The Majesty of the Lord

March 20, 2013

Presidential scandals, terrorists, the Middle East, taxes, poor economy and mostly bad news every day can keep you torn up inside and confused. You believe in God and that Jesus is coming, but you wonder how you will make it through the nasty now and now while waiting for the sweet by and by.
Brother Isaiah may have had some of the same feelings as he was serving in the temple after King Uzziah’s death. If you notice anything about the history of Israel, you see that the northern kingdom/Israel had quite a hodgepodge of having a good king and then a bad king, but for the most part they had bad ones. The southern kingdom/Judah for the most part had good kings, but they all had some flaws.
Uzziah was a very great king. He had one of the longest reigns of any king and the nation had known prosperity and peace. Unfortunately, near the end of his reign, he felt that he was great enough that he could be a priest also. He decided to offer incense and this incensed the Lord and Uzziah was struck with leprosy. God believed in separation of temple and state, in that the state had no right to be in the temple. However, the temple had much influence on the state. God sent many prophets to straighten out corrupt kings.
Isaiah was most likely pondering the future of the kingdom. Would Uzziah’s son be as strong militarily? Jotham was co-reagent with his father and Judah’s enemies might take this opportunity to attack while the government was in transition and the people in sorrow. Would Jotham follow the ways of the Lord or lead the people into sin? Would the people follow Jotham if he were a good and righteous king? Where was the Lord?
Isaiah was about to find out and to learn that he must submit to the sovereignty of God in all things. We also must learn to submit to that sovereignty. When we submit to His sovereignty, we will be provoked to worship! (Vs 1-4) His glory will require it! (Vs 1,4)
When God shows up in the temple/church or us, He does not lightly tap on the door. The announcement of His arrival shakes the doorposts and our cages!! There was no need for incense for the Lord brought His own and filled the place up with it! Do you think He got Isaiah’s attention?
Where was he seated, at a coffee table with Isaiah, sharing the same concerns with apprehension? No way! He was on THE throne. Uzziah had a small throne with limited authority and power. God has the big throne high and lifted up above the world and all its puny rulers.
Ladies, you all know what a train is on a wedding dress. The inside of the temple was approximately 90 ft. long, 30 ft. broad, and 45 ft. high and the train on the Lord’s robe filled the temple. Remember that is after it fell from however far up in the sky His throne was located. I would have had liked to seen Di or Fergie pull one like that down the aisle. Everyone oooed and aaahed over their trains. Their royal robes were nothing compared to the real King’s!
How fast do you think it took Isaiah to hit the floor face down? It could have possibly have come close to nanoseconds! Our word worship comes from the Hebrew word that literally means kissing the earth. Isaiah was in a worship mode for sure! Not only will you be provoked to worship by God’s glory, but also His Holiness will demand it! (Vs 2,3) The temple may have been full with His train and smoke, but the earth is full of His glory. His holiness we cannot begin to comprehend.
We have lost all concepts of the sacred. I can remember as a lost teenager in the sixties that I would not tolerate Jesus jokes though I would use His name in vain. When I drove past the church of my youth, I would turn down my eight-track that was loudly playing the rock opera, Hair. Gasp! I’m old! I respected the Bible though I seldom read it. When the man that was used to bring me to Christ asked me how I would know something was in the Bible, I replied that if it had thees, thous, and hasts in it I would believe it was biblical.
All that is gone. I can remember backing away from my civilian boss shortly after I was saved in the Air Force when he said that Christ might be gay. I thoroughly expected a lightning bolt to land smack dab in the middle of his head and I wanted nowhere near him. I was learning and I am still learning about God’s marvelous grace that did not fry him or me.
I could have never imagined anyone burning or stealing from a church. Never would I have believed that tax dollars would pay for a crucifix in a jar of urine in the name of art. I would have never expected prayer or bible reading to be banned from the classroom. I grew up with it and when asked if I was a Christian, I replied, “Of course I am, I’m an American. What would you think I am?” I would have named the denomination I was in though I was a lost, hippie, hedonist that believed we were offspring of alien visitors.
I would have been outraged at the constant blasphemy on TV and in the movies. I would have thought Alec Baldwin insane for his comments. Only because of my ignorance of their true meaning did I sing some of the songs from my day. I did not know enough about the Bible or Christianity to know the double meanings and even blatant references to satan. Those songs could be sung in Sunday School compared to what kids are listening to now. The videos are even worse. I loved horror flicks as a kid, but today the vivid and overt demonism make Frankenstein, the Werewolf, and the Mummy look like Mother Goose characters.
Nothing is sacred. Nothing is holy. You can make comments about Christ, the Church, the Bible and Christians that would get you sued or censored if you said them about any other religion or group. This is how I explain to people that I know Christ is the only way to heaven.

