TV Transcripts

“God’s Promise to Lead Us” Part One
Broadcast #1518
November 7, 2021

Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1518 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: I had a verse come to me several times earlier this week and then just continually coming back to me. And so, I’m gonna go ahead and use it as a focus for things I believe the Lord wants to use to encourage us. It’s found in Isaiah 42.

I’m gonna go ahead and just read the passage and try not to get bogged down in getting to where I want to get. But this was one of many prophecies that God had given to people in the Old Testament. And, we know from Peter’s writings, on the one hand, nobody who prophesied like this and it’s recorded for us did that because it was their own idea, their own interpretation. It was something that God overshadowed them to give.

We also know that they didn’t understand what they were prophesying. They just knew it was for somebody down the road and it would all be fulfilled in its proper time. And so, this was one of those prophecies.

You know, people think they can unravel this with the natural mind, you can’t do it. God has to unlock His Word. You remember how the disciples even had no clue what was going on until He opened their understanding to see what the Scriptures were really talking about in the Old Testament, and how they were pointing to what we are experiencing today. So anyway, let’s just go ahead and read beginning in verse 1.

“Here is my servant, whom I uphold…” (NIV). Now, this is…I think it’s clear as you go along, this is the Lord, this is the Father talking, and He’s talking about His Son, who would be coming to earth.

“Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth.

“In his teaching the islands will put their hope. This is what God the Lord says—the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out, who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it: I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles….”

See, none of this was just about the Jews, was it? Always God’s purpose was to work through them to ultimately reach everyone, and bring forth one covenant. Praise God!

“…To open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness. I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols. See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you.

“Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise from the ends of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that is in it, you islands, and all who live in them. Let the wilderness and its towns raise their voices; let the settlements where Kedar lives rejoice. Let the people of Sela sing for joy; let them shout from the mountaintops.

“Let them give glory to the Lord and proclaim his praise in the islands. The Lord will march out like a champion, like a warrior he will stir up his zeal; with a shout he will raise the battle cry and will triumph over his enemies.” Oh, He did, didn’t He? Praise God!

“For a long time I have kept silent, I have been quiet and held myself back. But now, like a woman in childbirth, I cry out, I gasp and pant. I will lay waste the mountains and hills and dry up all their vegetation; I will turn rivers into islands and dry up the pools.”

Now this is the verse that kept coming back to me. “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.”

Praise God, what an awesome promise that is! And think about what the Lord was prophesying from a time when it was dark, and the nation of Israel was certainly no one to be looking at and saying, wow, aren’t they wonderful. There was a small remnant that kept serving God. In fact, this Book begins with, “Except the LORD…had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom and…Gomorrah.” (KJV). I’ll tell you, God has a way of preserving His plan and His people…

( congregational amens ).

…in every age. And that certainly is something we need to focus on right now, because we are in a very uncertain time, aren’t we? But I thank God for His promises, and these promises were looking forward to the era of Christ’s coming and all that was to follow.

And it wasn’t just the beginning, and a great beginning, this was something that was gonna continue all the way to the end. He was gonna finish what He started, basically, is what He’s saying.

But there’s an awesome promise here in verse 16. “I will lead the blind…” it begins, “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known.” (NIV). And I’ve sort of gone back and forth in my mind as to how to unpack this. But I think I’m gonna begin with the object of this promise.

Who is He talking about here? When He’s talking about the blind, who is He talking about? Now, how many of you have a perfect understanding of all that’s gonna happen, all that’s coming, you know the ins and outs of God’s plan, and you can foresee your life going forward, you know all the…? No, none of us are in that position.

The reality is, that we as people are part of a prison planet, a planet that Satan, the god of this world, where he has blinded the minds of men. We are blind. We just simply do not know. And the question is here, what kind of blindness is He talking about?

My mind also went back to a Scripture that’s at the end of John chapter 9, I believe it is. This was an occasion when Jesus had healed a man who had been born blind. And so, they were, the religious leaders were trying to figure out what happened? What’s this all about? I don’t get this. And, arguing with Him, debating with Him, were you really blind? You know, going on and on and on.

Finally, the guy gets exasperated with them and says, “We know that God does not listen to sinners.” And he goes on and just basically says that this authenticates who Jesus is. This is a man of God, and they threw him out. They got him out of there.

