Tuesday, January 18, 2011

“The Year the King Died”

 “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple.  Above him were seraphs…and they called to one another, “Holy holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.  At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook, and the temple was filled with smoke.  Woe to me! I cried. I am ruined!” (Isa. 6:1-5)

As a new year emerges upon us we often ponder the past year and reflect over the highlights and low points of the year.  We resolve to make changes that will potentially improve our lives. Occasionally however, things happen that change us and the course of our life forever. Things so profound that we can never go back to who we use to be; we can never again do what we use to do.

Such was the case for the prophet Isaiah, for in the year the King died he “saw the Lord.”  His life was never the same, because “He” was never the same!  His entire life forever altered by this momentary encounter. 

As this New Year dawns I pray that you will join me and thousands of others who are praying, fasting, and seeking God’s face in this New Year; seeking God for direction, seeking God for a fresh encounter of His glory and presence to move among us and upon us.  I pray that our hunger for God presence will rise to new levels, and that the Spiritual springs of the deep will break forth within us, flooding us over with the Holy Spirit; just as the water of Noah’s day broke forth and cover the face of the entire earth. 

I have been revisiting a study I did a while back on hungering for God, seeking His face, and examining the Biblical accounts of people’s passionate pursuit of God.  As part of this study I came to read Isaiah’s encounter with the Lord found here in Isaiah 6.  There are some amazing analogies hidden here that will help us in our pursuit to see God’s face and to be filled with His glory!  Isaiah notes, “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple.”  In the year that the King “died” Isaiah for the first time, was able to truly “see” the Lord.  Why was that? 

A king represents power and authority.  When a king dies it leaves a void that must be filled by something, by someone, for without an authority structure men feels lost and vulnerable, like a ship without a rudder or sail lost at sea, tossed aimlessly by the whims of the wind.  Men must have a power and authority structure of some sort or chaos will soon erupt.  An existing authority figure must be removed before a new authority can replace it.  The old king must die before a new king can take his place.  In the void left when King Uzziah died, perhaps Isaiah heart looking for stability, was turned upward where he found his true authority and King, seated exalted upon His throne.  God had always been enthroned there, but Isaiah had not been able to fully see Him until now.  Isaiah may have trusted in and exalted his earthly king too much, but in the void left by his absence maybe Isaiah began to seek God’s direction, seek God’s face, and seek God’s glory; which eventually lead him to “see the Lord.”

Moses too was an avid God chaser.  When the Israelites cowered away, standing at a distance from the presence of God, the Word says that, “Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was.” (Ex.20:21)  In Exodus 33, we find Moses seeking and begging God, “I beseech thee, show me thy glory.”  To which God replies “You cannot see my face; for no one may see me and live.”  In essence what God is saying is, “if you want to see my face, you are going to have to die.”  Yet over and over in the scriptures God exhorts us saying, “Seek my face.”  Does God intend we strive after an unattainable goal, or is he bent on trying to kill us???  The latter is the case, but it is not physical death He is after, but the surrender of our souls, (our mind, will, and emotions) the whole of our being relinquished over to His will.   For Jesus clearly states in Luke 9:23-24, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.  For whosoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whosoever loses his life for me will save it.” 

So how does all this relate to our scripture about Isaiah and our desire to see the Lord and experience His glory?  Well let me set up the analogy here.  In Revelation 1:6, as well as other places though out scripture, believers are referred to as “kings.”  In the book of Corinthians our body is referred to as the “temple” of God, (for the Spirit dwells there).  In Ezekiel 3:5, as well as other places, the Word says the “glory” of the Lord “filled” the temple, thus the train” of the robe that filled the temple in Isaiah’s encounter is the “glory of God.”  So with that background, let’s read the verse again, the analogy here becomes quite simple.  “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple.”  (With the king being us) In the year that the king died, (died to self rule and authority, surrendering the throne over to the true King) the way is opened for us to See the Lord and to see the temple (our bodies) filled with God’s glory.   In other words, when we die to self rule, and put God on the throne of our life where He belongs, that opens the door for us to see God’s face and to be filled with His glory.  In the year the king died, I saw the Lord…and the train of His robe filled the temple.

Do we truly want to see God, experience his presence, and be filled with His glory?  If so it is time we get diligent about seeking God’s face and putting to death “our” king, so that the “King of Glory may come in.”  

“Such is the generation of those who seek Him, who seek your face, O God of Jacob.  Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.  Who is this King of glory?  The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.” (Pm. 24:6-8)