Sermon notes of Norma Fivaz
Isaiah 6:1- 8
Isaiah 6:1- 8
Isaiah 6 is such a familiar chapter. This is the 3rd time that this section of Scripture has been the reading for the day, when I had been asked to lead the service. I have looked at it, from different angles, and I said to God: “ Father, what do You want me to focus on today?” I waited, and waited and the more I meditated, the more it became clear:
The PAIN that is expressed in these 8 verses. See if you can identify the pain in each of the readings:
- Pain at the spiritual level
- Pain at the physical level
- Pain at the emotional level
I want to deal with “Where is God, when it hurts?”.....and I want you to keep this question in mind, as we analyse these couple of verses in Isaiah 6 this morning.
Philip Yancey, in his book....”Where is God when it hurts?” comes to the conclusion, that there is always PAIN at the root of such a question. Pain at the level of spiritual, physical or emotional pain.
Let's look at the following, and identify the various “pains” that were expressed here:
1. The historic setting of the scene that is played off in front of our eyes
2. King Ussiah / Azaria (II Kings 15:1-5; II Chronicles 26 )
3. Prophet Isaiah
1. Historic setting:
The book of Isaiah is divided into two sections:
- Ch 1-39 = The dark side of this book, where Isaiah was called to tell his people about their sinful ways. He had to speak judgement against the pagan nations around Israel. He had to explain the purpose of God's judgement and he had to point out Jerusalem's true and false hopes....
- Ch 40 -66 = words of comfort
What pain do we find here?
- spiritual pain......people are informed of God's judgement and the exile that they are facing, as God's punishment for not following Him
- emotional pain.....the uncertainty of the future, living in exile
- maybe even physical pain, for living as a displaced people ?
King Uzziah / Azaria : II Kings 15: 1-6 and II Chronicles 26 ….greater details
King Uzziah was only 16 y old when he became king of Judah. He was referred to as the “boy-king”. In II Kings 15; 3 a short summary is given of his reign: “He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD..” . Unfortunately the following verse has a “However." There is reference to "high places , however, were not removed; the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there”.
He didn't give his all. He suffered from spiritual pain....spiritual shortcomings. He turned a blind eye to the pagan sacrifices that continued under his reign. He had both influence and responsibility over his kingdom, and he didn't act according to what God expected of him.
God was NOT satisfied by a halfhearted following (v5) “The LORD afflicted the king with leprosy" Uzziah therefore experienced physical pain. He had to go and live in a separate (verse 5b) and not in the palace, which certainly must have resulted in humiliation and emotional pain.
He was a man/leader who followed God, but NOT full out. Half heartedly. Only in the part that he, Uzziah wanted to give God.
We serve a jealous God. A God who expects ALL of us. A Holy God.how can we be shoddy in our ways and the ways we serve Him?
God says clearly: Love your God with ALL your mind, ALL your heart, All your soul.
100% commitment! Could his spiritual and physical pain that he experienced be explained because he was not 100% committed?
Isaiah, the prophet and scribe lives 570 BC and was the contemporary of Hosea and Micah, two of the minor prophets, whose accounts were also entered into our Bible. The name “Isaiah” means “The Lord saves”. When his parents named him, God already had a plan with his life, he had to proclaim that salvation was to come. (Isa 9:6)
“For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given.... He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of peace...”
But these words of comfort starts off in Isa 9:1 “The people walking in darkness...”. That is the message that Isaiah had to tell his people. He had to point out to them that their lives are NOT in order and that they are sinning against the Most High, the Holy God, the God who told you in the days of Moses to love ONE God, with all your heart, all your mind, all your soul.
What kind of pain do we detect here? Isaiah is experiencing spiritual pain. He is deeply concerned about his people, God's people, not living according to what God prescribed and expected of them.
Not an easy task that God called him to do. Imagine this man of God, wrestling with this task ahead of him and the deep spiritual pain that he felt!
