Chapter 16 :: The Beginning of the End (First Glance)

Chapter 16 contains two of my favorite passages of scripture. The first starts at the bottom of page 224 or Isaiah 6. Isaiah, the prophet, sees a vision of the Lord that prompts him to fall and worship. Ever had one of those experiences where you are so overwhelmed by the presence of God that you literally feel week in the knees. It doesn’t happen to me often, but it’s very good when it does. His worship does not stop with just singing, in fact it’s not even clear that there is any singing. His worship is a heart-worship that moves him to confess his sin and proclaim the greatness of God, then to act…to move…to do something.

When was the last time that just being in the presence of God caused you to do something different than planned? Shouldn’t an encounter with the Holy God move us to more than just a warm fuzzy feeling? Shouldn’t it lead us to say, “Here am I. Send me!”

The second passage starts on page 228 (Isaiah 53) and includes some of the most beautiful and hopeful words of the entire Old Testament. Isaiah is describing the Messiah – the Savior for the people. 700 years before Jesus is born, Isaiah is speaking of Jesus…perfectly. These are some of the prophecies that Jesus fulfilled.

Have you read these passages before? How do they strike you? What stands out as you read words about someone who wouldn’t be born for 700 more years? Have you connected the dots?

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2 thoughts on “Chapter 16 :: The Beginning of the End (First Glance)

  1. I just wanted to comment on the question you asked: Shouldn’t an encounter with the Holy God move us to more than just a warm fuzzy feeling? Shouldn’t it lead us to say, “Here am I. Send me!”
    I don’t think that is always the case. In fact most of the time it is not the case for me, any more than being in the presence of my mother makes me feel I need to get up and do something. However, when I am in her presence, and she asks me to do something, I have no problem getting up and doing it. I welcome the opportunity to do what she needs doing. She loves me and I love her and I want to honor her as my mother. I think the same goes with our heavenly Father. Any activity should be motivated out of shared intimacy, however shared intimacy does not conversely require activity, it is fact is the activity.
    I also think it is the same with my children. Just because we are in each other’s presence doesn’t mean I am always expecting them to ‘do something’ to show their love for me. In truth, I would rather they spend the time with me; talk with me; share their thoughts with me. You can do a lot of things for someone, definitely demonstrating that you care (or maybe trying to earn their love?), but for me, and I think most people, you ascribe worth to them by being present with them, whether it is in an activity, or just shared conversation.

    While there are definitely tasks that need doing in this life and in Kingdom life, I think the real danger resides in thinking we have to do something. I think for most the reality is this: Activity for God, replaces intimacy with God. Show me the person that is always doing, and I am willing to bank money on the fact that they haven’t spent much time with God.

    Want a resource for that intimacy? I can think of none better than Brother Lawrence’s “Practice of the Presence of God” (written in 1666) Here is a link to the free PDF UTF MP3 ePub etc… file http://www.ccel.org/ccel/lawrence/practice

    • Thanks for the reply, Pete. While I agree that there are times in our life when just merely being in the presence of God is enough, like Mary, to say that is the rule and not the exception seems to discount much of what we read about encounters with God and with Jesus. In most cases where we read about Jesus spending time with someone, there is an “action” that followed…take up your mat and walk, go and sin no more, come and follow me. Zaccheus went and gave back to the people he had wronged and just the presence of Jesus wasn’t enough for the rich young ruler who walked away from God and did nothing. Throughout our reading of the Story, the Israelites worshiped but did nothing.

      Worshiping the perfect and holy God is different than my kids spending time with me. Their pursuit of life is to be like Jesus, not to be like me. Hopefully the two correlate from time to time, but they don’t worship me and are not arranging their life to be transformed into my image. I like this word picture: When I played baseball as a kid, my goal was to be like Johnny Bench – walk like him, throw like him, catch like him, hit like him and even wear #5 like him. If I had the chance to spend a day with Johnny bench, I would have gone straight home and started doing some of those same things. If Johnny Bench had been my dad and spent time with me everyday, that might have changed but if he was perfect, it would have increased even more.

      “Here am I. Send me!” is not Isaiah longing to be approved by God. It’s him responding to the holiness and awe of God. Everything in our DNA wants to be like him. When we worship him, there is something in us that is found when we are transformed into his likeness. Anyone can come and just sit in his presence, but to taste the true intimacy with Him involves bearing our all, recognizing who we are and who he is and allowing him to adjust us accordingly…we just respond. True worship is our response, not just in what we say, but the way we live. To mostly do nothing, seems to downplay the greatness of the one we worship.

      All of that said, there are times when I believe God says to sit and listen, watch and enjoy and those can be very sweet times for us.

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