How Beautiful Are Their Feet!
from sermon series
“Learning from Isaiah”
by Pastor Dave Strem
Used by permission
How do you feel when you grab a hold of God’s command to make disciples, to share your faith? Does it stir a little bit of anxiety in your heart? Does insecurity start to overwhelm you? Let me ask you, has God been good to you? Has God been good to you? Do you think God will be good to someone else who calls upon Him? That’s the message people are looking for. You can try and convince some of evolution or against evolution and all the intellectual discussion you want and I have done both. I have gone through Evidence that Demands a Verdict and similar apologetic textbooks and I have sat down and talked in coffee shops and debated on college campuses with students. And you know what? I do not think it made much difference. I have found that the decision for or against Christ is not a matter of intellectual understanding, but it is a matter of heart submission. Do you want to believe it? Do you have a heart that wants to humbly bow and receive what God has to offer? That is the core of saving faith.
“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring glad tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, your God reigns” (Isaiah 52:7). In our day of information overload it’s easy to think that for us to share our faith, we have to have all kinds of answers. But God has put us in our particular corner of the world to bring the simple message of Isaiah 52:7. The simple message of Isaiah 52:7 is that redemption and forgiveness are available through Jesus Christ who provides reconciliation and peace between a holy, sovereign God and sinful humans.
God allows things to come into our world that distract us, that get our attention from the busyness of our lives so that we will see that we have a need, that we do not have all the answers in life. Christians are put in positions to bring those answers, to meet spiritual needs, to bring answers to felt needs. The kind of needs that people often do not think about until they get stopped in their tracks, matters of great significance and meaning in their lives. That is what God intends to do when He calls us to share our faith. To be genuine, to be relaxed, truly relate to people in ways that are real. To meet those real needs. Let me show you. The commission in Isaiah 52:7 begins by expressing the importance of the message. “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news.” God has made many beautiful things but I do not think any of us would include our feet in the top ten. But to God they are beautiful when they carry the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The good news of redemption and forgiveness to all who believe and accept Christ finished work at Calvary personally.
The Hebrew word, “nahad,” does not mean “pretty” or “cute.” It means: befitting, becoming, perfectly appropriate, used as designed—“perfectly fitting.” It is what God had in mind for our feet. The same way grapes were designed to eat and flowers are meant to bring color and scent to our world, your feet are designed to go places. And when they go into the world of men and women with the message of good news and peace with God, God calls them beautiful. Your feet make take you faster down the race track than anyone else, you may have shoes so big that other people cannot fill them, you may be able to kick the ball farther than anyone else, but that means nothing in the eternal frame. But if your feet take you to someone in need and with God’s help you enable him or her to walk with God, then your feet are being used for a purpose that matters for all eternity. Those feet are beautiful.
Literally, “mountains” mean hill country. This verse does not say proclaim the message in the temples and in the sanctuaries, although these are not wrong or bad places to teach others about God, but it says that we are to go where people live. Not warehouse God’s message in buildings, but we are to take it to the streets. Jesus declared the truth and reality of God in the temples and synagogues. But do you remember what happened when He did? It was met with rebellion and resistance. It did not lead to much change. But then He took it to the streets, along the hillsides, along the lakeshore and lives are transformed. He brought good news to real people in real struggles. And He did it because lost people mattered to Him. He wanted to go to those who wanted to find the answers. He went to where people lived.
One of the challenges I found in Guatemala when I was there was how hard it was to walk on those mountains, on those hillsides. The altitude, the slope, you find yourself after a few minutes panting for breath. I thought I was in shape. Let me ask you, at your workplace, in your daily travels, do you find yourself worn out and just struggling to survive? Is the daily grind grinding you so much that you have lost your focus and Christian testimony? Do you go to work simply to collect a paycheck, to get through another day so you can do the important things or the things that God called you to do? I tell you, God has called you to your work place. God has planted you there. You have a message and there are people by the water cooler, in the lunchroom, at the desk next to you that are hurting and need the message that you have. Work is not designed by God to be a simple distraction to your spiritual life, something to do Monday through Friday until you get back to Sunday. Work is designed by God as part of your spiritual life, as that place where you can actually live out Christ’s love to others that you see daily. If you can catch God’s passion for people that you work with, your job will take on eternal significance. The message God commissions you to bring has three parts. They all build on one another and they are based on the real needs that people have and the real answers that God gives you to bring to those needs. First, bring good news. God said it twice in Isaiah 52:7, “I bring, I send you to bring good news.” Good news must be relevant to the person hearing it. I have found that when people think about religion they usually think about condemnation. They usually feel confronted by a list of do’s and don’ts that is not received as good news.