So, you had people who were absolutely resistant to the ministry of Jesus. It didn’t matter what He did, they weren’t gonna believe. This was a problem of will, wasn’t it? Okay?

So then, the man encounters Jesus again. I guess, Jesus found him. And then, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” Verse 35, and, “Who is he, sir? the man asked. Tell me so that I may believe in him. Jesus said, You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you. Then the man said, Lord, I believe, and he worshiped him.” So, there was a real turnabout in every way in this man’s life.

But there’s an interesting statement that Jesus makes in verse 39, that I believe reflects what we’ve been reading in Isaiah 42, because in Isaiah 42, you have a promise of some wonderful blessings that are gonna flow, of a plan that’s gonna unfold, but also of judgment. It’s obvious there are opposers, there are enemies to what God has set out to do.

And so, “Jesus said, For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” You know, when Jesus comes, when the Word of God comes to people, it makes a separation, doesn’t it? It always creates a separation. There are some who bow to it, there are some who say, yes. And then there are others who will say, no. They harden their hearts to it.

So, there were a couple of Pharisees, there were … “Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, What? Are we blind too?” And here’s a verse that I believe unlocks something about what Isaiah 42 meant when it talks about the blind that He was gonna lead.

“If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.” So, what you have is a case of people who were spiritually blind, but then it comes along a light from God, a voice from God that tries to expose their condition and wants to open their eyes, and they say, no, I refuse. I can see just fine.

Do you see there’s a problem, not of ability to see, but of will? Imagine you were walking along and you saw a blind man walking toward a cliff. And in compassion you walked up to him and tried to stop him and tried to warn him and say, there’s a cliff coming. I can see it and you can’t. Listen to me. What if he said, get away and leave me alone, I see just fine, I know where I’m going?

Is that not a pretty good picture of the world that we’re living in? That’s the condition. So, this blindness that we’re talking about comes down to a place of will. When the Gospel comes to you and to me, one of the things that it does is to expose our true condition of need.

But human nature doesn’t like that. Human nature does not want to admit that we are people of need, and that we cannot chart our own…we’re not capable of charting our own course. We’re not capable of fulfilling God’s plan. In every sense, we are dependent upon God and His mercy. There’s not one thing we can do to qualify ourselves for anything that He has.

So, do you begin to see what the Lord is talking about in Isaiah 42 when He’s talking about a promise to lead the blind? Folks, I think the further you go, if you’re listening to the Lord and you’re learning from Him, the more we go, the more we come to a place where we realize, Lord, I am blind, I don’t know. I don’t know half the stuff I think I know. Lord, I need You.

( congregational response ).

I need You to lead me. I’m in a place where I can…it’s not like You can just tell me, here’s where I want you to go now. Work up a plan and get there. This is not the way it works. The people that God leads are people who surrender, people who willingly recognize their need to be led. Oh, God.

You know, you think about Abraham as a perfect example there in so many ways, the father of faith. Here’s a man that God spoke to. And He gave him a vision. It’s true sometimes the Lord can tell us where we’re going, but getting there is a different matter. He never says, work up your 5-year plan and let’s see how it works out, you know. You can get there. Use all these natural abilities I’ve given you and you can fulfill that. No!

There was a vision that God gave to Abraham, was there not? Leave your father’s house, leave your family, leave your country, and go to a land that I will show you. And there was a promise of God, there’s a land, but the Lord did not turn Abraham loose to just do his thing…like go find it. The Lord had to lead him step by step. And so, there was a faith in Abraham toward this God who had spoken to him.

And so, he was willing to do what the Lord said, to leave, to go, and God led him step by step by step, and unfolded the promises that we are still experiencing the benefit of today, because it was in his seed that all nations of the world will be blessed. We’re some of that. We’re some of the result of Abraham believing God and trusting Him and being willing to take that place where he didn’t know what to do.

You know, that’s something that we need. The further I go, the more I realize how much I desperately need the Lord to lead me. This isn’t just personal. This is the church. Do we know what to do? Do we really know what to do? We’re in an uncertain world. We don’t know what’s coming tomorrow. Folks, we need the Lord!

