Sunday, June 1, 2014

What do you see in the midst of your troubles?

Isaiah 6

King James Version (KJV)
In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.
Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.
And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.
And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.
Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.
Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar:
And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.
Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.

Isaiah was a very important man. He was a prophet. He was also near kin to the king. As such, he had the honor of being in the kings court as an adviser. 

When King Uzziah died, the land was turned over to his son, Jotham. Uzziah was a righteous king. Albeit, he made one severe mistake and the Lord placed leprosy on him because of it. According to 2 Chronicles 27, Jotham was an even better king that Uzziah had been. 

But, in Isaiah 6, Isaiah (nor anyone else) had no idea what kind of king Jotham would be. Would he follow the Lord, as his father had? Or, would he, like Solomon's son, turn his back on God and the people. It certainly was a possibility. How many children of wealth and power turn bad? Many.

But, here, in Isaiah 6, you can imagine Isaiah's troubled thoughts. As a king's prophet, he was accustomed to living well and having the best of everything. He was also accustomed to having the king's ear. 

In many cases, in the ancient world, whenever there was a change of kings, those that were in leadership positions for the old king, were put out of their positions and left to fend for themselves. They also were, sometimes- killed. 

So, Isaiah had a lot on his mind. Would he lose his job? His life? He didn't know what would happen. 

So, he did what we should do. He went to the house of God and sought the Lord. I'm sure Isaiah wasn't expecting what happened. Sure, he expected guidance. He expected to hear from the Lord for a word to help him in his troubles. He didn't expect to be ushered into the very throne room of heaven and see God almighty in all his glory.

When he saw the glory of God, and the majesty of heaven, Isaiah just knew he was done for. You can hear it in his response: "Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts."

"This is it for me," he seems to have thought.

Yet, unexpectedly, God didn't kill him- as he deserved. On the contrary, the Lord cleansed him. May we all learn from this.

Yes, God is holy. Yes, God expects us to be holy. Yes, God is judgement. But, as it was so eloquently worded in the book, The Harbinger (by Jonathan Cahn), "judgement is God's necessity. But his nature is mercy."

God cleansed Isaiah of his sins. Then, he acted as if they had never existed. And, as if Isaiah's problems really amounted to nothing at all, he ignored them. Rather, he offers Isaiah a promotion. He basically said, "Will you go and speak for me? Let me be your king? Let me worry about the future?"

In the midst of all of Isaiah's problems, the scripture declares he "saw ALSO the Lord." Herein lies the answer to our dilemma's. It doesn't say that he ignored his problems. It says that, though he did see his problems, he ALSO so the Lord.

He didn't just see him, however. He saw him "high and lifted up." He saw him as the ultimate being, on the throne and in control. He saw "the mighty God, the everlasting father." (Isaiah 9:6)

He also saw that "his train filled the temple." First of all, the temple was a huge place. This was not someone's living room, or a store front church. This place was so big that angels had room to fly (verse 6)!

In those days, royalty wore a train. But, it usually only hung down to somewhere just above the ankles. When a prince became a king, this was about how long his train was. But, every time he won a battle, the train was made longer.

Here, Isaiah saw the Lord in a huge temple. Yet, the Lord's train filled that temple! In other words, God had won battle after battle. And guess what? He's never lost a battle! So, when the Lord gave Isaiah a mission, he knew he could safely answer, "Here am I. Send me." Why?

Because he knew that by joining the Lord's mission, he was on the winning side.

So, in the midst of life's chaos and calamity, we can know we are right. In the middle of this worlds confusion and our troubles and problems, we can know that we are on the winning side. That, no matter what, if we stay with the Lord's will for our lives, we will be victorious.

So, rather than focus on our problems and worries, struggles and trials, lets see ALSO the Lord. If we can somehow pray our way into his presence and see that he is in control, then we can have hope that our trials won't last forever. And,we can know that we are on the winning side.

Who knows, maybe God will give us a mission, as well.