May 17, 2004

Don't Miss It!
"'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 6:5).

Very few people have ever had the kind of spiritual 
experience that the prophet Isaiah had. In the sixth 
chapter of the book that bears his name, he recounts 
how he saw a dramatic heavenly vision. It was so real, 
he doesn't call it a vision or a dream. He simply says 
that he saw God on his throne worshipped by flying 
creatures.

If you can't relate to this, please don't stop 
reading. Your personal life experience may be more 
like this than you think.

I don't know if you are someone who has a relationship 
with God at all. Maybe you do. I know that people 
relate to God in different ways. I don't know what 
Isaiah was like before this experience. I don't know 
what he would have expected.

If you saw God, how do you think you would feel and 
react? Do you think you would be awestruck? Scared? 
Enraptured?

I get the impression that some people believe that if 
they would ever experience pure, true worship, they 
would be completely caught up in a celestial 
experience.

But when you worship God, you encounter him. Most of 
what we call worship is our attempt to touch heaven. 
Some do it through prayers, others through idols and 
other symbols, some through songs, some through 
nature. However it's done, it is only a human attempt 
at reaching out to God.

Isaiah, on the other hand, encountered the real thing. 
With no effort of his own he was drawn into the throne 
room of God. He had the privilege of witnessing how 
worship is done in heaven.

But instead of running to join the heavenly creatures 
and joining in their song, instead of becoming 
completely transfixed on the sight before him, instead 
of focusing on the Maker of the Universe, he became 
very aware of himself: "...I am a man of unclean lips, 
and I live among a people of unclean lips."

Encountering this level of purity and truth resulted 
in his seeing himself and his people as they really 
were.

As we read the rest of the chapter, we see how this 
response resulted in his own preparation for his God-
given mission. The personal devastation that he felt 
was exactly what was needed for him to be all that God 
intended him to be.

You may think that you have never had an experience 
like this, but maybe you have! The nearer God comes to 
us, the more we become aware of our impurity and our 
sins. Perhaps God has sought to reveal himself to you, 
but you weren't willing to deal with those things in 
your life.

It seems to me that when we seek God, the first person 
we meet along the way is ourselves. We try to talk to 
God, when he prefers to talk to us about ourselves. 
When we worship, we may find ourselves plagued by 
mundane thoughts. All of sudden we think about the 
argument we had with our spouse, or how we yelled at 
our children, or how we cheated someone in business.

Those thoughts may not be distractions. They may 
actually be the voice of God. But we spend so much 
time fighting him, we never truly encounter him as we 
could. That's why we never get to the place of purity 
and usefulness that Isaiah did.

God may be speaking to you right now.