Walk Humbly With Your God Part 3

A key aspect to walking in humility is agreeing with His word. An area that is easy to miss is agreeing with what His word says about us once we are converted. As believers we are called to function with renewed minds, a new way of thinking and seeing.

1  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:1-2 (NKJV)

Our transformation comes from seeing God and ourselves through the lens of His word, from thinking differently about both. So let me share a brief story. I do a few mediations per month for matters in small claims court. Recently walking into the downtown office building where they take place I was conscious of the security guards at the front and aware that when I arrived I would be given an access card to go places where the general public could not. There is a sense of authority and privilege that comes with ‘access.’

Reflecting on this I wondered how many of us as believers place the correct importance on the authority and privilege we have in our access to the Throne of Grace (Heb. 4:16). No matter what takes place in the halls of power anywhere in or on the earth, we have access to an audience with the creator and ruler of the universe and the opportunity to partner with Him in His strategic purposes in the earth.

Are we humbly submitting to what He says and using our access card?

Walk Humbly With Your God

        

         If we are to walk humbly with God we need a clear understanding of humility. As always, context is important and in the case of Micah humility is presented in the context of first demonstrating justice and loving mercy.

8  He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8 (NKJV)

         Practically, humility means that we submit our ideas of justice and mercy, and everything else to God’s ideas. We recognize that we are not in charge, He is. This is humility. I think in general your average Christian believes in submitting to God in theory, just not so much in practice. I made a real commitment to Jesus when I was 25 (a long time ago now). At the time I struggled to accept Christianity, though I had been raised with it, because I didn’t like some of what the Bible said, and honestly I still don’t. However, what I have learned is that I need to bow my knee to His wisdom and sovereignty.

There is a reason I am not in charge of the universe and part of humility is choosing to obey and submit my will to the scriptures because they are an expression of Yahweh’s views.

The Bible communicates His will to us. Where we have significant issues now in evangelical Christianity in the US and Canada is that we have in many ways abandoned a humble submission to His word. It is one thing to debate over the main theological positons of Calvinism or Arminianism because both positons can be defended from scripture. What cannot be defended is the shifting positon of many on social issues. The scriptures are not ambiguous here, and while we may not recognize it, when we seek to reinterpret them in our image we are playing God and refusing to humble ourselves.

If we want true justice and mercy then we need to humbly hold our ideas up to the lens of scripture and change our views where we see conflict. Let’s take a look!.

Walk Humbly With Your God Part 1

As we enter a new year we often reflect on what it holds or what we should do, which is a good thing. Yet we have our way of doing things and God has His way, often contrary to our way. My sense as we enter this season is that there is a real need to embrace humility.  

         We do not know what awaits us. 2018 was tumultuous in many ways; politics, natural weather calamities and the like. We have come through the year and as we enter this one we need to prepare. Yet what preparation can we make for the unknown? When I go backpacking I take extra supplies and plan and prepare for the unexpected, yet that is within generally known parameters. In the current natural, political and economic climate the parameters are unknown. There are some practical things we can do. Economically we can get rid of debt, live within or below our means. Politically we can become informed on the issues, support godly candidates in the coming elections and become involved. In terms of the natural climate we can have some emergency supplies on hand.

         The most important preparation however is spiritual. The safest place to be, no matter what is happening, is being found walking with Jesus and drawing near to His heart. Hence my plea for humility. To know Jesus heart and His way requires acknowledging our need. Moses prayed one of the great prayers in scripture and encountered Yahweh’s glory.  

13  “Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight. And consider that this nation is Your people.” Exodus 33:13 (NKJV emphasis mine)

         David informed us of the value of humility, Jesus becomes our teacher and guide.

9  The humble He guides in justice, And the humble He teaches His way. 10  All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth, To such as keep His covenant and His testimonies. 11  For Your name’s sake, O LORD, Pardon my iniquity, for it is great. 12  Who is the man that fears the LORD? Him shall He teach in the way He chooses. Psalm 25:9-12 (NKJV emphasis mine)

         Micah gave us a summary of it all.

8  He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8 (NKJV)

So this year, above all, let’s heed the scriptures and embrace living out of a humble dependence on the Godhead.

