Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Glimpses Of God: High and Lifted Up Isa 6:1-8

Glimpses Of God: High and Lifted Up
Text: Isaiah 6:1-8

Podcast Audio

We can’t really comprehend the greatness of God but I once read an essay by an 8 yr old boy that described God better than most sermons I’ve ever heard.

  This was written by Danny Dutton, age 8, from Chula Vista, California, for his third-grade homework assignment to "Explain God".
         One of God's main jobs is making people. He makes them to replace the
ones that die so there will be enough people to take care of things on earth.
         He doesn't make grown-ups, just babies. I think because they are smaller and easier to make.  That way, He doesn't have to take up His valuable time teaching them to talk and walk, He can just leave that to mothers and fathers.
        God's second most important job is listening to prayers. An awful lot of this goes on, since some people, like preachers and things, pray at times besides bedtime. God doesn't have time to listen to the radio or TV because of this. Because He hears everything there must be a terrible lot of noise in His ears, unless He has thought of a way to turn it off.
        God sees everything and hears everything and is everywhere which keeps Him pretty busy. So you shouldn't go wasting His time by going over your mom and dad's head asking for something they said you couldn't have.
         Atheists are people who don't believe in God. I don't think there are any in Chula Vista. At least there aren't any who come to our church.
        Jesus is God's Son. He used to do all the hard work like walking on water and performing miracles and trying to teach the people who didn't want to learn about God. They finally got tired of Him preaching to them and they crucified Him. But He was good and kind like His Father and He told His Father that they didn't know what they were doing and to forgive them and God said OK.
        His Dad (God) appreciated everything that He had done and all His hard work on earth so He told Him He didn't have to go out on the road anymore, He could stay in heaven. So He did.
        And now He helps His Dad out by listening to prayers and seeing things which are important for God to take care of and which ones He can take care of Himself without having to bother God. Like a secretary only more important. You can pray anytime you want and they are sure to hear you because they got it worked out so one of them is on duty all the times.
        You should always go to Church on Sunday because it makes God happy, and if there's anybody you want to make happy, it's God.  Don't skip church to do something you think will be more fun like going to the beach. This is wrong! And, besides, the sun doesn't come out at the beach until noon anyway.
        If you don't believe in God, besides being an atheist, you will be very lonely, because your parents can't go everywhere with you, like to camp, but God can. It is good to know He's around you when you're scared in the dark or when you can't swim very good and you get thrown into real deep water by big kids. But you shouldn't just always think of what God can do for you.  I figure God put me here and He can take me back anytime He pleases. And that's why I believe in God."

That’s pretty good for an 8 yr old isn’t it. We will be talking about experiencing the greatness of God over the next few week, Glimpsing His Glory and that is about all you can do. Because you can’t measure God’s glory and you can’t fully define it, you can’t bring God down to our level of intellect so that we can fully understand Him. We are finite and He is infinite.

Oswald Chambers said, “It takes all time and eternity to know God.” -  Oswald Chambers (1874-1917) So, if we can’t measure, define or comprehend God and His glory then why are we talking about it? Because sometimes perhaps only a few times in a lifetime we can glimpse His greatness and glory. And when you do, when you truly experience the greatness of the One who holds time and eternity in His hands, it will change you forever, forever.

James Packer, in his excellent book, Knowing God, writes:  Knowing about God is crucially important for the living of our lives. As it would be cruel to an Amazonian tribesman to fly him to London, put him down without explanation in Trafalgar Square and leave him, as one who knew nothing of English or England, to fend for himself, so we are cruel to ourselves if we try to live in this world without knowing about the God whose world it is and who runs it. The world becomes a strange, mad, painful place, and life with it a disappointing and unpleasant business, for those who do not know God. Disregard the study of God and you sentence yourself to stumble and blunder through life blindfolded, as it were, with no sense of direction and no understanding of what surrounds you. This way you can waste your life and lose your soul.

I.        Experiencing God In Our Loss Isaiah 6:1

A.       Isaiah Had lost his King and his hope. In the history of Israel's Kings,  King Uzziah was a good one.

a)       2 Kings 15:3 And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah had done;

b)       But then something happened.  Uzziah became proud and he entered the holy place of God’s Temple to burn incense . This was forbidden to all except God’s high priests and as punishment he was struck with leprosy.  I believe that Isaiah who lived at this same time may have been looking to Uzziah as a king who would once again lead Israel to follow God but instead he was punished by God and then he died leaving that great task and calling undone.  Now Isaiah and Israel have lost their King and their hope. At this time of loss, this time of pain and emptiness, he sees God.

