Meeting & Representing a Holy God – 06.08.14
Isaiah 6:1-10 (ESV)
Listen to the sermon here.
What does it mean to be sued (other than lots of trouble)? If prophets were like Covenant attorneys, suing God’s people for breach of contract, what does that tell us about 1) God? and 2) us?
GOD’S HOLINESS REVEALED
Read Isaiah 6:1-5. This is a classic Bible passage where God’s holiness (His incomparability) is revealed. That God is incomparable requires that He reveals Himself! If He was totally like something created we could figure Him out on our own. So why can God’s holiness not be discovered (like some medical breakthrough or a new land)? And why can it not be demanded (like He owes it to us to show us what He’s like)?
Clearly as Isaiah saw the LORD in a vision, God was highly exalted yet how was this also overwhelming? Some of the terms used to translate the word Isaiah uses about himself in v. 5 are “lost,” “undone,” or even “shattered.” Why do you think this is strange? And why would this make sense? How does meeting the Living God completely re-boot Isaiah’s life? Has your life ever been similarly “re-booted”?
GUILT & ATONEMENT
Read Isaiah 6:5-7. Even where we have violated God’s holiness, and God’s judgment upon our guilt is just, with the LORD there is forgiveness. In v. 5, what was Isaiah basically doing? Read 1 John 1:9. What is God’s disposition toward people who go on record against themselves in His Presence?
In vv. 6-7, fire from the altar may not be too clear but what is clear about what God was doing through the angel? Why was this inexpressibly good news (compared to v. 5)? In the early 1800’s Horatius Bonar was a Scottish pastor and poet. This is one hymn he wrote dealing with how God’s just judgment reveals both our guilt and His Grace:
Upon A Life I Have Not Lived
Upon a life I have not lived,
Upon a death I did not die,
Another’s life; Another’s death,
I stake my whole eternity.
Not on the tears which I have shed,
Not on the sorrows I have known,
Another’s tears; Another’s griefs
On these I rest, on these alone.
O Jesus, Son of God, I build on
What Thy cross has done for me
There both my life and death I read
My guilt, and pardon there I see.
Lord, I believe; O deal with me,
As one who has Thy Word believed!
I take the gift, Lord, look on me,
As one who has Thy gift received.
How have you lived as if God is replaceable by you, your possessions, your loved ones, or almost anything? Confess your arrogance to Jesus agreeing with Him that to do so is to insult Him as well as to be a fool.
THE HOLY COMMISSION
Read Isaiah 6:8-10. What does it mean to be commissioned to represent a God who saves? And what does it imply about being commissioned to speak to a people who don’t want to change their ways?
Clearly from v. 8, Isaiah was highly motivated – he was a forgiven man! So how does seeing the LORD’s worth affect your eagerness to join in His mission? Yet God told him that many if not most would refuse to respond, vv. 9-10. Even if that is tragically sad, why is that not surprising?
Read 2 Cor. 4:3-4 & 6. By His surpassing value, why is Jesus worth talking about even if most people think you’re an idiot? There is the pervasive danger of being hardened in unbelief; still, there is a possibility of turning, 2 Cor. 4:6. So with whom do you need courage? And with whom do you need hope?
- Worship the LORD for His holiness – for His surpassing worth – that there is no other Creator, Owner, Judge or Savior. Praise Him, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit that He truly unparalleled by anyone or anything.
- How have you lived as if God is replaceable by you, your possessions, your loved ones, or almost anything?
- Confess your arrogance to Jesus agreeing with Him that to do so is to insult Him as well as to be a fool.
Read Romans 8:1-4. Give thanks to Jesus for His work to atone for your guilt. Thank Him for consuming all your sin so that by His punishment in your place, He promises to remove from you what would eternally kill you.
- Who do you know that fears God but they do not trust that with the Lord there is forgiveness? Ask Jesus to “send fire from His altar” as it were to them – that He would blot out their sin.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to give you resolve in His worth and courage to be His ambassador even if people around you don’t respond. Pray for words and hope He is able to give new life to those who are spiritually dead.