Monday, October 17, 2011

Encounter with God

A few thoughts to follow up my piece on Isaiah and chapter six. Beside being one of the most awe inspiring and gripping portions of scripture other points jump out. This was not a meeting with God, not some planned duty that he had to perform as a priest. In fact, it was far different than all other religious duties that he had performed. His duties as a priest were all centered around shadows of the real and representative of the heavenly reality. The objects used in worship, Laver, Candlestick, Altar, Table, and Ark all represented what was revealed to Moses. This was an encounter with God, no shadows or representations, reality in the present.

Isaiah encounters the reality of eternal God, in the present reality of a dead king, Human power is dead in the person of Uzziah the king. Human timing records the death of a king and encounter with God. It is fitting that the prophet would record the king's death. In the presence of the great I AM, God who always was, is and will be, Isaiah acknowledges divinity and humanity. Human power, however great and commanding is but a vapor and gust of wind.

When Isaiah is in the presence of Eternal God and the created servants cry out, Holy, Holy, Holy, the temple and the framing begins to shake. The mere mention of I AM by the Seraphim's is enough to cause an upset. At this the prophet responds from the center of his soul. His confession is not couched in theological terms or the language of the religious world. His response is from the center of an honest reality. His cry, Woe is Me, for I am undone, I am a man of unclean lips. His shortcomings did not need to be counseled out of him. He knew, he confessed. His sin was responsible for the terror in his soul.

Encounter brought realization, realization brought confession. And now, Isaiah's confession will bring the searing heat of the sacrificial fire. The coal taken from the Altar cleanses the self-professed agent of sin, his mouth. With the heat of sacrifice comes the mercy that assuages guilt, reconciliation and forgiveness that restores relationship.

The endless universe must listen as the Creator asks the question that must probe every sincere heart; "Who will I send and who will go for us?" With the profound knowledge of who he was, and now is, the prophet responds and his eternal destiny is set.  His words to kings and nations will announce doom and destruction. His pronouncement of the coming Messiah will be used to set millions on their own person encounter with the Great I AM.

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