I am excited today to preach from a passage that has been stirring in my heart for some time now – it is marked in my Bible as something to draw my attention every time I turn to that page.
There seems to me to be a phenomenon that you can be doing and looking at one thing, while totally seeing another thing!
Perhaps you can remember doing something stupid or accidentally:
- Breaking a window
- Putting a ding in a car
- Perhaps spilling something on yours or someone else’s new and expensive clothes
And although in the natural looking at the event you somewhere in your head see:
- Someone response
- The bill you will need to pay
- The consequences and conversations required as a result
Perhaps you have bought someone a present and you are looking at the present – yet what you see is the face of the person you are going to give it to and their joy at receiving it!
What we are looking at is not always what we see!
Turn with me to Isaiah 6:1-8 and I want to talk about what do we see today?
Isaiah 6:1-4, 8 (NKJV)
1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. 2 Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!”
4 And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.
8 Also 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.”
We find Isaiah in a set of circumstances, “In the year that King Uzziah died…”
- It is the first words used to paint the picture of what is happening or has happened
This could be seen in a bunch of ways.
What Isaiah was looking at was a king – likely a cousin and friend who had passed away.
- King Uzziah had been a relatively good king. He was the son of a godly father and he also had initially followed God, bringing the country to power and prosperity. He defeated the Phillistines and raised a standing army of over 300,000 troops all with armour and weapons which was unusual.
- He had defended their city walls with special machinery (catapults – to hurl large stones and propel giant arrows (bolts later known).
- Sadly, he makes a mistake out of his own pride and disobeys God and ends up with leprosy as a result
- From there he sees out his days with that condition and dies of it
It is here this verse starts.
For Isaiah it could be a range of things:
- Sorrow to see another companion (some say his cousin – a godly king, die)
- I suppose fear, not knowing what his son will rule and be like
- Uncertainty for the nation and future
- Relief that the man he knew was no longer suffering
- Optimism – perhaps dreaming of where they could rise to as a powerful nation
Although he was looking at these things it is incredible what Isaiah sees!
The first thing to consider here is:
Despite what he is looking at…
He sees God!
It is unclear what Isaiah was feeling or looking at in the natural, however it is extremely clear what he was seeing in his spirit was God!
Of all the possible options he could be focusing on, that are happening around him and to him… he sees God!
Isaiah 6:1 (NKJV)
6 It was in the year King Uzziah died that I saw the Lord.
Are we looking for God in the midst of our lives?
What are we seeing?
- Do we just see COVID and fear?
- Do we just see restrictions?
- Do we just see our job / career and finances?
- Do we see prosperity or challenge?
- Do we see ourselves or others?
- Do we see our social media image or other’s opinions?
- Do we check our Facebook or Instagram likes more than what God likes?
- Do we see our bank balance or social status?
- Do we just see the past?
Here in the passage Isaiah gets a vision from God and it is of God!
This is key to all of us regardless of the times we find ourselves.
- In tough times it is easy to start looking at and seeing all the negativity, hurt and challenges
- In amazing times, it is easy to start looking at and seeing our own success and all the trappings of life
- In the average or day to day of life it is easy to see just the daily grind, the ceilings of our life, the problems, or perhaps just looking for a way out or some form of comfortable
But what is needed is our eyes to be fixed firmly on God Himself
- Who He is
- His promises
- His Word and instructions
So, do we see God regardless of what we are looking at or facing?
I feel like this is why the scriptures give such clear instructions on:
- Church and fellowship
- Praise and Worship
Because these things help us to see God and redirect our natural and human tendency to look at everything else.
But even if we do see God, how do we see Him?
Do we see God, high and lifted up?
It is one thing to see God, but how we see Him?
This is what originally got my attention in the passage is that Isaiah sees God high and lifted up seated on a throne!
I know in my life that just like there is a tendency to see everything but God, it’s also easy to see God in light of my circumstances, not my circumstances in light of God.
There is a huge difference!
It is tempting to see God as:
- Indifferent – because we don’t feel like He is answering us
- Powerless – because the circumstance seems to be winning
- Judgmental – because we, others or the devil keep reminding us of our mistakes
- In everyone else’s life – but not ours – when life is not happening as we thought
- A philosophy or good moral idea – because we are not seeing what we feel is the miraculous we are believing for, so we break Him down to the level of our experience
But when we look at this broken and messed up world in order to draw conclusions of God, we will always end up being at the mercy of what is happening around us!