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud,
BLASPHEMERS, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,” II Tim: 2:1,2

Paul accurately describes today’s society. All the mentioned characteristics fulfill prophecy and give validity to the claim that the Bible is God’s Word and the Bible says that Jesus is THE Son of God. The predication of men being blasphemers is very significant.
The definition of blasphemy is the act of insulting God or showing contempt for or lack of reverence for God; also, claiming the attributes of deity or having irreverence toward something considered sacred or inviolable.
Who do people curse and swear by? GOD and JESUS CHRIST! Who do many cultists claim to be? JESUS CHRIST! What name is sacred to many, and yet, most people show little reverence to it? JESUS CHRIST! I have been in other countries and have not found people using the name of Buddha or Allah in vain, or claiming to be them. One would be executed! Even in some of those countries, the most popular curse is JESUS CHRIST! By their own lips they confirm the deity of Christ, because God said in the end times, men would be blasphemers of GOD and today they blaspheme no one else as CHRIST is blasphemed! They mock Him now, as they did on the Cross, nearly two thousand years ago.

For those who are wondering, I have not really left Isaiah for a rabbit trail. Read John 12:37-41 and you will see whom Isaiah is seeing on that throne. As a freebie, use verses two and three to help you understand First Corinthians 11:1-16. You have to take off your twentieth century glasses and maybe sacrifice a sacred cow to understand the correlation, but it will hit you like a brick when you get it. I wish I could go into it more, but I will have to wait until I do my commentary on First Corinthians to get detailed. Until then, you will just have to study. 😉
Unfortunately, some of the things they say about Christians are true because we do not live the separated, holy lives as saints that we were redeemed to live. (Eph 2:10) This gives the lost the occasion to blaspheme the Lord. David’s sin cost him a child. Our sins cause us to lose spiritual children because people reject Christ because of our lives. (2 Sam 12:14) I have had more people tell me they had problems with Christians than they did with God. They are like the demons that believe in God, but because we are not walking in the power of His resurrection, they see no need to reevaluate their belief system. (James 2:8; Phil 3:10; Gal 2:20)
Brethren let us teach them the meaning of holiness and what is sacred by our lives as well as our lips. We must submit to His sovereignty because it will provoke us to confession! (Vs 5-7) It will tear away all facades! (Vs 5) Isaiah was a faithful priest and had been used as a prophet before he wrote this prophetic book. (2 Kings 19,20; 2 Chronicles 32) He is a man of stamina and courage, as we will see later in this chapter. A man we could all look up to and admire. However, when he stood before the Lord, he realized that he was no better than his people were and that his lips were as foul and defiled as anyone’s. He might be a prophet and mighty holy in comparison to men, but when his eyes beheld the Lord the perspective changed.
Christians, but especially leaders need to learn from this. Too often when the Lord blesses our ministries, we start thinking that we are something special. We tend to look down on sinner and saint alike as folks that just do not have what we have. Surely, we are the people and wisdom will die with us. (Job 12:2) We forget that the same Lord that blessed us is the same Lord that can take us down. (James 4:6, 1 Peter 5:5) We need to heed the example of Saul that when he was small in his own eyes, God made him a king. When he became big in his own eyes, he lost the kingdom. (1 Samuel 15:13-23)
We are called as redeemed sinners to be servants and not kings or lords. (Matt 20:27; 1 Peter 5:1-4) Then why are we so haughty and high-minded? We are looking the wrong way. We should be getting stiff necks from looking at the Lord high and lifted up not because we go nose up as we pass our brothers and sisters. Neither should we be getting cross-eyed from looking down those noses at the lost. We deserve whatever bloody nose we get from that practice.
We need a reality check from the Great Physician. Most people in America live in a fairy tale world. They have their TV (soaps, hero movies), and novels (romance, sci-fi). They have fantasy sex (pulp novels/romance, porno). They have their attire (what makes the man, sexy, fad, dress for success). Both sexes have their cosmetics, not an orderly arrangement of natural assets which is where the word comes from, but rather a desire to create an image that does not exist due to dissatisfaction with what God created or to escape the reality of aging. Prov 16:31 “The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.” (KJV) Hoary comes from hoarfrost and means gray hair. Are you wearing your crown or did you remove it for a fake crown of youth? Whose glory do you want, God’s, Clairol’s or Grecian 44’s?

