Summary: To help us understand some important ingredients to worship that God will accept.
I SAW THE LORD
Verse 1 says, “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.”
Do you know about King Uzziah? He was just sixteen years old when he became King in Judah. His father, Amaziah, who was King before him, was brutally murdered by some of the people of Jerusalem.
Uzziah, the son of Amaziah, reigned 52 years in Jerusalem. It is said of Uzziah that as long as he sought the Lord, God made him prosper,” (2 Chronicles 26:5). He was a great military leader, and a fine builder. But when his kingdom prospered, his heart transgressed against the Lord, and his pride led him to usurp the role of Azariah the high priest. When Uzziah was confronted about his arrogance, he became so furious he threw a censer full of burning incense at the high priest.
Immediately, leprosy broke out on the King’s forehead. He remained a leper until the day he died.
This is the Uzziah whose death is mentioned in our text today. It says that it was in the year that King Uzziah died that Isaiah went to the temple to worship. This was not the day of Uzzian’s death, but sometime afterwards. The public period of mourning had ended. None of the people were still coming to the temple to mourn the loss of King Uzziah, except Isaiah.
Isaiah was a court prophet, meaning he lived in the court of the King, ate at the King’s table, and lived on the King’s money. He had been intimately aware of Uzziah’s successes and his failures. He had often counseled Uzziah as to what God expected. This counsel had often fallen on deaf ears.
Now, alone in his grief, Isaiah came once again to the temple to worship and pray. He had been there many times since the death of King Uzziah. Time after time he came. Nothing happened! He came, and he went back home as broken-hearted as when he entered the sanctuary.
Many of us have come to the sanctuary of God feeling like Isaiah. We have come broken-hearted, and we have gone home the same. A broken-hearted person is one who is grieving over something lost. Perhaps we have lost a parent, a spouse, a child, a friend. It could be the loss of a job, maybe financial disaster, or even the loss of a dream that never came true.
We come to church, put on our religious face, and pretend we are not broken-hearted, but beneath the pretense, we are in painful grief.
Maybe we are not broken-hearted. We might have a disillusioned heart. We thought being a Christian would be easy, full of sunshine and flowers, with everything going our way. But, life brought many disappointments, and people did not always treat us well. Even those at church may seem unconcerned about our troubles. Maybe we even feel that God has let us down. Are there any of you here today who have a disillusioned heart?
Or, you might be here today with an empty heart. You have promised God so many things, but you have not kept those promises. You have tried so many times to overcome the things in your life that keep defeating you. You feel like a failure. Slowly, over time, your heart became empty, and now you are weary of even trying anymore. Is this you?
Then there are those here today with a divided heart. You love God, but something is pulling you away. The cry of your own flesh to be fed and satisfied has you under great pressure. You want to be better, to do better, but your heart is divided, half in and half out. How about you? Do you have a divided heart?
There could be a million things going on inside you today. And, like Isaiah, you have been to church time after time hoping each time that it would be the day that something would happen to change your circumstances, that would fill you with joy and hope, and that would free you from the pain and emptiness you feel. You come, and you come, but you go home just as you came.
So it was for Isaiah. He was broken-hearted for more than one reason. He was very sad that the King had died. They were close companions. But, even more so, Isaiah knew how far below his potential the King had lived. He never became what he could have become, and he died a sad and defeated man. Isaiah grieved for the King‘s loss.
But, something was about to change! This time, Isaiah’s world would be turned upside down. This time, when Isaiah came to the temple to worship, he saw the Lord sitting on a throne. Have you ever come to church and seen the Lord sitting on a throne? No? Maybe that is why worship is often so ineffective! When we come to church, we see the choir, the musicians, the pastor, and the people. It is good to see them. They are dear to us. But, when will we see the Lord sitting on a throne? It is not enough for someone else to see Him! We must see Him with our own eyes!