Where is God when it hurts?
Isaiah sees God on His throne, in all His glory. (Isa 6: 1-3)
In all the misery of – leprous King and then the death of this statesman,
- a nation in mourning over their king
- severe judgement from a God who does not tolerate half-heartedness.
Where is God in all that hurts? God is sitting on His throne in all His glory!
While preparing for this morning, and wrestling with what is all means, I read in Job 5: 18 – 25 (2000 BC ) the following:
v18: He wounds, but He also binds up
He injures, but His hands also heals
v21: You will be protected from the lash of the tongue and need not fear
v22:You will laugh at destruction... and need not fear
v23: For you have a covenant …..
v24: You will know that your tent is secure....
v25: You will know …..
God sometimes allows these situations, to prune us, trim us, cleanse us, so that we may shine for Him. But all along, He is there.....( on His throne, in all His glory)....
Because we have a covenant, that agreement that we belong to Him.
v 24 You will know
v 25 You will know
...we will know that God is there, even when life is hurting.
Provided....that we have a covenant with Him. A covenant means not only do we have an agreement but also a relationship with Him.
In Job 19:23 – 25 Job states: “I know that my Redeemer lives”
Paraphrased in Job for Modern Man:
“ How I wish someone would record what I am saying
Or with a chisel carve my words in stone,
and write them so they would last forever.
But I know there is someone in heaven
who will come at last to my defense.
I will see Him with my own eyes,
and He will not be a stranger.”
v17: “ Now that we are children, then we are heirs (this implies an inheritance )
if we share in His sufferings (God doesn't promise that life will be easy here on earth)
…....in order that we may also share in His glory”
What is the application for us today:
· Where is God when the citrus packing shed in Fort Beauford is being burnt down?
· Where is God when a man gets killed at his farm gate at Kei Road, and a family is left behind in mourning?
· Where is God when someone hangs himself from a rafter in the kitchen in Hogsback?
· When we turn on the news and watch all the atrocities in this dear country of ours.....little children being raped, domestic violence, drugs etc....even here in Hogsback.
What are the things that you are struggling with?...
- a difficult relationship
- Uncertainty about the future?
- Health issues?
- Children who are not serving God, and who have values differ from yours and what you taught them?
What are your stresses? The things that keep you awake during the small hours of the night?
Is your pain: - physical
When all was doom & gloom...what did Isaiah see?
Isa 6: 1-3 I saw the LORD
Can you see Him this morning? Do you have a clear picture of Him in your mind / heart?
Do you know this LORD personally?
Seated on the throne….High and exalted.
That is His rightful place.
Is that the place that He has in your life?
The first in every option, at every level?
And the seraphs were calling.....Holy, holy, holy is the LORD almighty.
Is that what your life is shouting out? Are you worshipping God in your thoughts, in your decisions that you take, in your priorities of choices?
Romans 8: 11 “ And if the Spirit …..is living in you.....Christ will also give life to you....”
v 12: Therefore brothers (and sisters), we have an obligation-(NOT A CHOICE) to live according to the Spirit. A spirit filled life.
Where is God when we think ALL is going wrong? Where is God when it hurts?
He is on His throne
All the time
High and exalted
He has you in His hand. Your name written in the palm of His hand (if you have made the choice to serve Him).
Will you allow a rightful place for Him in your life?
Let us pray:
Holy Father, we bring our hurts
all that we do not understand about You,
to You this morning.
We have to trust You, more than understand why we're hurting.
Help us to grow in this trust.
Help us to lean onto You
to let go of trying to figure out all the WHYs and the HOWs which we feel are “unfair”.
“LORD, I do believe, but help me overcome my un-belief”.
Help us to trust You more --- in spite of difficult circumstances.
We bring You our hurts, our doubts, our fears, our guilt.....and we lay them on Your altar.
Strengthen our faith in You.
We honor You!
We worship You!
We praise Your Holy name.