B.       Experiencing God often Follows Loss

1.      I want to share something with you that you may not want to know but nevertheless it is necessary, if we are to truly understand how to experience God. Many times, if not always, in order to experience God we must come to a time of loss, of tragedy, our most painful failure sometimes even a place of death before we can glimpse God. Let me give you some examples.

a)      Israel after facing the armies of Egypt and certain death with no retreat and no way to go forward. At this time of the loss of all hope, God lets them pass through the Red Sea and afterward when they camped, they experienced God. Exodus 24:9-11 Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God,

b)      Ezekiel the prophet is taken as a prisoner of war suffering the loss of family, friends and home, all he had ever known and then in  Ezekiel 1:1 Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.

c)     John according to history is dipped into burning oil for preaching the word of God and then this near 100 year old apostle, who was the last of the apostles and now was banished and waiting to die on a rocky island. At this time of loss, he sees the vision of God. Revelation 4:2 And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.

2.  To begin to experience and know God as He wants us to see Him, we must understand the necessity of loss, pain and defeat.

a)  We must lose our belief in ourselves, lose hope in our goodness. We must see the reality of our weakness and fallibility. We must die to ourselves in order to truly become alive to the reality of God. We must be willing to believe that the greatest loss in our life may result in our greatest gain by experiencing God.

3.       Scripture: Philippians 3:8 -10

a)      Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,  And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

C.       Illustration: Jacob Wrestles with the Lord Genesis 32:24-26

1.   And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.

2.   At the end of himself he cries out, “I will not release thee, except thou bless me.”

II.     Experiencing God In His House Isaiah 6:1

A.       Isaiah was worshipping in the Temple when He saw God high and lifted up.    I don’t think it was coincidental or an accident that God revealed himself to Isaiah when he came to the Temple.  I think Isaiah was seeking God in God’s House. I think he was praying to God for his nation in the loss of Uzziah. Perhaps he was trying to find hope in the place where hope is always found.   So he comes to the House of God and there he experienced God as he never had before.

2.         We see this over and over again in scripture.

a)        John in the spirit on the Lord’s Day. He was worshipping God on the day God ordained Christians to worship. Solomon at the dedication of the Temple prays and the Shekinah glory of God fills the Temple. The apostle and the first church of Jerusalem are worshipping in the upper room on Sunday in the only house of worship they had and the Holy Spirit filled the room, the parallel NT experience of the OT Shekinah Glory of God filling the Temple.

B.       Experiencing God occurs most often in His House

1.    I ask people who tell me they are Christians and yet don’t go to church, “How can you say you love God and don’t even come to his house?” And for those who think they have experienced God in any way outside of the place where He told us he would meet with us. I ask how can you experience God in a way that will bring a lasting change of life if you haven’t seen Him in the temple formed by the souls of the redeemed, His Church?

3.    Scripture: David in the wilderness longed to see God in the tabernacle. Psalms 63:1-2 O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.

C.       Illustration: God in My Experience

1.   I have seen the greatness of God while standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon or looking up from the depths of its deep valleys. I have seen the greatness of God in the birth of my children and in the death of one of his saints but the place I have most often seen the greatness of God is in the church.

2.   In the church, I saw his greatness reach done in love and grace and save my soul as young 7 year old boy. In church I felt his hand on my shoulder as I wept over an alcoholic father and a broken hearted mother. In church, I experienced his presence when I knelt with my Pastor and told him God was dealing with me to be a pastor. In church, I saw my children saved one by precious one. In church, I have seen God touch hearts hard as stones and break them fine dust and then reform them into his own throne. In church, I have seen lives changed and souls saved and people caught up in the greatness and grace of God. In church, I have experienced God more often than anywhere else and that is not an accident it is the design and will of God for all of us.

D.       Transition:

1.   If you would experience the greatness of God, you must understand the place of  tragedy or loss. You must also seek God where He has told us he will be found in His House of Worship. Now let us look at the effect of experiencing God.

III.     Experiencing God In My Life Isaiah 6:1-8

A.    Isaiah Was Changed By His Experience of God

1.    Isaiah saw God on his throne, ruling and reigning over all the universe. 

a)     He saw God high and lifted up. His presence filled the temple.

b)     And He heard the voices of the seraphim calling out Holy! Holy! Holy!