Therefore, it is no wonder that we have such a hard time coping with reality and can so easily affect a form of religion without any power. We are accustomed to living in a dream world, but God says, “Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.” Eph 5:14
We come to church with our plastic faces and practiced actions and emotions. We pretend that all is well and we are perfect little Christians. Perish the thought that anyone might know our weaknesses and might weep with us over our failures. No, we cannot have any of that.
Pastors and other leaders must walk a tightrope as we place them so high that often the pressure makes them snap and then we discard them like a cracked vase. They cannot even share with their peers for what would they think? Share with a member? Only if you want to hear about it in the newspaper.
We play games and charades as we cry alone in our pain and souls are lost for eternity because we do not receive healing and strength to win them. We must allow the light of truth to shine through our facades. We must allow the Master to rip them from us as we cry out in confession. Then and only then will it cleanse our hearts! 6,7
It will cleanse your heart with you truly confess. We quote 1 John 1:9 a bit too glibly. We think telling God that He caught us is confession. The word for confess in 1 John is homologeo and while it conveys the sense of acknowledgement it is a bit heavier than that. It is to say the same (homo) word (logeo) that God says about our sin. Not just to say yes we did it, but to call it what it is and to understand that it is sin. God has drawn a line and we have arrogantly and defiantly stuck our big hairy toe across that line and said, “God, you are so out of it. It isn’t that bad and I like it!” If we are honest, we dive into sin far more often than we fall into it. We only fall because we walk so close to the precipice and keep looking over until the sheer gravity of Hell pulls us over.
The old office of Compline is an end of day prayer. “I confess to almighty God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and before all the company of Heaven, that I have sinned, in thought, word, and deed, through my fault, my own grievous fault; wherefore I pray, almighty God, to have mercy upon me, to forgive all my sins, and to make clean my heart within me.”
As one of my favorite radio personalities would say that is a no excuses prayer in a not my fault world. Our excuses are just more facades that keep us from the fellowship of God that leaves us dying on the vine. It is time to quit with the excuses and cry out to God about our willful failures and quit blaming everyone and everything else when it our own fault, our own grievous fault! You might wonder why this prayer calls the roll so to speak. You sinned in the presence of the Trinity and the company of Heaven and when you confess you confess in their presence. You might as well acknowledge their presence and let it drive home the fact that there is no sin truly done in the dark where no one sees. It might help you resist that next temptation.
When we finally submit to His sovereignty by worshipping and confessing to obtain that cleansed heart, we will find ourselves prepared to serve. (Vs 8-10) It will give you ears to hear! Once Isaiah had the wax of sin and self removed, he was able to hear the Lord what the Lord had in mind. The barriers between Him and the One high and lifted up were removed. The Lord could now speak and call for a servant because there was one cleansed and prepared for service. There was one that could hear.
Note something about this call. Though God appeared to Isaiah, He is making the call as if Isaiah was in the middle of a congregation or as if He was asking the angels which one of them would go or be sent. Was God trying not to put pressure on Isaiah?
Paul was compelled by the love of Christ to preach the Gospel. (2 Cor 5:14) That love was so strong that it was a pressure and a woe if he did not preach, but not like a 900 foot tall Jesus putting a gun to his head. (1 Cor 9:16,17)
Therefore, I wonder if God was giving Isaiah a way out. What if would have not said, “Here am I, send me?” Would God have just gone back to Heaven and Isaiah back to his routine? More likely, I think that it is to give us an example of how the call works sometimes. (1 Cor 10:11)
We get all mystical and weird when it comes to the call of God. Lightning must strike and we must have convulsions or something to know we are called. What if it just works like this? We get to down to real worship and confession and when our heart is cleansed and ears opened we say, “You know, there ought to be a XYZ ministry in our church or someone should go see Jim Bob and tell him about Christ.”
Instead of running to the pastor or elders and suggesting they find somebody to start that ministry or go see that person why don’t we just see that as God calling us to do it? Maybe our spirits were lifted up to a heavenly convocation like Isaiah had here and we heard God ask for a volunteer and we misunderstood. Our mission was not to pass the message on to someone else. We were being given the opportunity to accept the call. The need was placed on your heart and the fulfillment is in your surrender.
