Isaiah in Worship

March 17, 2013    Isaiah 6   Worship 

        How would you like to so see God?   That would kind of turn your life upside down wouldn’t it or the reality is it would turn our lives right side up.    

      As Christians we do not want to be guilty of not worshipping and not knowing how to worship.    Certainly a Christian going to church does not mean that he or she worshipped.   Singing does not mean worship.   Singing Christian songs does not mean that you worship.   Bowing our heads and praying does not mean necessarily that we have worshipped.  Personally I think this passage illustrates worship.   Isaiah is brought into the presence of God.  He has a vision of God and the throne of God.  There is humility and repentance.  There is communication with God.  I do not believe that he went to heaven because Jesus in John 3 said no one had been in heaven except him.  But Isaiah was touched by God.   His heart was changed.   I am going to share some quotes and illustrations on worship. 

     Warren Wiersbe, in his book on True Worship, says, "We must beware of trying to get chummy with God. I know the apostle John leaned on the bosom of Jesus in the Upper Room; but he fell at the feet of Jesus when he be held Him in His sovereign glory (Revelation 1:17)." Then Wiersbe continues, "There is an undue familiarity with God that only proves that the worshipper does not really know God at all."  

      .W. Tozer (1897-1963) God wants worshipers before workers; indeed the only acceptable workers are those who have learned the lost art of worship. . . . The very stones would praise him if the need arose and a thousand legions of angels would leap to do his will.  

     The well known Christian author, J. I. Packer, lectures in systematic theology at Regent's College in Vancouver. One of his former students says that Packer started every class by saying, 'Arise, friends, let us sing the Doxology!' After singing and a word of prayer, he would then say to his students, 'The goal of theology, friends, is doxology'.

     Calvin Coolidge once said, “It is only when men begin to worship that they begin to grow.” 

     Gene Mims in Kingdom Principles for Church Growth said, “The purpose of worship is to come before the Lord in obedience to praise Him, to hear from Him, to confess to Him, and to commit our lives to Him.   Every worship service is to be an encounter with the Lord, transcending our feelings, desires, and even our abilities to perform.”  

    Someone said "Pride, the idolatrous worship of self, is the national religion of hell."

     True biblical worship so satisfies our total personality that we don’t have to shop around for man-made substitutes. William Temple made this clear in his masterful definition of worship:

   For worship is the submission of all our nature to God.   It is the quickening of conscience by His holiness; the nourishment of mind with His truth; the purifying of imagination by His beauty; the opening of the heart to His love; the surrender of will to His purpose -- and all of this gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable and therefore the chief remedy for that self-centeredness which is our original sin and the source of all actual sin.

     When queen Victoria had just ascended her throne she went as is the custom for royalty to the performance of Handel's The Messiah.   Royalty was not supposed to stand at performances.  She had a tough time when they sang the Hallelujah, chorus.   It seemed she would rise in spite of the custom of kings and queens but when they came to the part of the chorus where they shout King of kings and Lord of Lords suddenly the young queen rose and stood with bowed head as if she would take her own crown from off her head and cast it at his feet.   I am sure the Father’s heart was touched. 

   The story is told of a minister who had to fill in for Henry Ward Beecher a famous preacher.  When he went to the pulpit some of the people started to get up to leave.   The young minister said all those that have come to worship Henry Ward Beecher may leave but those who came to worship God keep your seats.  

    Well that reminds us that worship is not about us but about Jesus.  It is not about the preacher and it is not about the music but about Jesus.   Yes we desire to go to a church that draws us and points us to Jesus.   Shellie told me that she prays fervently before leading worship.   Certainly the pastor and the worship leaders have a responsibility to do.   God holds us accountable.  James tells us that teachers have a greater responsibility and will be judged accordingly.     It is not totally up to the preacher and the worship leader though.   You have a part also.  You need to pray and be prepared to seek Him.   People usually get what they look for.   People usually find what they set their heart to find.   If we are seeking God and looking for him it is good because God wants to be found and God wants to reveal himself.   

    What is worship?   Well worship has to do with worth.   Webster says a service or rite showing reverence for a deity and intense love or admiration.   Romans 12:1 tells us therefore I urge you brothers in view of God’s mercy to offer your bodies as living sacrifices holly and pleasing to God which is your spiritual worship.   How you live your life is your spiritual worship.   That means your words; your thoughts and your actions speak of your worship not only on Sunday but all the time.    God’s word the bible gets and cuts right to the heart of our lives.  We come to church for just a couple of hours a week but God sees your whole week.  

      God’s Word says (Isaiah 6:1-4 NIV) "In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. {2} above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. {3} and they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory." {4} at the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke."  I think that is breath taking - awesome worship.  Such a sight will get anyone’s attention.

