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The Trinity will see us Through

Rev Dr Malcolm Tan, 7 June 2020

Sermon Notes by Anita Fam

The video recording of the sermon can be seen here.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Isaiah 63: 7-16

See v. 7 where a prophet declares the precious memories of what God had done with His people in times past.

⁃ It was also to help his readers to remember.

⁃ The  memories of the past will help us cope with the present and give us hope for the future.

⁃ See v. 18. They needed God here to rescue them from the gentile world powers.

⁃ Thank God for precious memories to remind us of God’s goodness all the time.

For the Israelites, there were three ways of knowing God.

First, they knew Him as God and Saviour. See v. 8 and 9.

⁃ They saw the longing of God for His children in v. 8. Because He yearned for them, He also decided to be their saviour.

⁃ God felt their distress with them. This was the biblical revelation/teaching  of divine empathy.

⁃ The biblical understanding of God in the Hebrew Bible was different from the Greek understanding of God which was without passion. But here the Bible tells us that God can feel our distress.

God saves us according to His love and mercy.

⁃ See v. 9.

⁃ He saves us by His power alone.

⁃ God lifted up His people and ran with them.

⁃ See Deuteronomy 7: 7-8. God saved the Israelites because He loved them. It wasn’t because they were worthy.

⁃ See Deuteronomy 1:31. This is the picture of Israel as the son who could not walk any more. God here was the father who cared for his son who couldn’t walk any more and hence he carried him.

⁃ God therefore feels our distress with us. This is the doctrine of divine empathy in action.

⁃ See v. 8. God decides to be our savior because He longs to be our Father.

⁃ God is mighty to save and this goes back all the way to the days of the Exodus.

Secondly, they were to know God the Spirit.

⁃ See Isaiah 63:10 where Israel who experienced the salvation of God  decided to rebel against God. When they rebelled against God, they grieved the Holy Spirit.

⁃ The Holy Spirit is the very presence of God with us now.

⁃ The Holy Spirit is the heart of God who draws close to us. So when we rebel against God, we break the heart of God.

⁃ See Isaiah 63: 11-12. We are to go back to where Moses stood in front of the Red Sea where the Holy Spirit was present. The Holy Spirit was the glorious arm of God’s power.

⁃ See v. 13-14.  The people of God were led by the Holy Spirit through the deep waters of the Red Sea. All the obstacles had been removed so that they could journey through safely.

So the Holy Spirit is described in three ways:

⁃ The Holy Spirit is the presence and heart of God.

⁃ The Holy Spirit is also the glorious arm of God’s power.

⁃ The Holy Spirit is the spirit who drives us and guides us. Sometimes the Holy Spirit will lead us through deep waters but it will seem as if the road is clear. He will bring us safely through to a place of rest.

Thirdly, the Israelites were to know God as their Father in Heaven.

⁃ See v. 15-16.

⁃ God is our Father who acknowledges us even when our earthly fathers do not.

⁃ God the Father gives His name to all of us. See Ephesians 3: 14-15. We will have families in heaven and earth and He will give His name to all of us. We know who we are because we know who we belong to. This settles our ultimate identity and the assurance of being loved by Him.

This Old Testament knowledge of God gives us the pattern of salvation history.

⁃ See Isaiah 63: 8-9 where God as Saviour is mentioned three times.

⁃ In v. 10, 11 and 14 where God as Spirit is mentioned three times.

⁃ In v. 16 and 8 where God as Father is mentioned three times (by inference in v. 8). 

We also experience God as Father, Saviour and Spirit in the New Testament.

⁃ See Acts 2: 32-33 and 38-39.

The Trinity will see us through.

⁃ We need God to be our Saviour when we go through difficult time.

⁃ We need to be guided by the Holy Spirit to be led to our place of rest.

⁃ We need to know that we still belong to God our Father even when no one else acknowledges this to be so.

⁃ There is one who still remembers and loves us and that is God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

⁃ In life we can have this deep confidence that the Holy Trinity will see us through.

St Patrick of Ireland  who in 30 years brought the faith to the Irish.

⁃ He survived because of the prayer which he prayed known as the Breastplate of St Patrick.

Extracts from the Breastplate of St Patrick:

I bind to myself today

The strong virtue of an Invocation to  the Trinity in Unity ...

I bind to myself today

Against the snares of demons,

Against the seductions of vices,

Against the lusts of nature,

Against everyone who meditates injury to me ...

Christ, protect me today

Against every poison, against burning,

Against drowning, against wounding.

Christ with me, Christ before me,

Christ behind me, Christ within me,

Christ below me, Christ above me,

Christ at my right hand,

Christ at my left hand,

Christ in lying down, Christ in sitting,

Christ in rising up ...

I bind to myself today

The strong power of an invocation of the  Holy Trinity,

The Faith of the Trinity in the Unity,

The Creator of the Universe.

Salvation is of the Lord.

Salvation is of the Lord.

Salvation is of Christ.

May Thy Salvation, O Lord, be with us forever.


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