meekness replied with joy, "I thank Him that He has given me my life and being, a heart to love Him, and above all, a constant desire to serve Him!" Deeply moved, Wesley recognized that this man knew the meaning of true gratitude and praise.

Many years later, in 1791, John Wesley lay on his deathbed at the age of 88. Those who gathered around him realized how well he had learned the lesson of praising God in every circumstance. Despite Wesley's extreme weakness, he began singing the hymn, "I'll Praise My Maker While I've Breath." The Lord was his song of praise. Praise for God graced his lips in death because he lived and served Him throughout his life.

When we look at Isaiah in this 25th chapter, we find the prophet praising God for several reasons. Let's take a look.