Archive for September 2nd, 2008

God is on the Throne

Isaiah 6 is strawberry-jam-pack-full! I’m going to just jot down a variety of notes, without much continuity.

First, the history of King Uzziah and his reign can be read about in 2 Chronicles 26 & 2 Kings 15 (btw: Azariah = Uzziah). He was 16 years when he came to the throne and reigned for 52 years.

Overall, he was a good strong king. But later in life there was a downfall that occurred summarized succinctly in 2 Chronicles 26:16:

But when Uzziah was strong his heart was lifted up, to his destruction, for he transgressed against the Lord his God by entering the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense.

So Uzziah remained a leper until his death as a result of violating the Lord’s temple. And yet, in the year that he died, Isaiah has a holy vision somewhat parallel to the very sin that caused Uzziah’s downturn.

The train of His robe filled the temple…above it stood seraphim…house was filled with smoke…live coal taken from the altar…iniquity is taken away.

Just something I hadn’t seen before. It is interesting that when God directs you to do something, it leads to blessing (iniquity taken away) while if God has not directed you to it, or has even commanded you NOT to do something that negative consequences occur (leprosy for the rest of your life, even after a long faithful reign).

Another truth I’m struck by is the idea that the Lord often reveals Himself in the time of crisis:

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on the throne, high and lifted up.

High King of Heaven, I pray you will grant me the kind of eyes Isaiah, that could see You even in the midst of calamity.

Isaiah may have been depressed or discouraged because a great leader of Judah was no longer on the throne. God in heaven now shows Isaiah, “Don’t worry about it, Isaiah. Uzziah may not be on his throne, but I am on My throne.”

Another point is that Isaiah may have been a righteous, godly man by all outward appearance. Yet when he saw the enthroned King, the Lord of hosts, perhaps even King Jesus Himself, he saw how sinful he was in comparison.

But when we see Jesus face to face (and not merely in a vision) we shall be pure even as He is pure!! I guess Isaiah got a little of that from the coal taken from the altar and applied to his lips.

So why the burning coal?

  1. to burn away the sin, especially sins of the mouth
  2. and to put such a heavenly flame of desire in him that he burned with passion to serve God and tell others about Him

O Holy Spirit, let Your fire burn in me. First to purge me of my sin, and secondly to have Your light so shine through me that people will turn to You and give You the glory.

God said, “I will light a fire in you!” That is why a burning coal was used to purify Isaiah. “Jehovah, who is a consuming fire, can only fitly be served by those who are on fire, whether they be angels or men.” (Spurgeon)

I wonder sometimes if I have gone to “the nations” before being “sent”. Notice Isaiah’s prayer “Send me” which meant Isaiah was submitted to the Lord in all his service. He didn’t even say, “Here I am, I will go.” Isaiah would not go at all unless he knew he was sent by the Lord.

Lord of the harvest, I pray that I will be patient, and not run headlong saying, “Here I am, I will go” but rather I will wait for the directive from You Yourself to send me.

Isaiah was a missionary:

  • First, he had a heart that had been in the presence of God.
  • He had a heart that knew its own sinfulness.
  • He had a heart that knew the need among the people, the need for God’s word.
  • He had a heart that had been touched by God’s cleansing fire.
  • And he had a heart that heard God’s heart to reach the nations.

An outline jotted down from a preacher’s sermon:
Woe is me! – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -Confession of the sinner
Lo, your iniquity is taken away! – – Cleansing from sins
Go and tell! – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Commission from the Sovereign

Sovereign King, no matter what crisis we may find ourselves in I pray You would give us eyes to see Your glory and Your sovereignty. But not only to see it, but to be affected by it, cleansed by it, and then to go and tell others about it. Thank You for purging our sins by pouring out the fire of judgment on Your Son, Jesus, for our sake. In His name I pray, Amen.