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Posts Tagged ‘Isaiah 6’

We are continuing to look at worship today, specifically our praise and adoration of God.

Last week we talked about why we should worship God:

  1. God is amazing, stunning, awe-inspiring. Our praise is simply a ‘natural’ response to this.
  2. God has a right to our praise since he created us and everything good about us comes from God.
  3. We should be grateful for all that God does for us – caring for us, saving us and  hearing our prayers

Today we look at how powerful the practice of worship is, that is, how it can transform us to worship God. But first we begin with some background.

Our praise is the path into God’s presence

There is actually an analogy between coming before God as our king and how people in the ancient near east came before their kings.

  • First of all, it was a really big deal to come into the presence of a king. And, of course, it is even more weighty to come into God’s presence, who is a great king. Indeed, the king of the universe.
  • Second, when you came before an earthly king, part of what you would do is offer up praise or acknowledgement of their greatness – as a way to honor the king. This was the proper protocol. With God as king we are to offer up praise and honor as well. This is only fitting for the true king of all things.
  • Finally, when you honored an earthly king, they would receive you and have an audience with you. When we offer up praise and honor to God as our king, he receives us as well. We come into God’s presence.

Psalm 100:2, 4 says, “Come into the Lord’s presence with singing! . . . Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise!”

But wait, isn’t God always present with us?

Now there is a sense in which we can never get away from God’s presence. Right? Psalm 139:7 says, “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?” God is everywhere. But that doesn’t mean we are always in God’s presence, or that we are aware of God’s presence.

It is also true that God’s Spirit is present within us, if we belong to Christ. Romans 8:9 says, “Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.” But just because the Spirit is within us doesn’t mean that we are always in God’s presence, or that we are aware of God’s presence.

By entering God’s presence I mean that we need to intentionally seek God out. And what I’m saying this morning is that when we seek God out with praise and thanksgiving, something special happens – we come into God’s presence in a focused and discernable way.

This has something to do with our giving our attention to God. When we do this we become more aware of God’s presence with us. But this also has something to do with the fact that God is pleased when his people worship him. And reveals himself to us more powerfully.

So let’s look at –

What happens when we are in God’s presence

1. We experience close relationship with God. If we know the Lord, we have a relationship with the Lord. But it’s something like being married. You have a relationship, but if you want to have a good relationship – you have to spend real time together and communicate.

Well, when we spend time in God’s presence, we are drawn closer to the Lord.

  • we get to know God better
  • our relationship is strengthened
  • we can be secure in our relationship with God

I ask you this morning, how good is your relationship with God? Do you take God for granted? When was the last time you had real quality time with the Lord? Enter God’s presence with praise and adoration – and experience a deeper relationship with God.

2. We are made whole. Isaiah 6:1; 5 says, “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. . .. 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!’”

Being in God’s presence can be a powerfully transforming experience. As with Isaiah, we come to see ourselves more clearly with all of our weaknesses and brokenness.

But God doesn’t leave us there. vs. 6-7 say, “Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: ‘Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.’” God works in us to transform us and make us whole. Isaiah’s sin is dealt with. And when we come into God’s presence, God can heal our brokenness and give us peace.

So, if you are struggling, don’t run away from God! Seek God out. God is the source of your renewal and wholeness and you can find this in his presence.

3. We find true fulfillment. We talked last week about the overwhelming, powerful presence of God, that can even be lethal. And we did this to show how amazing God is.

But God is merciful and doesn’t overwhelm us when we seek God out in worship. God’s presence is gentle and refreshing – giving us a sense of joy and fulfillment. Psalm 16:11 says, “in your presence there is fullness of joy.”

We were made to relate to God and be in God’s presence, and because of this, we only find true satisfaction and peace in God’s presence.

If your life is empty and feels meaningless, get to know God! Be in God’s presence. This is where you will find joy and meaning.

4. God hears our prayers and blesses us. Just as with a king, his servants come to ask for help, and so we come before God with our needs and concerns. And God is a great King and helps those who come before him.

Psalm 34:10 says, “The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.”

  • We come with our weights, concerns and discouragement
  • But we leave with strength, renewed faith and encouragement

Bring your burdens to the Lord, cast your cares at his feet, and he will care for you (1 Peter 5:7). Come into his presence and make your needs and concerns known, and he will hear you and give you the good things you need.

Finally, 5. God gives us guidance. When we come into God’s presence, God can speak to us and give us his word to direct us, or  tell us what we need to do.

Isaiah 6:8-9 says, “And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ Then I said, ‘Here am I! Send me.’ And he said, ‘Go, and say to this people: ‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’” God spoke to Isaiah when he was in God’s presence and he was given direction to know what to do. He was even given an commission for ministry.

If you are looking for guidance in your life, you don’t need to look to self-help books or self-proclaimed gurus – come to God! The king who made you. See what God says you should do.

 

In all these ways, being in God’s presence powerfully transforms us. When we are done, we have not only blessed and honored God, but we are not the same person that we were before. And God gives us permission to come before him regularly to be in this kind of relationship with him.

William Higgins

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