The Upward Look, by Jon Forrest
When God Shows Up

On November 22, 1963 I was in the second grade at Fletcher, Oklahoma Elementary School. We had just complete recess and were returning to our classroom. It was strange because the speaker that was generally used for announcements or calls from the office was playing a news broadcast from a radio. Through the static eventually we realized that something profound had happened. The President of the United States of America, John Fitzgerald Kennedy had been assassinated. As a seven-year-old child, I was uncertain as to what this meant to our nation and life as we knew it. I was so shaken by the news that I could not concentrate on my class work. I feared that the world, as I knew it, had come to an end. What happened nationally over the following week or so, did nothing to alleviate those fears. On television, all regular broadcasts were canceled. This occurred on ALL THREE NETWORKS. Instead, either somber or patriotic music would be played with patriotic images or video of the President’s casket lying in state or funeral related activities. I was too young to fully understand how the constitution worked with transition of leadership, so it caused me to be shaken deeply and concerned. Such moments can leave a person and a country in a deep funk and fear.

In Isaiah 6, the Prophet approaches the temple for a special time of worship. The text begins by telling us the occasion. It was the year King Uzziah had died. This was one of the rare godly kings of Judah (the Southern kingdom) and he had reigned 52 years. The whole nation had to be in great turmoil. Who would be next? Would their enemies take advantage and attack? What would the next King be like? Would he be godly like Uzziah and his father or would this one turn against God and take them down a dark road of disaster? Had the world as they knew it fallen apart?

Isaiah’s response to this tremendous national tragedy was to approach God through prayer and worship. However, as he approached the Temple on this austere occasion, he had no idea what he would find. This was not going to be your “run of the mill” church service. God would show up in a powerful way.  When you read the text from Isaiah 6:1 and following you find the Lord seated on his throne all the way up into the heavens. In fact, he would enter a place of worship that was much larger on the inside than on the outside. Terrifying multiple winged angelic creatures called seraphim were flying around and the Lord’s thunderous voice would call out to Isaiah calling him to a unique ministry. There would be a vast altar with burning coals before him. The fierce seraphim would cry out to one another in worship to the Lord powerful words of praise,

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”

Isaiah would be so blown away that he would cry out in confession of being unworthy to even be there. God would calm Isaiah’s fears and lead him to a confession of faith and ultimately to a personal response to be God’s man in leading calling people to repentance and devotion to the Lord.

His whole life would be transformed in this worship experience. Friends, when we approach God in full humility and awe to truly worship Him, we will experience Him and his glory in ways like we never could expect. Often times people go to church with little or no expectation of God really showing up. Some think that the quality of the music or the dynamic speaking ability of the pastor are what will dictate how great or poor the worship experience would be made. What really makes for a powerful worship experience is the expectation and desire of the worshipper to meet and experience God and His presence. Come seeking God’s transforming power in your life. When Isaiah left the worship time with God, he was different. He had linked to God’s forgiveness and had made a life-changing commitment that would guide him the rest of his life.

What do you expect when you go to worship the Lord? Do you expect a nice religious feeling or do you truly expect God to show up in a way that you will leave the service with you inside your heart?
This Sunday we will look at Isaiah 6:1-8 and share a message titled “Step up to the Plate!” Come and experience God like never before.

Worshipping Him with you,

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