You see that kind of submission is powerful. It will give you a clear call! (Vs 9, 10) There were no ifs, ands, or buts, Isaiah knew the exact message he was to give! His was not exactly the kind of positive thinking, think and grow rich, health and prosperity messages we like so well today. In fact, it was downright negative. We do not like negative preaching. We grow more under it than any other kind. We get too lazy and complacent when the preacher preaches smooth things. It is when times are hard and the preaching gets through our steel-toed shoes that we really take stock of ourselves. (Ecc 7:2,4) This nation needs stronger preaching, but preaching of truth in love. We have enough hateful preaching of the truth. That kind hardens the heart. We need balanced preaching. Show the sin, but weep over it and the sinner. Then provide the cure and rejoice with the Lord over the one brought back to the fold.
We are in the same boat as the nation of Israel. It had so long ignored God that He finally said; “You don’t want to hear me? Fine, I’ll fix it so that even if I shout you will not understand. You do not want to see? Fine, you’re blind although what I do will be manifest! Your do not have the heart to serve me? I’ll make it so fat and sluggish that it can’t serve anything but yourself.” This is mighty close to what will happen after the Rapture. Those that had too many excuses for not believing the truth will not be able to believe anything but the lie. (2 Thess 2:9-12)
No, Isaiah did not receive the kind of ministry that we would like today. There were jeering crowds, but no cheering ones. He delivered his message faithfully and clear, but no one truly listened. He may even have had some of them shake his hand say, “Man, that was a great sermon, preacher!” and then thoroughly ignore every admonition and exhortation.
That is another reason that we must submit to the sovereignty of God. It will prepare you to endure! (Vs 11 – 13) Many start out serving the Lord, but too few last. They feel called and they believe they have a message from God. They are aflame!! They want to be Peter and Paul! They are determined to be the best Christian God ever had!
Then it doesn’t turn out like they expected. Lost people are not falling at their feet begging to be saved. The saints just do not seem to appreciate their ministry. In fact, the saints treat them worse than lost people do. They see lazy saints happy as can be and yet they are faithful and frustrated. After awhile, they are looking too much at people and not enough at the Lord. They start to justify their own sins. After all, God has kids that act worse.
Then they fall over that last stumbling block and they quit. Oh, the degree of quitting varies. Some will never go to church again. Some attend, but do nothing. Others attend and even do some sort of service, but it is just a duty to them. There is no longer any fire or desire. They are just going through the motions. They have quit serving God. They are just doing time.
Submission to His sovereignty will prepare you to endure because it will give you patience! (Vs 11,12) Isaiah was written in 740 BC. After being given this kind of ministry, it is only natural that Isaiah would want to know how long he would have to be in this kind of ministry. The land became desolate and the people were carried away in captivity by the Assyrians in 722 BC. That would be eighteen years of a hard, seemingly fruitless ministry. We are told that Isaiah was placed in a log and sawed in half. That is not the retirement we expected from the Annuity Board.
How many seminary students would volunteer for that? There are quite a few of Isaiah 6 congregations out there. God may just call you to such a ministry. Some men build churches and some men close them because they have Ichabod written upon them by the same hand that wrote Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin (1 Sam 4:21) If you are not submitted and have patience, you will not endure.
Maybe you are looking around at your church and it appears small and not growing. Things just are not happening the way you think they should go. Maybe there is something wrong and maybe there is not. Look at yourself first and be sure that you are not wrong before you go pointing fingers. If you cannot see anything wrong and God does not reveal anything wrong you might just need to submit and be patient.
In the midst of trials and losses, submission to the sovereignty of God will cause you to endure by giving you patience and it will give you hope. (Vs 13) Isaiah was promised a tenth. The Lord’s tithe or firstfruits of a new nation conceived in holiness or in the liberty of the Spirit. (2 Cor 3:17) It would be small, but it would be a seed for a more fruitful nation.
After all the destruction and apparent loss of all hope, there is a remnant! In fall, the trees seem to be dying, as they lose their leaves. It is only then that they can become fruitful as they drop their seed! The seed had to be shaken and scattered to become productive.
Your life often needs to be shaken and your dead leaves cast off and your talents torn from your limbs in order to become a productive Christian. The shaking may hurt and can cause despair unless you are prepared to endure. If you are prepared, then you know the shaking is for your good and you can have the hope of a better ministry! This is your hope and reward for your patient endurance.
How do you see the Lord today? Is He your King high and lifted up? Is your worship what it should be? Are you real or faking it? Are you confessed, cleansed, and ready to serve? Will your receive your reward?
Father, break us and shake us, but make us into the image of Your Son. May we faithfully serve you like Brother Isaiah even when it is not a fun ministry and our fruit seems small. Take us and make us good seed that grows a strong and holy tree through Thy power, mercy, and grace!


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