14  The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen. 2 Corinthians 13:14 (NKJV)

Walk with Me

As we have just come through again celebrating Christmas I want to reflect on the significance of walking with Jesus as we enter into a new year. Just prior to Christmas I heard someone commenting on the radio that Jesus birth was the most important event in history. I respectfully disagree. Jesus incarnation, God taking on flesh, was the means to an end. The end was Jesus death and resurrection. Without His sacrifice and resurrection on our behalf all of humanity would still be eternally lost (Rom. 4:25). This dual transaction was the most important thing in human history.

We see this connection more clearly in how one pastor habitually displayed the Nativity scene. He had a light shining from behind a cross and the shadow of the cross fell on the baby in the manger. There is a lot of truth and power in that image. Jesus was born and raised under the shadow of the cross.

We now live beyond Jesus birth, death and resurrection. As we head into this year in a season of change and uncertainty we need to apply that truth to our circumstances. There are interwoven political and economic challenges facing our nation and our province. In the midst of this it is easy to become anxious – yet we don’t need to be. I don’t want to offer well-worn clichés as a response. I do want to recommend that in this year ahead, and beyond that, we make walking with Jesus our focus. He says clearly in His word that if we draw near to Him He will draw near to us (2 Chron. 15:2, Jas. 4:8).

Further, Jesus desire is that our focus be on His heart and our relationship with Him. In fact He was clear that He wants to reveal His Father’s heart to us.

24  Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 25  O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. 26  And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” John 17:24-26 (NKJV)

Earlier in John He told us how this would happen.

20  At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. 21  He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” John 14:20-21 (NKJV)


26  “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. John 15:26 (NKJV)

So, no matter what is happening around us Jesus is an anchor in the storm, a place of rest in quiet times, and a beacon of light when we need to determine where to go. So let’s lean into His heart in this coming year and walk with Him.

To help with this look at the words to this song by Kim Walker-Smith (the link to the song is at the bottom). If you have not heard this song, find a quiet spot, sit back in reflection and let it minister to your heart.

Walk With Me

Author of the world walk with me
Ruler of the earth walk with me
Calmer of the storm walk with me
Healer of my heart walk with me

How I need You, how I need You
Oh Jesus, walk with me

Light for every step walk with me
Giver of each breath walk with me

How I need You, how I need You
Oh Jesus, walk with me

How I love You, how I love You
Oh Jesus, walk with me

In Your presence Lord, there is peace, there is rest
In Your presence Lord, there is light that never ends

In Your presence Lord, there is joy, there is joy
In Your presence Lord, there is light that never ends

Kim Walker-Smith/Jesus Culture – Walk With Me

NOTE – I recommend reading Rick Joyner’s recent Word for the Week. He focuses on the coming year and following. In the third paragraph he references Proverbs referring to unity and a threefold cord. The actual reference is Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

https://www.morningstarministries.org/resources/word-week/2018/coming-year-unity-and-shaking#.XCi011xKg2w

This Christmas

As we come to Christmas we have the now familiar slogans on seeking to retain the roots of the holiday. We are told to ‘Keep Christ in Christmas’ and ‘Jesus is the Reason for the Season.’ I agree with these things. Jesus is the reason for the season and even more importantly He was and is the true gift.

I do have a however. I think as the church we would be more effective if we put more effort into unwrapping this gift. When we receive a gift that we really appreciate we want to take some time and study it and acknowledge the giver. The more we pull back the layers of wrapping in our lives that obscure Jesus, the more this gift will begin to affect our lives and we will reflect more of Jesus. The more we look in appreciation to the one who gave the gift the more our lives and the lives of those around us will be affected.

So this Christmas, while it is good to reflect on the journey to Bethlehem, the Nativity scene and the other trappings of Christmas I have another suggestion. Let’s take some time to meditate on and live out the reality of a verse usually not associated with Christmas. Let’s unwrap this gift!

27  To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:27 (NKJV)

Walking Uprightly

I think I am like many in the church in that I would like to have it ‘together’ and walk competently and confidently in my gifts as I walk with Jesus. I recognize and appreciate the gifts and skills He has built into me. Yet putting my trust in them is not what makes for a good leader in His kingdom. My trust needs to be in Him moving through me, not equipping me to work in my own strength.

The kingdom of God has been described as an ‘upside down kingdom’ based on the latter part of this verse in Acts. 6   “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too.” Acts 17:6 (NKJV)

Part of the upside down nature of His kingdom is that we rejoice in our weaknesses rather than our strengths.

