Summary: A sermon about God's forgiveness and call.
"God Calling: Isaiah"
Have you ever had such an intense experience--such a life changing event that you remember with nearly exact clarity where you were, what was happening in the world around you when it occurred?
When I made the decision to give my life to Jesus Christ I was just 18 years old.
It was just a couple days after Halloween, in November, 1986--the year of Chernoble, the year the Space Challenger blew up.
I was living in Santa Barbara, California and was walking down the sidewalk--looking at the cracks in the concrete--which I can still see clearly in my mind to this day.
It was just getting dark and I had just gotten off the city bus and was headed to my apartment.
I remember exactly what I was thinking.
And I'd been thinking about it, probably most of my life but it had become more and more intense over the preceding months, weeks and days.
Now it had come to a crescendo.
"Am I going to follow Satan or am I going to follow Jesus?"
"Am I going to do the right thing with my life or am I going to live for self?"
"Am I going to go to heaven or hell?"
"Am I going to change my life or go down the same road I've been going?"
"In the year of King Uzziah's death I saw the Lord," writes Isaiah in our Scripture passage for this morning.
"In the year of King Uzziah's death..."
Now why is that significant that Isaiah included that there?
One reason it is significant is because it puts Isaiah's call from God in a historical context.
King Uzziah died in 742 B.C.
So, when Isaiah says, "In the year of King Uzziah's death, I saw the Lord..." Isaiah is telling us that the experience he is about to tell us about was so intense, so important to his life that he remembers exactly when it happened, where he was, everything about it!!!
And that's because it was the pivotal point that changed his life for good!!!
When I made the decision to give my entire life over to Jesus Christ, forsaking all else--it changed my life forever!!!!
I was never the same again, even though, at times, I wanted and even tried to go back, and take back what I did.
But I couldn't and thank God it wasn't possible.
Giving my life to the Lord was the single biggest decision, the single most important thing I have ever done, and will ever do.
It is the hinge upon the history of my entire life.
What Isaiah recorded in chapter 6:1-8 is the hinge upon which the door to his life moved from that point on!!!
And it was intense, and I don't think he expected it one bit.
He had gone to the Temple.
He had gone to worship.
But he had not gone expecting to see what he saw.
And what he saw is "the Lord sitting on a high and exalted throne, [with] the edges of his robe filling the Temple."
And that's not all.
He saw, what he describes as "winged creatures" stationed around God.
And they flew about shouting to each other, saying: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of heavenly forces!
All the earth is filled with God's glory!!!"
And as the doorframe shook at the sound of their shouting, and as the Temple filled with smoke Isaiah just stood there, mouth open wide and every sin, every offense, every "unholy thing" he had ever done, thought, felt, experienced came to him in complete clarity in that split second as he stood in the presence of the Lord.
There are over 7 billion people on earth.
And for most every one of us, our biggest fear in life is for our friends and family to know the secret sins we all struggle with: just how self-centered and broken we are.
Because we are afraid that they couldn't possibly love us or even like us anymore if they knew everything about us...
...and I mean EVERYTHING!!!
So, what about God?
This is, I believe, the kind of thing that Isaiah was facing "In the year of King Uzziah's death, when he saw "the Lord" up close and personal "sitting on a high and exalted throne."
Isaiah was nearly struck dead with fright at the realization of it: "Mourn for me," he cried, "I'm ruined!
I'm a man with unclean lips, and I live among a people with unclean lips.
Yet I have seen the king, the Lord of heavenly forces!"
What would you do?
What would you think?
The phrase: "unclean lips" means sinfulness and defilement in contrast to the holiness of God.
I mean, God is holy; we are not.