Close Encounters Of The Divine Kind


When was the last time you were violently afraid of something? When was the last time you were stricken with such panic that you literally trembled with fear? Or let me ask another question. Have you ever quivered with fear as you sat down to read your Bible? What about when you pray? Have you ever gotten queasy in the stomach before praying? If you're like me, this probably doesn't happen too often. In fact, I often come to God with a cavalier, almost flippant attitude. I allow myself to be easily distracted from scripture and I pray weak, insipid prayers. It's safe to say that there's not a lot of reverence going on.

That's why Isaiah 6:1-7 is so gripping to me. Isaiah describes an experience that is totally foreign to most Christians, including myself. Listen to his words:
In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!" And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: "Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!"
Use your sanctified imagination to picture what is happening in this passage. Isaiah sees the Lord sitting on a throne, and the train of His robe fills the temple. What was it like to see the living, blazing, consuming, God sitting on a throne? Isaiah's heart must have melted with fear at the first glance. He was looking upon the King of Kings, the World Maker, the Sustainer of all things. Then Isaiah sees the seraphim flying about the throne, passionately declaring the holiness of God. What a glorious and frightening sound that must have been. The seraphim sang God's praises so loudly that the temple itself shook, and Isaiah probably felt compelled to join their proclamation and shut his mouth at the same time.

Isaiah's reaction was one of utter terror. He knew that he was looking upon the King of the universe, and he knew that those who saw God were sure to die. He was overwhelmed by the glory of God, overcome by God's sheer majesty. He was overwhelmed by his encounter with the divine. And this my friends, is the God that we serve. This is the God to whom we pray each morning, and the God to whom we sing on Sundays, and the God whose word we read so flippantly. We serve a God who is not tame by any means. He's a great, glorious, terrifying God. And yet because of the cross, He's also our Father. There is a way for wicked sinners like us to know the King of Glory. Let us draw near to Him today with a holy mixture of reverence and love. Through the blood of Jesus, let us worship our holy God with fear and trembling.

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Posted by Stephen Altrogge at 8:00 AM  


God has been reminding me of this lately as well. How can I haphazardly approach the God who measures the heavens in His palm? Thank you for this post.

Hannah said...
September 17, 2007 at 12:50 PM  

Thanks for the encouragement Hannah. It seems that I need to be reminded of who it is that I'm approaching...

September 17, 2007 at 12:53 PM  

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