      This chapter starts out in the year that King Uzziah died.  Death can be difficult.   I remember the time when President Kennedy was assassinated.  I was in Remus Michigan in high school.  Death can shake us and we can feel robbed by it.  Uzziah was a great King.  It may have shook the nation when this king died.   After Solomon the northern tribes broke off from Judah and of the northern nation none of the kings were godly.   Things were bad.  Godlessness does not build a good foundation for people.    In Judah there were some good kings and Uzziah was one of them.  Sometimes things happen and we wonder what is tomorrow going to bring.   

       Maybe he was in the temple to pray for the nation.  Life for him may have been full of unknowns and uncertainty.   Isaiah found the Lord still on the throne.   Isaiah says I saw the Lord and the train of robe filled the temple.  Isaiah does not say much about the Lord.   He says he saw the Lord high and lifted up and the train of his robe filled the temple.   Well we could believe that he did not see God’s face.   God told Moses that no human could see his face and live.  Isaiah talks about the train of his robe filling the temple.   Maybe the most he saw of God was His glory and the glory of his garment only.   What an awesome event for a person in the midst of this life to get a vision of God and the heavenly realm.  In the middle of our unknowns and our struggles we can find and sense God on the throne.   What a joy and blessing that is.  That sense brings a stability and peace to our life.   It is good for us to be reminded that God is still on the throne in our day.   I could believe that this vision took his breath away.    The glory and beauty of heaven is beyond description.    Isaiah sees so to speak through the veil.  He sees that which is glorious and beautiful. 

     Were there others in Israel in those days?   Certainly.   But Isaiah is the one who sees the Lord.   Not everyone who goes to church sees or senses the Lord today either.      We need to see the sovereign God.   When John saw Jesus in Revelation 1 he fell before him as a dead man.   When we consider alarming things like terrorism and the threat of wars, crime, violence, moral depravity, gangs, drugs, and other disturbing things we need a fresh vision of God on the throne high and lifted up.   He still hears and answers prayers.  He is still working out his plan and his purpose in the midst of what looks like a world spinning out of control.    But God is in control.   He is high and lifted up, and he will not compromise with sin and man’s rebellion.   God is holy, holy, holy.   God could sweep this world with a revival.  The last pages have not happened yet.   There is hope because God is on the throne. 

    Isaiah sees the temple in heaven and God high and lifted up and Isaiah is called to minister.   God still is calling people to minister.  He is still seeking disciples and disciple makers.  Ben my son had a conversation at Gordon College about this passage with some other guys and they were talking about God’s sovereignty and Man’s choice.   The guys were saying to Ben well look at man’s choice.  God said who will go?   God as asking.   Ben would say well look at God’s sovereignty.  Where do you see that?   Well it is in this passage Ben would say.   Ben would say where do you see your argument?   Well right in this passage.   God says who will go for us?   So Isaiah could say no.   Ben said well how many people was God talking to?   He was only talking to Isaiah.   The guys said I never thought of that before.  How can anyone see God and the glorious throne and say no to God?   How can you do that?   There is a sense of power and purpose and blessing in our lives when we see, sense, and experience Him.  It does not have to be in church but may it be in Jesus church.  

      You may feel like I can never have an experience like that.   You may feel like that was for Isaiah.   I can appreciate that but I think scripture points to another reality.   Our condition is we are clothed with this flesh and we are living in this fallen world.   But our position is in Jesus and Jesus is on the right hand of God.   We are seated with Jesus on the right hand of God.  That is a position of power.   The veil was torn in two that separated God from his people when Jesus died on the cross.   It was ripped from the top to the bottom.  God wants to be with us.  His presence is here.  His presence is in the Christian.  The Holy Spirit is in the Christian.  

    Isaiah seeks a cleansing.   He sees God and he seeks a cleansing and then he submits to being sent.   At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke."Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined!   For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty." Isaiah 6:4-5 God’s holiness reveals Isaiah’s ungodliness.   The more we see of God the more humble we become.   The more we see God the more we will say here am I send me.  The more we see the Father the more we will see the lostness of people without Jesus.    The more we see the Father the more we will get on our heart that which is on His heart lost souls.       We need a vision of Jesus and of God.  A vision is the first thing that happens in this passage.   Sometimes we do not pray the right things for people.   Sometimes they just need a visit or a word from the Lord.  A vision or word from God can correct many things in a person’s life.    Isaiah wanted to go because of revelation.   He had a revelation of God and maybe a revelation of the lost and he said here am I send me.    Maybe you feel today well what could God do with me?   I do not have much to offer you may feel.   God had a great and glorious plan for your life.  Jesus said whatever you give to me I will repay 100 fold.