It would be like taking a product, car, house, piece of machinery and then a person leaving it in disrepair, un-serviced, mis-used or broken and then us seeing that and drawing conclusions on the manufacturer.
That would be crazy. When it left the manufacturer, it was good and so the dis-repair, brokenness, faults are therefore reveals how the owner has treated it, and therefore them, not the manufacturer!
So, in our lives, we must see the Lord for who He is, as it states in the scriptures then we can correctly judge and look at this life, our circumstances and surroundings.
Worship is so powerful because it puts God in His rightful place and then the rest of life finds it’s rightful place!
David talks about this in Psalm 73:1-5,13-28 (NIV)
1 Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. 2 But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. 3 For I envied the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. 4 They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. 5 They are free from common human burdens; they are not plagued by human ills.
13 Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure and have washed my hands in innocence. 14 All day long I have been afflicted, and every morning brings new punishments.
That is how he is feeling – what he is looking at.
15 If I had spoken out like that, I would have betrayed your children. 16 When I tried to understand all this, it troubled me deeply 17 till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny. 21 When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, 22 I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you.
23 Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. 24 You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. 25 Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. 26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. 27 Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you. 28 But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.
It is such a human and easy way to feel and think… and that is okay, but we just can’t stay there!
We all feel overwhelmed at times, uncertain, face fears, doubts, have questions, that is normal, but at that point we need to get into the sanctuary of God.
When we choose to worship, to re-align, focus on God’s word and promises, we rise above being a victim like the enemy, the devil, intends!
Because when we see Him high and lifted up, He is bigger than the problem, not the other way around.
The other thing I think is important is: He is seated on the throne.
- Not pacing around nervous
- Not desperately emailing angels with new orders
- Not running around trying to fix everything
- Not scrolling through the news with a frown
A King sits on a Throne – because He is in charge! Our God sits on the throne – He is in charge – not what we are looking.
The word ‘sitting – OKJ / seated NKJV’ means remain, settle dwell.
I tell you it is a game-changer when we begin to choose what we will see.
I want to be clear on this and make a distinction. I am not saying keep our eyes on what God can do for us – but who He is!
- King of Kings – therefore situations are subject to Him
- Eternal – above and surpassing this life and earth
- All knowing – His ways go above earthly ways
- Ever present – never leaves us nor forsakes us
If all we ever do is look at what God can do for us, then we are still seeing ourselves at the centre rather than God at the centre .
Worship is not about us, but about Him and that is why it is so powerful!
Another point of note is that this is happening in the Spirit!
In order to do this, we must ask God to teach us to see with our spirit.
2 Kings 6:14-17 (NKJV) (ELISHA)
13 “Go, find out where he is,” the king ordered, “so I can send men and capture him.” The report came back: “He is in Dothan.” 14 Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city. 15 When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked. 16 “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17 And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
I am talking today about God encounters!
- Times in His presence
- Times He lights up His word
- Times we choose to stop and listen
- Times we choose to obey regardless of what we feel or see
I want to pray, for God encounters in people’s lives today.
And what I want to close with today is what happens when we see the Lord high and lifted up – seated on a throne.
- It fills us with the faith instead of draw back in fear or doubt
- We can step up to the plate and say God – send me!
In Isaiah 6 after Isaiah sees God, God then speaks of a mission that needed someone to go… and Isaiah volunteers!
The mission wasn’t pretty – it was hard, filled with challenge and opposition, yet Isaiah could see God and that was enough to say “send me!”
Church, is our prayer “send me”?
Do we look at tough times and situations and hide, avoid, pray for deliverance or step up in faith and say – send me!
- In our workplace when was the last time we considered a tough situation an opportunity for God to shine through us?
- In our community are believers out running around in fear like everyone else or standing up saying God send me?
- Do we come up against opposition and look for a way out, or stand up in faith and say God send me through?
- In our families is there enough of a God encounter in our spirit to say God send me?
I want to pray today that we, like Isaiah, would see God and that it would cause our hearts to rise in faith and say to God – send me!
You might be watching and you have put off the call of God on your life or some faith step, but what is needed is to seek God, see Him and finally say God send me I will go!
The whole of chapter 6 is a God encounter that Isaiah has and it changed his life.
Suggestions for discussion
- Discuss the statement: what we are looking at is not always what we see!
- Are you looking to God and not to your circumstances?
- We need to ask God to teach you to see with your spirit, can you do this?