Will you be the one the Lord sends?
May 30, 2021
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple. Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. And one called to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”
The pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called, and the house filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”
Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. The seraph touched my mouth with it and said: “Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out.” 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!”
Interesting fact: The book of Isaiah is, in essence, a summary of the entire Bible. It is composed of 66 chapters. How many books are there in the Bible? That’s right, 66! Interestingly, the book of Isaiah is very distinctly divided into two sections: beginning with chapter forty, there is a new outlook, so completely different that some scholars have felt that the two sections were written by two different authors. Be that as it may, there definitely are two well-defined sections: the first 39 chapters and the final 27 chapters. How is the whole Bible divided? Two sections - the Old Testament and the New Testament, with 39 books in the Old and 27 in the New! A coincidence? I don’t think so. Research shows that the book of Isaiah is the most quoted book in the Bible. Even more than the Book of Psalms.
Last week Adam Hake spoke about the voice of God. Hearing God’s voice. Adam spoke about listening to God’s voice and, most importantly, obeying God’s voice. And what a wonderful job he did. At Adam’s age all I could think about was girls, music, friends and girls. Did I mention girls? Of course, that was a couple years before Helen and I crossed paths again. I did not have God in my heart like Adam does and I pray he never lets go of where God is leading him. The last part of what Adam spoke about, obeying God’s voice, is the point in which most of us fail. Some of us actually hear God speaking to us, if we are quiet enough, which means we are actually listening for God’s voice. But very few of us are willing to follow God’s command on our lives. So many of us respond with “Are you talking to me?”.
Isaiah, the author of our reading, was one of those fortunate ones who had it all together when it came to having an ear for God’s voice. Isaiah was a prophet. A forecaster, a seer who could hear, interpret, and respond to God in a way most people of that time, and probably better than most today, could. Isaiah feared God, but he also respected, trusted and loved God. And Isaiah was willing to do anything God asked of him. In our reading today we find Isaiah in a temple. But this was not Solomon’s temple here on earth. This the heavenly temple. King Uzziah, who was considered one of the greatest leaders of the people of Judah, had died (circa 740 B.C.) and perhaps the people of Judah were in turmoil. Perhaps they were fearing being led astray by some other leader. You see, the region of Judah had been built to greatness during the time of King David and continued on by his son, King Solomon. The region went through some difficult times after the reign of Solomon ended. But then came along King Uzziah and Judah was once again returned to its power. But Isaiah did not feel this same fear as the people. Yes, the great leader, his great and respected leader, Uzziah, had left his throne on earth, but the greatest king was still seated on the throne of heaven. The king in which he now stood in front of.
But the Lord was not alone. As our scripture states, “Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew.” What is a Seraph other than some strange creature with six wings? Perhaps they were the living creatures described to us in Revelation 4.
In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. 7 The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. 8 Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying: “‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, ’who was, and is, and is to come” (6-8).
Is that even possible? We are talking about two Books of the Bible written nearly 900 years apart. And yet here they are, describing two identical creatures surrounding the throne of the Most High God. Biblestudytools.com describes a seraph, or seraphim, as, an order of celestial (heavenly) beings, whom Isaiah beheld in vision standing above Jehovah as he sat upon his throne. (Isaiah 6:2) They are described as having each of them three pairs of wings, with one of which they covered their faces (a token of humility); with the second they covered their feet (a token of respect); while with the third they flew. They seem to have borne a general resemblance to the human figure. ver. 6. Their occupation was twofold to celebrate the praises of Jehovahs holiness and power, ver. 3 and to act as the medium of communication between heaven and earth. ver. 6.
Their job was to celebrate the praises of Jehovah’s holiness and power. Thus, the reason for their singing,
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”
First let me point out that the repeating of the 3 “holies” is the only time in the entire Bible that 3 words are repeated in succession. Perhaps in honoring the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Back to the seraphs. That was their job. Sort of sounds like us during a Sunday worship service, doesn’t it? Celebrating the holiness of our God and singing His praises. Just think if all we had to do all day, every day, for the rest of our lives was to sing and worship God. I think I could do that. How about you? One day we all will get that chance. And what a glorious thing to look forward to.
While the rest of Judah was falling to pieces, Isaiah was getting a glimpse of the world from Heaven’s point of view. When things in your life are not going to well think of this phrase, “when the outlook seems bleak, try the up look.” What seems to be so enormous in front of us doesn’t seem so big from up there. When something in your life appears to be overwhelming you like a giant wave in the ocean, look at it from above. When your life seems to getting tossed around, turned upside down and drug out to sea like a riptide, look at it from God’s point of view. As long as we have God on our side, ready to pinch-hit, pinch-run, step in and take our place, life can never be more than we can overcome. Just look at little king David as he stood in front of the mighty Goliath. David knew he had God already warmed up in the Bullpen. David did not fear the great giant because he knew that Goliath was a little “g” and his God was a big “G”. And with the Big “G” behind you, you have nothing to fear.
