Sermon on Isaiah 6 And Luke 7What Is Your Why?: Worship

March 15, 2020

The Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 6:1-3

A Vision of God in the Temple

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple.

2Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew.

3And one called to another and said:
‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory.’

Matthew 4:1-11
The Temptation of Jesus
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. 3The tempter came and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.’ 4But he answered, ‘It is written, “One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” ’

5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6saying to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written,
“He will command his angels concerning you”,
   and “On their hands they will bear you up,
so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.” ’
7Jesus said to him, ‘Again it is written, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” ’

8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; 9and he said to him, ‘All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.’ 10Jesus said to him, ‘Away with you, Satan! for it is written,
“Worship the Lord your God,
   and serve only him.” ’
11Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him.

Isaiah saw the Lord in a vison in the year that King Uzziah died.  He saw God’s glory.

I remember when I was a 7th grader my teacher, Pocahontas Jones, took some chemical, tungsten, magnesium, who remembers, but she took it in a pair of tongs and passed it over the Bunsen burner and the heat made the molecules of the tungsten or magnesium so jumbled up that the lightning glow was so bright we all fell back and covered our eyes.  It was pure white.  God is an unquenchable fire.

And that is the God Isaiah saw… in the year King Uzziah died.  That was a rough year. King Uzziah as we read in 2 Chronicles, was for the most part a good king but by the end of his reign he defiled the temple and took it upon himself to do the work of  the priestly cast and burned incense in the temple. A big no no.  

Disgraced and dishonored Uzziah was stricken with leprosy.

By the year he died Israel – the kingdom north of Uzziah’s Judah – was being swallowed up by Assyria and Judah was next.  Ravaged also by an earthquake a few years earlier Jerusalem and all Judah were nowhere near recovery.

Uzziah served as King for 50 plus years and he did good in the eyes of the Lord, meaning, he was one of the good kings of Judah, minus that snafu in the temple.  And at the time of his death Judea was not exactly Disney Land. 

Yet, yet, in utter desperation Isaiah is caught up in this apparition.

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up.

Are you kidding me, the world is falling apart, going to hell in a handbasket and you have the nerve to tell me that God is still on his throne and he is still high and lofty? Someone asked me if I thought the world was coming to an end because of the coronavirus.

And you have the nerve to tell me God is still large and in charge. That is exactly what I am telling you, and I will add this:

and the hem of his robe filled the temple. 2Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. 3And one called to another and said:
‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory.’

Sisters and brothers, God is still on his throne today, as coronavirus, and the stock market and whatever else may tell you that God is not.

Isaiah saw it and fell and worshipped God. Seeing the radiance of God, and beholding the Shekinah Glory of Jesus Christ.

John tells us in Revelation chapter 1 in the best human way he could describe it a vision of Jesus Christ the ascended and risen and the one seated at the throne of God.

12 Then I turned to see whose voice it was that spoke to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, 13and in the midst of the lampstands I saw one like the Son of Man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash across his chest. 14His head and his hair were white as white wool, white as snow; his eyes were like a flame of fire, 15his feet were like burnished bronze, refined as in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of many waters. 16In his right hand he held seven stars, and from his mouth came a sharp, two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining with full force.

17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead.

Isaiah adds,

4The pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called, and the house filled with smoke. 5And I said: ‘Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!’

And it is amazing that Isaiah and John are not evaporated in God’s presence, but the ultimate task was laid before them both – to be witnesses to God in the world, and they responded, here and I, send me.

That’s what you and I are called to do – to point others to God to help them know that God I still on the throne!

See, this is a picture of worship. Seeing God in his glory and beholding God and worshiping God in the truest sense of the word, in God’s awesomeness.

And yet we can be so reserved in our worship. Do we realize that as we come together, we come into the presence of the same God and Christ that Isaiah and John encountered?

Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble
Were you there when He rose up from the grave?
Were you there when He rose up from the grave?

Luke chapter 7 is one of my favorite pictures of worship in the Bible.

Now Jesus was invited by a Pharisees to share a meal with his friends and as they ate a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town heard that Jesus was eating at the Pharisees house and she brought an alabaster jar of perfume.

And as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and then she wiped them with her hair, kissing them and putting perfume on them.  What a costly and exotic gift – this incense! Not from her reserve but from her treasure.

When the Pharisees who invited Jesus said to himself, if this man we’re prophet he would know what kind of woman this is and that she is a sinner.

And Jesus answered him, Simon I have something to tell you, tell me teacher he said, and he tells a story of 2 men who owed money to another man. One owed a ton of money and the other a couple of bucks.

Neither of them had the money to pay him back so he canceled both their debts.

Now which one would love him more? And the pharisee said, I guess the man who had the bigger debt that was canceled.

Jesus replied you answered well Simon. Can you see this woman? I came into your house and you gave me no water for my feet, and she bathe my feet with her tears. You gave me no kiss, and she hasn’t stop kissing them.

She loves much because she has been forgiven much. Jesus said to her your sins are forgiven.

I love that picture. Because she gets it. She knows all the junk in her life that Jesus has forgiven her for. She understands. I have forgiven her all this stuff. He is the one to make all things new – and I don’t have to wait till I am dead to see it!

That’s the heart of worship. Acknowledging that we need a savior. That we’re not to beat ourselves up anymore because of our brokenness and sin but that we acknowledge that we have a savior.

That the patterns of destruction we once relied on are not going to ease the pain, but what will ease the pain is to look into the eyes of a savior who came to save you and not condemn you.

And when you do that, how can you stand or sit and not feel something stirring within you? I once was lost but now am found. Was blind but now I see.

This woman’s utter humility is the way she shows her love. She’s crazy about Jesus; she’s nuts about him.

So, let us ask ourselves who will be in the story. Are we that Pharisee or are we that woman?  

The Pharisee doesn’t see God on the throne. He doesn’t see his train filling the temple.  He just sees the brokenness around him with no hope for healing.

Uzziah blundered by lighting the incense in the temple but God came like a fire and the angels took that nugget of incense and touched Isaiah’s lips and cleansed him.

Do we throw up our hands and say I need you oh God I surrender all God you’re my savior God I’ll be like that woman that says I cannot believe this overwhelming love and this overwhelming grace that you have for me.

And when we see the glorious face of Jesus Christ we will be overwhelmed by his presence because of his grace, because of his loving acceptance for us. Will realize how valuable and how much worth we have because of his sacrifice for us that he would die for us.

What is your why?  Is it strong enough?  Your why has to be big enough or you will not succeed in accomplishing what you want in life.

That I may know Christ.  Not know about him, but to know him. To find him in prayer. To find him in his Word and to find him in surrender in worshipping him in abandon, not caring who is watching. Not worrying if you are dignified in the eyes of others. But coming back to the very heart of worship.