With Judgement, Hope
1 In the year of King, Uzziah's death, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. 2 Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings; with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one called out to another and said,
"Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory."
4 And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke.
Heaven opened for Isaiah...
This passage closely resembles chapter four of the book of Revelation. The description of the creature with 6 wings and the glory surrounding the throne of the Lord Most High. Few people have been privileged to see this picture. The book of Revelation comes the closest as John's vision of the throne room of God.
Here in God's presence the seraphim sing, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory." In other places, Revelation, in particular, we see all created beings giving praise and worship to the One True God, the Creator and Lord of All Things.
Holy is His Name. His Name is Jehovah Saves. You do know that the name Jesus means “Jehovah Saves” don't you? The Lord of hosts sent His Only Begotten Son to save the world... to save all who believe. The whole earth is full of His glory. At least that is what the Seraphim was singing around the throne of God.
We, as part of God's creation, were created for this purpose: to give glory to God Almighty. “Praise God from whom all blessings flow, Praise Him all creatures here below. Praise Him above, ye heavenly host. Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.”
Isaiah experienced the Presence of God as few in this life ever experience Him. And then... Isaiah is cleansed... he has been transported in that glorious Presence. He suddenly realizes he is not worthy and he cries out in verse 5
5 Then I said, "Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts."
6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, with a burning coal in his hand which he had taken from the altar with tongs. 7 And he touched my mouth with it and said, "Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away, and your sin is forgiven."
We are people of unclean lips and we live among a people of unclean lips. We are unworthy, on our own to live in the presence of God. Heaven must change us, must cleanse us to prepare us to live in the Presence of God. But God had a plan and He conceived of the life, and the death, and the resurrection of Jesus from the foundation of the world. From the very beginning, God made a way for us, for sinful man to be saved, to be cleansed from our sin, to be forgiven.
The seraphim took a burning coal from the altar in heaven where God Himself sacrificed His Only Begotten Son and used that coal to help Isaiah believe that his sins were cleansed and forgiven. Only when we have been touched by the sacrifice of the Lamb of God are we worthy to live in the Presence of the Holy God, the Lord of Hosts.
Isaiah was cleansed and now he is called. Look at verse 8:
8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?" Then I said, "Here am I. Send me!"
When we have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus, we begin to see what God wants. We begin to see with the eyes of the Spirit and to hear what God would say to us. We begin to sense that God is looking for send with the message of truth. Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us? Who is this Us that is asking this question. This can only be the God who is Three and yet is One. The Triune God, The Word, The Creator, and the Spirit. He calls us to go in His name, to represent Him in the world. To share His love with others.
Isaiah is moved to respond, “Here am I. Send me!” Once Isaiah responds, God gives him the message he is to take to his people in his time. It is a message of judgement. Continue reading in verse 9:
Sent with a message of Judgement...
9 And He said, "Go, and tell this people: 'Keep on listening, but do not perceive; Keep on looking, but do not understand.' 10 "Render the hearts of this people insensitive, their ears dull, and their eyes dim, lest they see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and return and be healed." 11 Then I said, "Lord, how long?" And He answered,"Until cities are devastated and without inhabitant, houses are without people, and the land is utterly desolate, 12 "The Lord has removed men far away, and the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land.”
Isaiah is sent with a message of Judgement...
Isaiah's people have refused to listen to the word of God and the Spirit of God. His people will not hear. They will be insensitive to the messge. They will look but not be able to see the truth. They have turned their backs on God and can no longer hear the call of God for them to repent and turn from their rebellion back to the truth of walking with God.
Isaiah asks a question I seem to be asking more and more frequently in my day. How long, O Lord? How long will it be until this society that we live in will be judged and found wanting as Isaiah's people were found? How long will God put up with us? How long will He wait? He is a god of patience and truly is not willing for any to be lost. He wants all to come to Him and serve Him as God. We need to believe in Him as the God who is Love and who still insists on being Lord. He wants us to love Him and to serve Him, to live for His honor and glory. This is our reason for being. This is what He is waiting on for each of us.
God wants to be our Savior and our Lord. How long will He continue to be patient with mankind? How long will He wait for each of us to turn to Him?
God gave Isaiah an answer for his people.
Verse 11 "Until cities are devastated and without inhabitant, houses are without people, and the land is utterly desolate, 12 "The Lord has removed men far away, and the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land.”
Judah and Jerusalem, like the northern kingdom of Israel before them, would be carried off into exile.
But with the message of judgment there is a message of hope for the remnant.
13 "Yet there will be a tenth portion in it, and it will again be subject to burning, like a terebinth or an oak whose stump remains when it is felled. The holy seed is its stump." NASB
God was still planning to carry out His promise through the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Savior would one day come to Jerusalem. A remnant, a tenth portion would be saved and returned to this land that had been promised to their for fathers.
Israel was the chosen nation to bring to the world the seed, the Anointed One. The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. God would bring this about in His time and in His way.
As we preach today these basic truths, it is because the remnant of Israel held onto their faith in God and were returned to their homeland. They are part of the heritage of all peoples who listen to the Spirit of God when He calls them. Today we claim them as our family. We trace our faith back to Abraham, the father of the faithful.
Isaiah and others continued to listen to the call of God. As the Gloria Gaither testifies, “ God has always had a people.” There are and always have been a remnant of God's people in all times and all places. People who put their faith in the Creator of All Things and believe that He will save them by His Presence and by His Power.
Jesus, The Word of God, is God in the flesh. He is the Word that was spoken on the day the heavens and the earth were created. The Spirit of God, the Holy Ghost, is the Spirit of God that brooded over the depths of creation. He is the breath of life that God breathed into man when he was formed of the dust of the earth. He is that same Spirit that comes to call us to believe and to walk in obedience to the One True God.
22 Then I was senseless and ignorant; I was like a beast before Thee.
23 Nevertheless I am continually with Thee; Thou hast taken hold of my right hand.
24 With Thy counsel Thou wilt guide me, And afterward receive me to glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but Thee? And besides Thee, I desire nothing on earth.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
The Psalmist knew this God as we can know Him today. He can inspire us to carry on the work of God in taking the message of this faith to our families, our churches, our place of business, and into our communities. God is calling us today to walk with Him and to be His witnesses. We are to witness to the existence of God, to the Love of God, to the Salvation of God and to God as Lord of All.
With the message of judgment, there is always the message of Hope. Salvation is available to anyone who will accept the truth that God exists and that He gave His Son so that we might have life.
If you have met God, He will call you into service in His Kingdom. Retirement from this job will come when He calls us home to live forever in His Presence in what we call heaven.
Are you listening to Him today?