Summary: This sermon deals with what happens when we have an encounter with God !
Encountering God, Experiencing Change
Soren Kierkegaard tells a parable of a community of ducks waddling off to duck church to hear the duck preacher. The duck preacher spoke eloquently of how God had given the ducks wings with which to fly. With these wings there was nowhere the ducks could not go, there was no God-given task the ducks could not accomplish. With those wings they could soar into the presence of God himself. Shouts of "Amen" were quacked throughout the duck congregation. At the conclusion of the service, the ducks left, commenting on what a wonderful message they had heard -- and waddled back home.
I’m afraid that we are alot like the duck church. We come to church...we sing the songs........we hear the message.......but when the service is over........we leave the same way we came in. We leave unchanged ! We leave unaffected !
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. I believe that everytime we come to church........everytime we gather for worship that God has something for us. He has something he wants to do in our lives.........and if we don’t get it or experience it, then it’s our fault, and not his.
This morning, I pray that we will open up our hearts to God, and allow him to work in our lives. Right now in our hearts let us say.....not my will, but thine be done !
I want us to have an encounter with the living God........he wants to meet us here........he wants us to sense his presence, and his power. He doesn’t want us to leave here without a divine encounter !
In the text we have just read, Isaiah the great prophet was in need of such a divine encounter. King Uzziah who had served as King for 52 years in Judah had died. He was a Godly man........and one who was loved by the people. The nation had prospered under his leadership. And now after his death, it was a time of uncertainty. It was a down time. Isaiah, and Judah needed something from God. They needed a sign that he was still in control of the situation. I want us to notice Isaiah’s divine encounter with God, and how it occured, and what it achieved !
I. His Look Upward.
Certainly Isaiah felt down.......discouraged perhaps.......and it would have been easy for him to drop his head, and become disillusioned with God in general, but rather than looking down, Isaiah looked upward ! There is a great lesson in all of this for up..........when we are down........God is up ! Someone has said that "when mankind is at its worst, then God is at his best".
Isaiah discovers what the writer of Psalms 121 had previously discovered......"I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand."
a. The Lord Is Pre-eminent
If you see the Lord this morning, if you encounter God, you will see that he surpasses them all. King Uzziah had died, but God was alive. The throne in Judah was vacant, but the throne in heaven was occupied, and God revealed his Sovereignty in the temple !
Arturo Toscanini, the master symphony conductor. He had given a masterful performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. The audience was alive that night. When the master laid down his baton the response was spontaneous. They rose to their feet and applauded and applauded. There was an encore and then another. The roses were brought out. The orchestra bowed. Toscanini bowed. Finally, Toscanini hung his tired body over the music stand, rapped his baton and said, "Gentlemen Gentlemen!" The orchestra members leaned forward to listen. Was he angry? They couldn’t really tell. In a fiercely enunciated whisper he said, "Gentlemen, I am nothing." They sat there gasping at this genius of musical performance. Then he rapped the baton again and said, "Gentlemen! You are nothing." They had heard that for weeks at rehearsals. They sat there in silence before the great master. Then with atone of adoration he said, "Ah, but Beethoven, he is everything . . . Everything! Everything!"
Folks..........Jesus is everything ! Everything !!
b. The Lord Is Priestly
Two things in this vision which Isaiah saw reminds us of the priestly work of the Lord. First of all, he was seated.........Jesus got up from his seat.......descended to earth.......took upon himself the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of sinful man........he became obedient unto his death on the cross.........after his resurrection, he ascended back to heaven, where he is now seated at the right hand of God making intercessions for us !