Face to Face: Seeing the Invisible

face2face_websiteIsaiah 6:1-7; Psalm 110

Isaiah’s predictable world falls apart

Isaiah 6:1 states two facts: "In the year that King Uzziah died” and “I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted…"

From archaeological and historical records we know that King Uzziah died around 740 bc. Uzziah’s reign must have reminded Israel of the heyday of the reigns of King David and King Solomon because he remained in power for a long time – fifty-two years in all. Tremendous stability for Israel had resulted from Uzziah’s reign and great prosperity had come to the nation. Trade alliances had been made with surrounding nations and there was an exchange of goods across national borders that was unprecedented in their history. Israel’s economy was booming, trade was soaring and commercial prospects and forecasts were completely optimistic for the most part.

On the surface it seemed that everything was peaceful and idyllic, but in realty, the truth behind this facade was much more ominous. Danger was looming in the Middle East. This is why the king’s death meant that the world as Isaiah knew it was about to collapse.

For Isaiah, the death of this earthly king meant that a superficial peace ended in his nation.

As believers, we experience a similar "falling apart" to that of Isaiah’s. It’s the testimony of almost everyone achieves great things for God. There is a moment.

If our lives are to have the kind of outcome that God desires for us. Our predictable world must fall apart before it can come together under God’s hand.

The end of superficial peace

Uzziah became puffed up with pride over his political achievements.

But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the LORD his God, and entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense. Azariah the priest with eighty other courageous priests of the LORD followed him in. They confronted him and said, "It is not right for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the LORD. That is for the priests, the descendants of Aaron, who have been consecrated to burn incense. Leave the sanctuary, for you have been unfaithful; and you will not be honoured by the LORD God."

Uzziah, who had a censer in his hand ready to burn incense, became angry. While he was raging at the priests in their presence before the incense altar in the LORD’s temple, leprosy [a] broke out on his forehead. When Azariah the chief priest and all the other priests looked at him, they saw that he had leprosy on his forehead, so they hurried him out. Indeed, he himself was eager to leave, because the LORD had afflicted him.

King Uzziah had leprosy until the day he died. He lived in a separate house — leprous, and excluded from the temple of the LORD. Jotham his son had charge of the palace and governed the people of the land. 2 Chronicles 26:16-21

Uzziah tried to play God by mixing the roles of priest and king without permission from God. His death meant that the world as Isaiah knew it was about to collapse. As it was in Isaiah’s day, so it is for us. Our security cannot rest on what world leaders and politicians are saying and doing: It never did.

"Uzziah" may be dead, but the Living God is still very much alive. Very little changes through the ages. We live in a world so similar to that of Isaiah’s. Unbelief abounds..

We encounter unbelief in many forms: liberal Christianity, agnosticism, militant atheism, or man-made religions. (10-10-10 Russell Grant)

What we can say of each of them is this: they are all attempt to suppress the truth about God. Romans 1:20 gives us a profound sight of what happens when a community looses faith in an almighty God:

"For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being under-stood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse….. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator – who is forever praised. Amen" Romans 1:20, 25

God reveals Himself to us in an unusual way

Abraham – deep sleep

Yet, into the midst of all this turmoil, Adonai speaks. “Adonai” a title not a name. (Ps 110, John 12.41, John 17.5).

The LORD says to my lord:

"Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet."

He is high and lifted up. Train fills the temple. This is God outside the box. But this is not about eyesight as much as our heart attitude.

A.W. Tozer once commented, "I cannot recall in all of my reading a single incidence of a prophet who applied for the job." Nor can I. No true prophet of God ever compiled a CV and sent it into Divine Headquarters asking to be considered for the role. Like Isaiah, prophets are head-hunted by God. They don’t volunteer, they are arrested! He wants people who have been gripped and transfixed by His glory so that He can commission them for works of service. Prophets cannot be appointed by men and women, they are selected by the hand of God and God has direct dealings with them. Only such a calling could explain Isaiah’s sixty years of astonishing, world-shaking ministry that is still rattling cages to this day. Long after his time on earth has ended, the prophet is still speaking.

Because God is behind the call to any kind of prophetic ministry, it cannot safely be refused. Men like Moses, Jeremiah and Jonah all attempted to turn down the job of prophet. In Jeremiah’s case, God reminded him that he had been chosen and consecrated for the role of a prophet since his mother’s womb (Jeremiah 1:1-5). God starts working very early in our lives, way back in our past. CHILDRENS MINISTRY

We may take a while to wake up to what is going on, as God chases us down the years and gives us hints of His pursuit and His willingness to grasp hold of us and use us, but we can’t stay on the run indefinitely. God knows what’s going on even if we don’t and God has known all along what He has in mind for us. Jeremiah tried to hand in his

God steps forward to reveal himself to his people and to remind them, "I am still on the throne." For Christians, the Lord Jesus is seated on the heavenly throne, and is enthroned in our lives.

He has blinded their eyes
       and hardened their hearts,
       so they can neither see with their eyes,
       nor understand with their hearts,
       nor turn—and I would heal them."

Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him. (John 12.41)

Isaiah was the one who was chosen to see the Lord and to become God’s mouthpiece to the nation; Isaiah, a man who lived to honour God’s holiness as a priest in his temple, but who also needed a touch from God. Eventually, in his encounter with the Lord, he became cleansed of his personal "leprosy".

Yet, the great need of the hour is for thousands of men and women in this generation to encounter God in the way that Isaiah did and be overwhelmed with God’s glory as a result. Only this will result in the kind of Church we all long to see and only this will produce the kind of joy, lasting happiness and peace that the world so craves but is never able to manufacture. Real joy – the God kind – doesn’t come in a bottle, can’t be swallowed in pill form, can’t be injected, and won’t be found in any thrill-seeking endeavour anywhere in the world. Pure joy is only found in the presence of God.

The question is, "How expectant are you that God wants to meet with you in such a way?"

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