And we need to have that sense that we, that we need the Lord. You know, the Psalms tell us, don’t be like the horse and the mule. Well, how do you lead a horse and a mule? You’ve got to put a bit in their mouth and beat them. You’ve got to do something physical to make them go the way you want them to go. You can’t just explain, hey, this is where I want you to go. We need the Lord and we need to have a heart that agrees with this.

How many of you have known the Lord long enough, you see the difference between being like Peter when he was young, running and doing things in his own zeal, and coming to a place where you just say, I don’t know. I don’t even necessarily want to go anywhere, but Lord, I’m in Your hands. I’m just stretching forth…if there’s anything gonna happen, it has got to be You, Lord?

But do you know that’s something we need to learn? We need to have that as a people. We need to be a people who say, God, we don’t what to do, we don’t know where to go, we don’t know the future. But our place is to lift up our hearts and say, oh God, we are trusting in You! When it comes to the things that are eternal, we are blind and we need a Leader. We need Someone to show us the way. Oh God, help us.

And you know, you could sort of come to a place where you recognize, I just can’t manage my life. I don’t know what to do…then, okay Lord, I guess I’ll trust…you could do that almost with a grudging spirit. But I’ll tell you, what I believe the Lord wants. If we see Him, if we see things as they really are, shouldn’t we come to a place, not just of resignation, but a place of joy, and rest, and peace, where we say, oh Lord, what privilege I have to be in that place that’s safe?

What a privilege I have to know somebody who cares about me like You’ve demonstrated you care! Lord, I don’t know the way, and you do. And so, I just, I am resting. I embrace the reality of my own blindness and inability.

I’m glad…you know, it’s like Paul, who came to, who had to deal with that, with his weakness. We’ve used the Scripture many times, where he came to a point where he gloried in his weakness. Well, we can glory in our blindness, too, in this sense.

There is an opening of our eyes to see things the world doesn’t see. But in terms of, can I lead myself, can I go forward, do I have all that it takes to do what I’m supposed to do? No. I need Him step by step to lead me. And I embrace that with all of my heart. That’s who He’s talking about in Isaiah 42.

Isn’t it interesting when you come to the end of chapter 9, it goes right into chapter 10? How many of you know there were no chapters and no verses when John wrote this? So, this simply moves straight into Jesus talking about the Shepherd and the sheep.

Well of course, we know that sheep are very self-reliant, very strong, able to lead…no. Sheep are very…well, we’ve often used the word stupid, but sheep are very dependent creatures. And so, He’s talking, He’s just been talking about a willful blindness on the part of these religious leaders. Now, He comes and He talks about His people, His sheep who know His voice.

The Father has made them secure in Christ and in Himself. He goes on and He talks about all these things in the process. My sheep know My voice, they hear Me, they follow Me where I go. I want to be one like…I want to be that. I want to…that’s what God is…God’s word comes and it makes a separation.

But this is…the people that are on the right side of this are the people who say, yes, Lord, that’s me. I’m willing to lay down my pride, my self-sufficiency, all of this ‘I can do it’ kind of spirit in a wrong sense. Lord, You are my sufficiency.

Folks, I need the Lord. I’m glad to acknowledge that I can do nothing without Him. And I believe that’s what He’s looking for from His people, to bring us to that place where we, not only recognize our need, but there’s a joyfulness and restfulness in doing it.

So anyway, let’s go back to Isaiah 42. The first word in that promise is ‘I.’ So you know, it’s a pretty good idea to stop and say, well now, who is this that’s making this promise? Is He somebody who can do what He says He’s gonna do?

And I think it’s pretty plain that He is. You go back through the passage and you see all the…”I am the Lord,” verse 8, “I am the Lord, that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another…See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare.” Before they happen, I announce them.

But He talks about, I am the Creator. “This is what God the Lord says…” verse 5, “…the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out, who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it.” This is somebody who, this is ‘the’ ultimate source of all.

This is the God of the universe who is making this promise, not just in some vague, general sense, He’s making this promise to you, and you, and you, and you, and me this morning. I sense this in my own heart, the Lord wanting me to come to a greater place where every issue of life, I can put in His hands.

And there are times when, yeah, He wants me to step out, but He can let know that. But there are other times He wants me to just put issues in His hands and not struggle and strive and plan and work and do all the things that we do to try to run our own lives. We just come to a place and recognize that this God has promised to lead me.

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