Friday, February 6, 2009

Does This Seem Unusual to You?

Last week in Sunday school the teacher was discussing Isaiah 6. He read the verse aloud and then asked something like this, "Has this ever happened to any of you?" I was about to answer when he continued right on with, "I mean, this is ISAIAH and there were ANGELS, and he had a VISION and GOD TALKED TO HIM." The tone of voice matched the emphasis here indicating that this was some kind of strange, unusual, and mystical experience. So of course everyone laughed (but me) and allowed him to proceed with the rhetoric (but me).

I said, "Yes, this happens to me all the time." (Crickets chirping, pins dropping, deer in headlights looks, etc.)

I continued to explain.

But first, let's all take a look at the verses that made jaws drop.

Isaiah 6:1-10 - "In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts. Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed."

Indeed at first glance this would seem to be very unique. But what are the principles behind it that should make this type of experience very common in the life of a believer?

Consider the reality of prayer. Where are you and who are you with at the time? According to passages such as Ephesians 2:6, "And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus," and Hebrews 4:16, "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need," we are immediately in the very presence of God in heaven.

Take a moment for that to sink in if you never realized it before. In prayer, we are at the throne with God. The Holy Spirit is there groaning alongside us (Romans 8:26). Jesus is there as our Great High Priest making intercession for us (Hebrews 7:24-25) Sometimes Satan is there too (Job 1:6).

Therefore, every time we go to prayer, boldly entering the heavenly throneroom, and sit with Jesus, it just doesn't get any more real than that. Of course your experience there will not be just like Isaiah's, but nevertheless you are there and God is talking to you. What else is going on? Let's go back to the passage and understand the principles.

Isaiah starts out with a vision. The holiness of the LORD is pronounced and Isaiah realizes there is some sin in his life to deal with. He repents. Then God speaks because it is only at this point that Isaiah is able to hear Him. Finally Isaiah responds and takes action.

Let's put this back on your side. Perhaps it goes something like this as it often does to me:

I start the day reading God's Word. Some sharp dagger pierces me and I see myself before the LORD in His holiness and I know I am convicted. Whether in a vision, or by an angel, or straight from the Word of God, such work of the Holy Spirit (today) is done by the hearing of the Word. My response is to repent and get right with God.

Now I am free to worship. Now my ears are free to hear. God speaks. I obey.

Doesn't this seem a little more normal to you now? Rejoice. Be free indeed. Be bold in prayer and in the truth. Enjoy the spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 1:3).

Copyright Lawrence J. Caldwell 2009

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