2.    So great was God’s presence and so loud the cry of the seraphim that the columns of the temple shook as though being shaken in an earthquake.

3.    So powerful was this vision that Isaiah cried out, “I am undone.”  My body cannot bear the glory of God.  My soul cannot sustain the reality of His holiness. I am being tore apart by the greatness of God’s presence.

a)   Then in that state of being reduced to nothing, one of the seraphim came with a live coal from the altar. This coal symbolizing the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the only sacrifice that could make Isaiah clean and worthy to be in the presence of God.

b)   He then placed it to Isaiah lips and with this touch of the mercy and grace of God, remade him a worthy servant who could answer when God called for one to send, “Here am I send me.”

4.     Isaiah was changed, transformed, literally destroyed and then reconstructed by his experience of the greatness of God. God filled the Temple with His presence and then filled Isaiah with His power.

B.       Experiencing God Will Change You

1.   Do you understand that no one can truly experience the greatness of God and remain the same?

2.    I believe that most are afraid to risk such change. Could the reason that many never really experience God is that they are afraid of the change it will bring in their life?

3.    Far too many church members today find comfort in their legalism, joy in their routines and ruts, steadfastness in their traditions and mistakenly think that in these things they have experienced God!

4.   Too often we allow the things of God to replace time with God, ritual replaces relationship and conformity replaces confrontation. We need God in his greatness not just the trappings and the décor of Christianity. Without a confrontation of God in his greatness, His glory, His grandeur we will arrive in heaven very much the same as the day we were saved still waiting to experience the greatness of God in our lives.

5.   One Sunday on their way home from church, a little girl turned to her mother and said, "Mommy, the preacher's sermon this morning confused me. The mother said, "Oh? Why is that?" The little girl replied, "Well, he said that God is bigger than we are. Is that true?" The mother replied, "Yes, that's true, honey." "And he also said that God lives in us? Is that true Mommy?" Again, the mother replied, "Yes." "Well," said the little girl, "if God is bigger than us and he lives in us, wouldn't He show through?" -James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 303.

6.    How great is God to you?

a)   Is He great enough to bring excitement in Church attendance, great enough to fill this auditorium?

b)   Is He great enough great enough to fill my life, my home or my marriage? Great enough to overcome with my problems, my failures, my pain? Great enough to fill my heart, my thoughts or my hopes? Great enough to make a difference in the way you live, think or act?

c)    If God is that great, if He hasn’t changed your life then perhaps you haven’t truly experienced God.

C. How Great Thou Art – The Story of the hymn
The history of the hymn How Great Thou Art begins with Mr. Carl Gustaf Boberg (1859-1940). He was a Swedish pastor, editor, and member of the Swedish parliament. He was enjoying a nice walk when a thunderstorm suddenly appeared. A severe wind began to blow. After the storm was over, Mr. Boberg looked out over the clear bay. He then heard a church bell in the distance. And the words to How Great Thou Art begin to form in his heart -- O Lord, my God, When I in awesome wonder, consider all the worlds Thy hands hath made. .He had glimpsed God and the result it a hymn that still is sung today.

2.   The hymn is so popular because it strikes a chord in our souls that echoes like that church bell so long ago. Oh how much we need in our own hearts to experience God in his greatness and glory.


1.    Experiencing God to most of us it will only be another sermon title, just a like a dozen of others. But to some it will be more, it will be an awaking, a call, a stirring to a quest to truly experience the greatness of the God of the Universe.

2.  AW Tozer said this, In the midst of this great coldness toward God there are some, I rejoice to acknowledge, who will not be content with shallow logic. They will admit the force of the argument, and then turn away with tears to hunt some lonely place and pray, "O God, show me thy glory." They want to taste, to touch with their hearts, to see with their inner eyes the wonder that is God.”  From Pursuing the Knowledge of the Holy by A. W. Tozer.

3.  They will begin perhaps right now to seek God, not just the far away memory of their salvation but God right here right now before their eyes filling this church and changing their lives.

4.    The greatness of God can annihilate you and then remold you, it fills your senses and fills your soul. The greatness of God is so much more than a theme it is the life quest of those who truly long for more than just the routine of another Sunday at church.

5.   Could that be you today? Could it be you? Is God even now beginning to stir your heart to experience his greatness, his glory, his grandeur?

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