Remember the example of Jesus. In John 8:3-11, the hypocritical Pharisees brought a woman who was caught committing adultery (What happened to the man that was with her?) to Jesus in order to stir up controversy and distract the people from listening to the message of Jesus. Starting in verse 6: “They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, ‘All right, stone her. But let those who have never sinned throw the first stones!’ Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to her, ‘Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?’ ‘No, Lord,’ she said. And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I. Go and sin no more.’” Jesus talked to the woman caught in adultery in the same way He talked to Mary Magdalene, the woman at the well, Zaccheus, Matthew, Peter, and Paul. He did not give them a list of all the things they have done wrong. He simply said to her, “Woman, where are those that condemn you? Has no one condemned you?” She knew what she had done was wrong. Jesus did not have to belabor the point. He offered her forgiveness, but also required repentance from her. “Go and sin no more.” Jesus was not overlooking her sin. He was not being over-enduring, over-tolerant of sin. But He was offering her reconciliation and peace with God.
Seldom do people think of religion in positive ways. Many times they perceive giving up Sunday fun—golf and lakes—for sitting around singing old, boring songs and listening to long lectures. Jesus’ message, however, centered on getting equipped and energized to live daily life by God’s truth and power. Jesus wants people to live each and every day with a God-consciousness that effects daily decisions and activities. Rarely will you hear someone say, “I wish someone would tell me about Jesus.” But you will hear people say, “I do not know what I am going to do.” You will hear the lostness, you will see the lostness in their face. God says, “I have given you some answers. Will you share them with those in need?” They are hurting and they want relief. We are not simply to bring them relief, but the answer that will change their problems in their future. Give them Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and a new relationship with God the Father and their future will never be the same!
God has done the work of redemption and salvation. We can only admit that we want it. It is not a list of to do or not to do things. As Paul tells us, “For as many as receive, who believe in their hearts, the person and work of Jesus Christ shall be called sons of God.” When you are talking with someone in the lunch room, and they say, “You know, I do not know what I am going to do.” His wife may be getting ready to leave him, or her child is going the wrong direction and she just does not know how to deal with it. Have you found answers in your own life? Can you say with an honest heart, “Marriage and children are a challenge and I need God’s help in order to deal with both in godly, righteous ways. I sure am thankful for the training my kids have gotten. It takes up my Sunday mornings, but it is worth every hour I spend because it is helping me raise a family that cares about God and other people.” If you have found answers, you can share them. So many times I see people in the hospital with this lost look in their eyes. And in others I meet someone who is dying but radiates a hope and peace that transcends their pain. The difference lies in how each views God and what their relationship with Him is like. One knows that when death occurs a bright future lies ahead. The other has no assurance of a bright future and may actually sense doom because of their unbelief. This person may be open to listen to someone who really cares about what happens to them, someone who brings the good news of God’s forgiveness.
That gap that we have in our hearts only God can fill. We try to fill that endless void with every imaginable object, but nothing will ultimately succeed. When we are quiet and reflective we know that the gap exists. We were created to have fellowship with God. He wants to be involved with our daily events. He wants to share our excitement and our passions in life, to direct them, to help us avoid the pitfalls and stumbling blocks.
I was surprised when I did a word study recently. I was studying the word Zion. When I did the word study and found the meaning of Zion, I was surprised. We think of Zion as being that holy mountain, that holy place in Israel where we meet God. Literally, the word Zion means “parched place.” When God tells Israelites to go to Zion, He is not just telling them to go where God dwells, He is telling them to go to that ‘parched place’ in need of God’s life and nourishment. Jesus said, “I will bring living waters to your life. Whoever believes in me, a spring of living water will well up out of them unto eternal life.” God says, go to Zion, to that parched place and bring my life there. Let them know that God is real and that their God reigns. Let them know that life is available to all who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Scriptures tell us that Jesus came to bring living water to cause the desert of our hearts to blossom with freshness and beauty. That out of ‘Zion’ will flow streams of living water.
Isn’t it beautiful that God has made it so simple. Let His message of peace, of restoration, of His personal walk and relationship with you, to meet the felt needs, the spiritual needs, and the personal needs of those around you. As God has blessed you, He calls you to grow beautiful feet and take it to where it will make a difference. That is what your life is about. All the other things are going to fade away. All the other achievements, all the accumulation, all the knowledge is of little consequence compared to sharing your faith, to bringing another one into the kingdom, of representing a gracious and loving God to those around you.