7  And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 8  Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9  And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (NKJV)

A key factor in what Paul outlined in 2 Corinthians is that he was not seeking to be weak, he was recognizing his need for God’s grace to walk out his calling in spite of his weakness. We are no different. When we learn from our failures and mistakes and learn to lean into His grace and the lessons received we are more useful in His kingdom. Jacob wrestled with God and limped the rest of his life, Moses sought to deliver Israel in his own strength and failed before he became the leader and deliverer of a nation. David and Peter failed greatly. Paul was the persecutor who became the champion of grace and faith.

There is a pattern. Those who are greatly used in His kingdom are those who have learned that self-confidence is a stumbling block, not a virtue. Their trust lies not in their skills and abilities but in His ability to take burnt stones and make a new temple.

9  “The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former,’ says the LORD of hosts. ‘And in this place I will give peace,’ says the LORD of hosts.” Haggai 2:9 (NKJV)

The new temple was built from the debris of the old one. In the same way when we see our weaknesses and failures as places as debris He uses to build His strength into us we learn to lean into Him to draw on His grace. Then we walk uprightly before Him because we are walking with Him.

So, while we may fail and fall at times in our walk with Him, let’s do it while seeking to walk out on the water with Jesus.

Oceans – Hillsong United

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FBJJJkiRukY

 

The Place of Honour Part 3 – The Witnesses

Hebrews is in some ways a rather enigmatic book. Understanding the role of the High Priest in the Old Testament (OT) is a very helpful aid to understanding this book. While Hebrews contrasts the OT role of the priest and Jesus role as the new eternal high priest, there is another area where I think the contrast needs to be recognized. That area is the reference to the great cloud of witnesses.

1  Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, Hebrews 12:1 (NKJV)

In the OT the most important functions of the priest took place within the temple where only the high priest could go and the most important function happened once per year in the Holy of Holies under only the eyes of God. In the New Testament (NT) this ultimate sacrifice took place in public on a hill called Golgotha.

In Hebrews 11 the writer describes the hall of faith, the great honour roll of those who have gone before. There are a couple of ways of looking at this verse in context. While the focus on the whole book is on encouragement to walk uprightly before our Father, some view the reference to the cloud of witnesses as us being able to draw encouragement from those who have gone before and what they accomplished. While I think that is valid, I think there is something more to be discerned.

When we look at the NT Paul, John and others had the veil pulled back and they saw into the eternal heavenly realm. While I do not think we can simply do this at will I think the witnesses who have gone before can peer into our lives and what is happening. I think the image in 12:1 of being surrounded is that of running a marathon and the waiting crowd cheering as we enter the stadium for the final lap. In our culture a better image might be of a football or hockey game with a building full of fans cheering on their team, Jesus team really. Our great High Priest seeing the fruit of His sacrifice.

While I think the great heroes of the faith are in the stands, I think in addition to the heroes of the faith cheering us on to finish well, there are also the godly members of our families that have gone before. If we have a godly heritage behind us these people are cheering us on because we are part of their heritage and they have an investment in the outcome of our lives.

For me this is an encouragement, I want to honour investment of godly men and women into my life by living a godly life. So, who do you have in the stands cheering you on to finish well, encouraging you to draw on Jesus grace to live a life honouring their investment in you?

 

 

The Place of Honour Part 2

I started writing about how Yahweh honoured Ezra and the connection to his spiritual heritage. More broadly I want to look at what the scriptures tell us about the concept of honour.

7  Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor. Romans 13:7 (NKJV)

This verse tells us that honour is important, yet an interesting inference here is that not everyone deserves to receive honour. Paul’s statement above comes across as a command rather than a suggestion and it follows in a tradition of another command.

12  “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12 (NKJV)

2  “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: Ephesians 6:2 (NKJV)

We are commanded to honour our parents and we are to honour them because Yahweh has delegated authority to them and when we respect His delegated authority in our lives the Lord honours the respect we give to them. When we walk in honour we release something in the spirit realm and position ourselves to receive. So while we have the command to honour our parents the command illustrates the principle Paul expressed. We are to honour those to whom authority has been given.

In context we can see how important Paul’s exhortation is when we look at his lead in to Romans 13:7.

