Summary: True Worship is where our ordinary reality gets baptized by God's Extreme Reality, it's where our true sinfulness is consciously recognized and God's Extravagant Grace is realized, and it's where God elicits our Exuberant Response to help Him reach others
Intro: It is a challenge to communicate from one culture or worldview to another. First of all, just trying to communicate ideas are tricky. In marketing this can be disastrous and cost thousands of dollars.
When Kentucky Fried Chicken broke into China, they thought their slogan would go over well- “Finger lickin’ good!” But it was translated as “We will eat your fingers off!” Pepsi Cola tried to hire an expensive marketing firm to make sure it didn’t make the same mistake. Their slogan “It brings good things to life” was translated, however, into “We bring your ancestors back from the grave!” In Germany, Clairol Hair products had a new curling iron model called the “Mist Stick” but in German, the word “mist” stands for “manure.” No girl wanted to use a manure stick for their hair. This problem is not limited to companies. The American Dairy Association tried to expand its market into South America. Its famous campaign with the milk mustache “Got milk?” was translated as “Are you lactating?” Finally, one more. You would think that translating something from English to English needs no help. That’s was a vacuum company from England thought when it tried to sell its very successful vacuum brand called Lux to America. But it flopped, because the English slogan was “Nothing sucks like a Lux!” You get the point.
Second, even facts do not always reveal the world of reality behind it. Steven Covey tells about a Sunday morning experience he had on a NY subway train. It was a quiet morning, some people were listening to music, reading the newspaper, even taking a short nap. But when the doors opened, a father with several young children came in and immediately disrupted the peace. They kids were loud and obnoxious, even trying to take the papers away from some people, climbing all over the seats. The father had sat down next to Steven Covey, looked dazed at the floor and seemed to be oblivious to the commotion he had brought in with him. Steven tried to be patient and wait as long as he could, but finally, his anger and irritation was too much. “Sir, he said, your children are bothering the other people on the train, can you try to control them?” The father looked up, confused as if he was seeing reality for the first time, “Yes, I guess you are right, I should do something. We just came from the hospital and their mother died one hour ago. I just feel totally lost and don’t know what to do, I guess they are having a hard time with it too.” In an instant, Steven’s feelings of resentment vanished and sympathy and compassion swept over him changing his attitude and behavior- “Oh! I’m terribly sorry, what can I do to help? Would you like to talk to me about it?” There was a complete paradigm shift, and it made all the difference in the world.
Keep these two things in mind – it’s very hard to explain one world to another and we often misjudge the true reality behind what you can see on front of you. This is the challenge before us as we open ourselves to meditate on God’s Holy Word this morning in Isaiah 6. How can Isaiah communicate accurately the incredible vision of God’s true reality to mere mortals?
The 6th chapter of Isaiah starts with Isaiah’s immediate, earthly reality- “In the year king Uzziah died” (Isaiah 6:1) The king is dead. Uzziah was one of the best kings that Judah ever had. He started at 16 years old and reigned for 52 years, and everything he did was wildly successful. He subdued all of Judah’s enemies, and exacted tribute from them. Economy was booming! He reformed the bureaucracy and organized the army. He even designed the soldier’s gear. He was a military engineer and created great catapults that threw arrows and large rocks in the case of a siege, which was a form of warfare that the rising empire of the Assyrians were very good at. In addition, he had many flocks and herds and oversaw fields and vineyards, he dug wells in the desert. The Bible specifically tells us “he loved the soil.” But most important of all, “He did what was right in the sight of the Lord.” ( 2 Chron 26:4).
Then success got to his head, literally, in the form of leprosy. You remember that story when he tried to burn incense in the temple, a role relegated only to priests? When they confronted him, he lashed out in anger and suddenly was struck with leprosy starting at his forehead. From then on, he was a leper in isolation for the last 16 years of his life. The Bible tells us that Isaiah had written a biography of him, “Now the rest of the acts of Uzziah, first to last, the prophet Isaiah, the son of Amoz, has written.” (2Ch 26:22NAS) Now biographers spend hours interviewing their subjects, then more hours researching everything they did. So you get the impression that these two knew each other well, perhaps were friends because Isaiah had royal blood. So, it may be that it’s not only the king but a close friend has died. Mourning and worried, Isaiah wanders with a heavy heart into the temple courts, the throne is empty, what will the future hold?