Isaiah’s Encounter (13-09-21)
After the death of king Solomon, the Jewish nation split into two: Israel in the north and Judah in the south. Each was ruled by their own king, and each had prophets appointed by God to speak the heart of God and to lead the people into godly ways. Isaiah was a prophet in the southern kingdom of Judah.
Bible Reading: Isaiah 6:1-8
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:
"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory."
At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. "Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty." Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, "See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for." Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"
As far as the church was concerned during the pandemic, one of the major challenges, both during lockdown and for a time afterwards, was our inability to worship God together. Other losses, like not being able to meet together we shared with the rest of society, but the loss of corporate worship marked the loss of something that defines us as Christians.
Worshipping together as the people of God is something that draws us into God's presence in a way nothing else can, and so the loss of corporate worship threatens our relationship with God, both as individuals and as a fellowship.
Isaiah’s worship of God, in this instance individual rather than corporate, was pivotal in his life and ministry. What probably started out as a routine time of prayer in the temple turned into a personal encounter with the Holy and Almighty God and with a host of worshipping angels. Not surprisingly Isaiah suddenly became aware of his own shortcomings and feared for his life.
Today we can come into the presence of God and worship him without fear because, just as God sent an angel to touch Isaiah’s lips with a burning coal and cleanse him of his sin, so
God sent his son Jesus to die on a cross to cleanse us from our sin. Cleansed and forgiven we can come into the presence of God with boldness and without fear, and we can worship him in Spirit and in truth, both individually and corporately. What a privilege!
But that is not all. It was out of his encounter with God that Isaiah was called to fulfil the plans and purposes that God had for him. So too for us; when we come into God's presence in worship we open ourselves up to the Holy Spirit and we discover God's ongoing call on our lives.
Holy and Almighty God, thank you for the privilege of worshipping you, with the angels and with my brothers and sisters.
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God almighty.