1  Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Romans 13:1 (NKJV)

Paul was writing to Christians in Rome who lived under a brutal emperor. Didn’t he make a mistake here? Well no he actually took it further in Ephesians. In addition to telling us to honour our parents he said the following.

5  Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; 6  not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7  with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, 8  knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free. 9  And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him. Ephesians 6:5-9 (NKJV)

When Paul said bondservants he was referring to slaves. His point is that whatever authority we have over us in our lives we are to treat that authority with honour and respect because it pleases our Father. There is one out, we are not to honour or submit to authority when it is clearly in opposition to the Lord. When Peter and John were brought before the High Priest and leaders in Jerusalem they knew what Paul later taught, the Hebraic concept of honour. Knowing that, when they were commanded to obey these authorities in opposition to what Jesus had commissioned them to do (Matt. 28:18-20, Mk. 16:9-20) they responded in the following way.

19  But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge.” Acts 4:19 (NKJV)

Peter, John and the rest of the young church continued to obey Jesus. It later meant further persecution, the martyrdom of Stephen and the scattering of the church (which led to the spreading of the gospel).

So, seeing something of the principle of honour from the perspective of scripture how are we doing with the supervisor at work, the mayor, the Premier, the Prime Minister? Are we interceding or criticizing?

The Place of Honour Part 1

Ezra is well known as an effective leader and manager. He was instrumental in the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem in the first return from captivity in Babylon as prophesied by Jeremiah (Jer. 25:11-12, 29:10-11) and interceded for by Daniel (Dan. 9:1-19).  This means that what Ezra took part in regarding the rebuilding in Jerusalem was the fulfillment of prophecy brought about by intercession.

So that leads us to looking at Era and why he was chosen. When I read scripture I have a tendency to gloss over genealogies. Numbers is not the first book I think about reading in the Old Testament! Yet the Holy Spirit inspired these passages for a reason and there is some very important information in the passage below.

1  Now after these things, in the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra the son of Seraiah, the son of Azariah, the son of Hilkiah, 2  the son of Shallum, the son of Zadok, the son of Ahitub, 3  the son of Amariah, the son of Azariah, the son of Meraioth, 4  the son of Zerahiah, the son of Uzzi, the son of Bukki, 5  the son of Abishua, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the chief priest – 6  this Ezra came up from Babylon; and he was a skilled scribe in the Law of Moses, which the LORD God of Israel had given. The king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the LORD his God upon him. Ezra 7:1-6 (NKJV)

In reading this we see that Ezra was a scribe, but he was also a priest (Ezra 8:1-2, 9), albeit without a temple to serve in. Ezra’s priestly qualifications came from being a direct descendant of Aaron, Phinehas and Zadok. Aaaron was the first high priest of Israel, Phinehas was his grandson who was jealous for the Lord. Zadok was a priest under David and remained faithful when the nation abandoned David.

A key point is that Yahweh is faithful to honour those who are faithful to Him. We see the background that led to Ezra’s role in the passages below.

10  Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: 11  “Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, has turned back My wrath from the children of Israel, because he was zealous with My zeal among them, so that I did not consume the children of Israel in My zeal. 12  Therefore say, ‘Behold, I give to him My covenant of peace; 13  and it shall be to him and his descendants after him a covenant of an everlasting priesthood, because he was zealous for his God, and made atonement for the children of Israel.’ ” Numbers 25:10-13 (NKJV)

15  “But the priests, the Levites, the sons of Zadok, who kept charge of My sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from Me, they shall come near Me to minister to Me; and they shall stand before Me to offer to Me the fat and the blood,” says the Lord GOD. Ezekiel 44:15 (NKJV)

In Ezra’s lineage, tracing his family back to Zadok and Phinehas, we see that he was put in a position to be instrumental in the restoration and rebuilding at Jerusalem because of the faithfulness his ancestors had demonstrated. The other side of this coin is that I believe Ezra’s being chosen was also connected to his faithfulness to serve Yahweh wherever he was. There were others with the same lineage who were not chosen. Our Father is an efficient historian who has eternal purposes in keeping records.

16  Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, And the LORD listened and heard them; So a book of remembrance was written before Him For those who fear the LORD And who meditate on His name. Malachi 3:16 (NKJV)

12  And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13  The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14  Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15  And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:12-15 (NKJV)

20  Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:20 (NKJV)

So what is my point in all of this? Yahweh is recording the good things we do to honour Him and they will not be forgotten. In addition He seeks to bring forth good things from our family line. If we don’t have a godly family history to draw from then let us start an honourable one that our descendants may draw from ours. It can be be as simple as handing out water. After all what did Jesus say?