Something else we see in the scripture is the unworthiness felt by Isaiah to, not only be in the presence of the Lord in such a holy place, but just to be a prophet of God. Remember that this was not the original commissioning of Isaiah’s call to be a prophet. He has received his initial call to be a prophet sometime earlier in his life. Yet, Isaiah felt he had unclean lips and lived among people with unclean lips. Unclean lips that are brought about by an unclean heart. Isaiah was a sinner, living a sinner’s life in the midst of other sinners. Unworthy? Perhaps in his mind and in the minds of those around him. But not with God. Isaiah’s conviction led to his confession which led to his cleansing. I am sure many of us feel, or have felt, unworthy to be in the presence of God. I know, at times, I do. But God looks way beyond what we feel about ourselves. God sees beyond our sins and our unclean lips. Thank God for that. Just like the hot coal place upon the lips of Isaiah in an act of forgiveness of his sins, so does the Lord touch our unclean lips with His forgiveness.
If you noticed in our reading that Isaiah did not fully receive his commissioning from God until after his sins were cleansed. The seraph speaks to Isaiah by saying, “Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed, and your sin is blotted out.” And then the great commission comes when God speaks directly to Isaiah. The Lord says to him, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” And Isaiah responds with, “Here am I; send me!” Isaiah had already been a prophet but yet he still was filled with sin. Isaiah was human just like the rest of us. He was surrounded by sinners just like we are, and I am sure Satan was working hard to draw Isaiah away the following God’s call. Just like he works on each of us to keep us away from following God’s voice and God’s call on our lives.
But just as Isaiah refused to abide to the sins of Satan and the sins of the world by listening to God’s call and telling God “Here I am, send me”, so must we do the same. The world has become of place of backs turned away from God. It has become a place of not listening to God’s voice and paying more attention to ways of the world – social media posts, radio and television reports that are solely based on the opinion of the station or the minority groups around the world. The world needs a new vision of God. Actually, it’s an old vision, but considering the way things have been, and are becoming, it needs to be a revitalized vision. A vision that presents God as a loving, caring, do-anything-for-us God. A God that is willing to fight to the end to keep us safe from the evils of the world. A God that laid down the life of His Son for us and would do it all over again if the moment called for it. God is not some old man sitting on a marble throne dishing out punishment to those who disobey Him or the one who makes the decision as to who goes to Heaven and who goes the other way. That is not our God.
When you hear God’s voice, listen. When you hear God’s call, follow. When you hear God’s commands, obey. I pray your response to God will be the same as Isaiah’s. “Here I am Lord, send me”.
Memories are a vital part of our lives. The majority of our memories are, I hope, good ones. We remember important personal dates like our birthdays and those of our children and grand-children. We remember our wedding anniversary date. Right gentlemen? We remember important historical dates like 1492 when Columbus sailed the ocean blue, 1776 when American gained its independence, 1941, the attack on Pearl Harbor, and, of course, 9/11/2001. Some of us remember when we gave our lives to Jesus, when we were born again into a new life with Christ. I remember the month and year (March 2010) but I am not sure of the day. Isaiah remembered his coming to the Lord date as the year King Uzziah died. I will always remember the date in which I became the pastor of Woodside (July 1, 2015) and I will always cherish the 6 years here after I leave (July 1, 2021). Tomorrow we celebrate the memories of those who gave their lives for this country, for the people and for the freedoms we are able to enjoy to this day. On Memorial Day we remember and honor all the men and women who so proudly served their country and sacrificed all they had for their fellow Americans. I pray that we never forget those we knew and loved and those we never met. Those who heeded their country’s call to serve but saying, “Here I am, send me”. And I pray that we can look forward to the day when we will have the opportunity to stand before them and thank them for what that gave for us. May you enjoy the day off from work and school but never forget the real reason we are given the chance to say “Thank you” and God bless you.
In closing I would like to leave you with this, never underestimate what God can do with one willing worker. There is an even greater need for laborers today, and we have an enormous opportunity to share the Gospel with a broken world. Are you willing to become one of God’s laborers? If so, then answer God with, “Here I am Lord, send me.”
Sunday Morning services are at 8:30a.m. (traditional) and on Facebook LIVE.
And 10:30am (contemporary) presently not on Facebook LIVE.
Sunday School and Adult Bible study classes are canceled until further notice.
Communion service is the first Sunday of every month during both services.