If you were a member of a royal family, would you preach for sixty years to people who didn't want to listen? If you came from such high social standing, would you be willing to make a point on God's behalf, by walking around for three of those years… completely naked?
Isaiah did just that. What could possibly motivate a man to be so devoted to God? What could possibly motivate a man to put so much trust in God?
In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord
sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe
filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings:
with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with
flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of
hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” And the foundations of the
thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled
And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”
Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”
And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” (Isaiah 6:1–8 ESV)
Isaiah saw the Lord in all of His glory. And everything was suddenly different. He saw just how big God was, and the greatness of God put everything else in perspective—including Isaiah's own sin.
If you can just see how big God is, the greatness of God will put everything in perspective for you as well. Let me illustrate:
I had between 200 and 250 kids in my high school graduating class—certainly not a large school by today's standards. The yearbook granted celebrity status to a number of the seniors for being “Most Likely to Succeed,” “Most Athletic,” and for several other categories. I was voted in on one of these categories—probably having something to do with music or talent… I can't remember. In other words, I was a big duck in a small pond when it came to music.
Just like any other young musician, I had some technical issues that were keeping me from becoming a better player. And since I wanted to be a professional trombonist in a major symphony orchestra, I ended up in Chicago—intent on studying with one of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's brass players.
I knew I was moving from a small pond to a big pond, but I didn't know just how big this pond really was until I persuaded the Orchestra's tuba player to take me on as a student. If you will permit me to be a name‐dropper, his name was Arnold Jacobs—who was to brass players what Butch Harmon is to professional golfers.
When I first met with Mr. Jacobs, I felt somewhat like Isaiah must have felt when encountering the glory of the Lord. In the presence of maybe the world's best brass teacher, I wasn't near the player I thought I was. My technical deficiencies went from “I need a little work” to “I need a hole to crawl into.” I realized that I was in worse shape than I thought I was, and this was probably the only man who could fix me.
When you see just how big God is, you will realize that you are in worse shape than you thought you were. And you will understand that God is the only one who can fix you. You won't be playing around with your “technical deficiencies” as if you can somehow fix them yourself over time. You will throw them on God… with full confidence in His promises… with full confidence in His “Yes!”
Notice how quickly Isaiah went from looking for a hole, to raising his hand. How could he go in one moment, thinking he was going to die because of the glory of the Lord, to the next moment, thinking he could somehow help this glorious Lord? God fixed him. God set him free.
This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. (1 John 3:19–22 NIV)
As long as God doesn't seem to be a whole lot bigger than your problems, then it will be difficult to have much confidence in His “Yes!” Does that make sense? When the battle seems too close to call, you will be tempted to pitch in with some of your own effort. And you will just muck things up, in the process.
But when you see God as Isaiah saw Him, you won't even be tempted to take matters into your own hands. When you see God anywhere close to as big as He is, nothing will appear to be any match for Him.
What if Isaiah, instead of responding as he did, told God: “Lord, You are absolutely glorious, but I need to go back home and do a little work on myself before I could ever expect to help You.” Seems ridiculous, doesn't it, and yet we do it all the time. It's like we're saying to God, “I think You need a little help in backing up Your ‘Yes!’”
Our job is not to help God with His “Yes!” To even try to help Him is an admission on our part that we're not sure He can get the job done on His own. And this is a set‐up for failure.
Our job is to take the promises of God and “act” on them with complete confidence in His ability to deliver as promised.
If any of God's promises are just not working for you, take some time today to go over them in your mind. And bring your thoughts with you tomorrow as we finish up this series.
Have a good day,