42  And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.” Matthew 10:42 (NKJV)

Obscured Vision

I have been slowly going through the entire bible. I started in January 2017 with a plan to read through the bible in a year. This has shifted to my current plan to instead get through it in two years, which I will do. I have been reading through it slowly. I don’t follow some well known plan but do have my own method. I treat the Gospels and Acts as a section and the rest of the NT as a section. So I have gone through those sections more than once in this timeframe. For the OT I started Genesis forward and Job forward. I am now at Ezra and the last few of the Minor Prophets. In addition I have been reading through Proverbs every month. I could have crammed and completed this in a year but I have been focused on going more slowly and thoughtfully. I find I get more out of the scriptures using this approach. Small bites are easier to chew and digest than big ones.

Going through this process I saw something in 2 Chronicles. I never saw in previous readings that Uzziah never again sat on the throne after his transgression with the incense and that Jotham reigned while Uzziah lived out the remainder of his life primarily in isolation. I am going to look at two passages, 2 Chronicles 26 and Isaiah 6. You may find the connection between them interesting.

The ‘he’ in verse 16 below refers to Uzziah. Uzziah was a good king in Judah up to this point. Isaiah was an advisor and probably his friend. Isaiah had a decades long ministry and prophesied across the reign of four kings, Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah (Is. 1:1)

16  But when he was strong his heart was lifted up, to his destruction, for he transgressed against the LORD his God by entering the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense. 2 Chronicles 26:16 (NKJV)

19  Then Uzziah became furious; and he had a censer in his hand to burn incense. And while he was angry with the priests, leprosy broke out on his forehead, before the priests in the house of the LORD, beside the incense altar. 2 Chronicles 26:19 (NKJV)

When Uzziah was seeking to burn incense and the priests opposed him he lost his temper and refused to back down. His transgression, rooted in his pride, resulted in the Lord giving him leprosy until the day of his death. In Kings he is referred to as Azariah. Once he became a leper he dwelt in an isolated house and his son Jotham sat on the throne in his place until his death (2 Kings 15:15, 2 Chron. 26:21). There is a spiritual principle. If the enemy cannot oppose our work for the Lord, which he could not do with Uzziah, then he gets behind us and pushes us beyond the boundaries the Lord has set. He whispers in our ear and appeals to any root of pride or insecurity in our hearts and speaks to what we could or should be doing. In this case the reign of Uzziah had been blessed but here he presumed he could take on an office that was not his, the priestly role.

His vision was obscured by his pride. What of Isaiah?

1  In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. 2  Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3  And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!” 4  And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. 5  So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because 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.” 6  Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. 7  And he touched my mouth with it, and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away, And your sin purged.” Isaiah 6:1-7 (NKJV)

I have mentioned this before in my writing. This was not Isaiah’s prophetic call. He was already functioning in the prophetic office. When he had this encounter with Yahweh he realized that his vision was also obscured. Lepers were required to cry out ‘unclean, unclean’ in public so no one would have contact with them. King Uzziah would have suffered this indignity. Isaiah and the nation knew of Uzziah’s pride and failure but he was now gone and a new era had begun (Proverbs 14:34) and Jotham was a godly king. Yet when the veil between the natural and spiritual realm was removed something that was obscuring Isaiah’s vision and perspective was also removed. Here Isaiah saw the one on whose behalf he was speaking. How did he respond? Isaiah saw himself and the nation as being people of unclean lips compared to the transcendent holiness he encountered and recognized the need to be cleansed. His pride was consumed by the coal from the altar. It didn’t; burn Isaiah’s lips, it burned away any confidence in himself.

What of us? Do we see the problem as ‘out there,’ the Uzziah’s in life? Is the problem our political leaders? Our supervisor at work? These issues are real but even more real is our need for cleansing like Isaiah, having a coal from the altar touch our lips and cleanse our hearts. If we have had a cleansing encounter we are ready to speak with authority and power as Isaiah did. Perhaps Isaiah had other encounters he never recorded. I do not know. I do know I can remember where I was driving in my car decades ago when I began to pray for the fear of the Lord in my life because I saw it as a lack. I still need it.