Here Am I Send Me!
Sunday, November 15, 2020
Pastor Deb Kielsmeier
In the year King Uzziah died, the people of Judah had their world upended.
In the year King Uzziah died, the people were anxious, on edge. Nobody knew what the future held.
You see, King Uzziah was the only king most of the people ever knew. He began his reign at age 16 and reigned 52 years. Second Chronicles states that he “did what was right in the eyes of Yahweh” (2 Chronicles 26:3-4.) He was a good king. Strong and competent. He built up the army, conquered enemies, erected cities, developed agriculture and water systems – and the people were safe and prospered.
Unfortunately, all this success went to his head. Toward the end of his reign King Uzziah became arrogant and corrupt. Soon moral and ethical standards in the land slipped – idolatry surged and outside nations threatened.
And now, the king was dead. And as we well know, times of transition in political leadership can be unsettling and anxiety producing.
It is into this context that we find the young prophet Isaiah in the temple. Undoubtedly, Isaiah was concerned about the future of the kingdom – and anxious about Judah’s empty throne when he sought the Lord that day.
IN the year King Uzziah died, I SAW Lord – sitting on a throne, high and lifted up and his train filled the temple.
Isaiah saw the Lord, and it blew his mind! The King of Kings and Lord of Lords is seated upon a throne that soared into the heavens. Isaiah can barely see past the edge of Yahweh’s robe which fills up the entire temple.
Seraphs hovered over the throne of God. A seraph is a Hebrew word that means a burning one. So, these towering angelic beings were blazing like the sun. They are flying with two wings, covering their eyes with two wings (lest they see God’s face and die) and, covering their feet with two wings. They called out to one another “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” The temple shook and was filled with smoke with the sound of their voices.
Isaiah. Was. Terrified!
In the light of God’s holiness, his own sin was glaring. “Woe is me!” He cried. “I am lost – undone – ruined. For I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips!” Yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”
Yahweh had told Moses on Mt. Sinai that a man could not look upon the face of God and live. But Isaiah had seen God. He probably thought we was about to be incinerated.
A seraph went to the altar fire and took out a live coal with tongs and touched Isaiah’s mouth with it, saying, “Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed, and your sin is blotted out.” This holy sovereign so desired a relationship with Isaiah, that despite the vast chasm between God’s purity and Isaiah’s sinful condition – a way was made. A bridge was built. And Isaiah’s sin and guilt were blotted out. He who was unholy is made pure as snow – his sin is gone – redeemed by God’s grace alone.
Isaiah’s encounter with God is one of the greatest in all Scripture. Chances are pretty good that we will not encounter God with such terrifying wonder. It THAT is a good thing, because I think I would have a massive heart attack on the spot.
But! Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can taste a bit of God’s glory. Have you ever beheld the wonder of God’s beauty? Have you ever sensed the presence of our living God?
It is so interesting to ask people how they have sensed God’s presence in their lives.
Sometimes it is in a moment quiet holiness. Often it is in the stunning beauty and majesty of nature. Some have sensed they are standing on sacred ground when a newborn takes their first breath, or when a dear one breathes their last. Perhaps you have sensed the divine through the exquisite beauty of a symphony, a blazing sunset over a mountain range, or the detailed beauty of the tiniest flower. Some marvel at physics, mathematics or the working and healing of the human body. I am awed by the Milky Way spanning the sky on a clear night –- knowing that trillions – yes, TRILLIONS – of galaxies exist beyond our own. Yet all this is only a hint of a far greater glory. A glory we cannot even imagine in our wildest dreams.
I Corinthians 2:9: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love him. We cannot even imagine how beautiful. How powerful. How loving. How holy. or how good our God is. We can’t even dream of the things that he has prepared for us.
And when we encounter the living God – through the Spirit’s power. We, like Isaiah, are changed. We begin to see who we are in light of God’s holiness. And we recognize the sin in our lives that so easily entangles us.
But here’s the good news. God doesn’t leave us there- but extends grace and forgiveness that we might be cleansed and made holy. Although God is majestic, and vast beyond comprehension, this same God desires to be known by us, intimately. It is simply mind-blowing. We can meet God personally, just as we are fully known.
But God doesn’t stop there. No, God wants to PARTNER with you. You who are loved and redeemed. You who bear his image. God’s wants to work through you. Look at your hands. God wants to work through your hands, your words, and your life to further the eternal work of redemption and grace in this world. That is God’s plan. And it involves you.
God then asks the heavenly council, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Isaiah, who has seen the glory and power of God, Isaiah who been made whole and holy through God’s grace, Isaiah who can’t see the future, but knows WHO is in control, jumps in with both feet. “Here I am Lord, send me.” Here I am. Send me.
How about you? God is asking – right now. Today. “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?”
Will you join Isaiah in responding? Here I am Lord, Send me. Send me. Amen.