Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Part of a message on Isaiah 6

Isaiah 6.1-9a

Verse 1 – The passage begins with a portrait of Isaiah’s encounter with God. Isaiah was a prophet for the people of Judah who lived about 700 years before Jesus. He also had access to the kings of the nation and it has been suggested that his family may have been related to the royal family. He spoke to kings, ambassadors from foreign nations and to the religious leaders of the day.

He was allowed, on this particular instance, to stand in the presence of God. God the Father allowed Isaiah to receive a glimpse of him on his throne. Isaiah received a picture of God’s majesty, his power and his authority. The train of a robe was a symbol of a king’s authority and power, and it says his train filled the temple.

  • We begin to see what it is like in the presence of God and to observe him on his throne with his majesty.

Verses 2-4 – Flying above God were these heavenly creatures called seraphs. They had three sets of wings and they were crying out “Holy! Holy! Holy!”

The word holy means “set apart”, “different”; it means “pure”; “clean”; perfect. God is different; he is just better than us. There are no mistakes or errors in God ever.

You get the sense that the seraphs were calling out “Holy!” because they had no choice. When they saw God, they could do nothing but comment on his perfection. They had to praise him because they saw that he was worthy of their praise.

It says that their voices shook the door posts. This was not some wimpy boys’ choir…
This was a powerful, deep, wonderful, terrifying sound that threatened the foundation of the temple.

  • This is a picture of worship. God’s creation ascribing greatness to him. When you encounter the holy and awesome God, you can do nothing else.

Verse 5 – Isaiah’s reaction

Why is this his reaction? Have you ever been in the presence of greatness in a field that you excel or are pursuing? Maybe you have met a world class athlete or an accomplished musician or a recognized artist?

What is the temptation? Is it to measure yourself against him or her? I imagine it can be quite humbling. Think of Isaiah. He was standing in the presence of TRUE greatness. He looked into himself and he looked at the people around him and he knew he did not measure up. Even if he had only one imperfection or made one mistake, he would not have been able to compare himself to true perfection. Look again at his reaction.

“WOE TO ME! I AM RUINED!”

He is just too great, I am unclean. I can’t survive!

  • When we stand in the presence of God, when we think on his holiness, we are convicted of our sin. We are showed how imperfect we are. We confess that we are sinful and that we don’t measure up.
Verses6-7 – One of the heavenly creatures took a coal from the altar. The altar in the temple is where the priest would offer sacrifice to cleanse the people of their sin for a year at a time. The seraph touched Isaiah’s mouth (which was the symbol of his uncleanness) and took his guilt away.

What did Isaiah do to get his guilt removed? What work did he perform? There was no good deed or deeds that he performed, he just confessed his sin and acknowledged that God was holy, different, and pure and he was not.

It was God who initiated the cleansing of Isaiah, because he knew he needed it or he would not survive this encounter.

  • When we come face to face with God in his holiness and we confess our sinfulness, he forgives our sins and removes our guilt.

Verse 8 – Isaiah has been cleansed and is now worthy of standing in God’s presence, he receives an invitation:

"Whom shall I send? Who will go?”

What other response is there for Isaiah? He is in the presence of the Holy, perfect and ruling God. God has a mission. Isaiah could only respond by saying: “Here am I! Send Me!”

  • When we encounter God in worship, when we confess our sins then God cleanses us and is able to use us. We are invited on to his mission and the only appropriate response is: “Send me!”
Verse 9 – “Go!”

This is the commission, go and speak this difficult and convicting message to the people I have called you to speak to.

  • The end result of our worship encounter with God is obedience, join him on this mission.

Isaiah 6 is the portrait of a man who stood in the presence of the creator of the universe. A holy, different, special, perfect being. He participated in offering praise to God. He was convicted of his sinfulness and his imperfections. God cleansed him of his guilt and invited him to participate in God’s mission on earth. Isaiah said “Send me” and God said “Go!”

We are stand in God’s presence.

Jeremiah 23.24 – Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the LORD. Do I not fill heaven and earth?”

If he fills heaven and earth, then he fills this room and he is here.

Not only that, but if you have accepted Jesus as your savior, you have received his spirit and he is hear within you.

We are offering him praise. Hopefully we will be allowed a glimpse of his presence. Perhaps it will cause us to bow down and cry out a confession of our sin before him. Perhaps tonight we will hear him invite us on mission with him. When we have seen him in his glory and holiness, there can be only one response: “Here am I! Send me!”

4 comments:

later said...

This is a long post. I'll read later.

ps. I added your link to my blog.

billy v said...

Yes, long but packed with great Jesusness.

brandonmc said...

that was a great post! jordan is just jealous because you actually keep up with your blog...... now where did i but those hot coals

Anonymous said...

Now that billy is good. It's almost like you knew something about the Bible or something.

me