Tuesday, May 28, 2019


Revival of a Great Prophet-4

The Great Coverup Act

Unlike the covering act in the Garden of Eden by Adam and Eve where they tried to cover up their sinfulness, the seraphs tried to cover all that they were given by the Lord (beauty and excellence) so that they would become His true worshippers and servants. First, they covered the most beautiful parts of their body, their faces, with their own wings willingly and voluntarily. But they have more to cover, as we go forward with the narration of the events in the temple. When the glory of the Lord is exposed to us, we can’t withstand the power of His glory and so we run for cover even in our best of capabilities. That takes us to the eagerness of the seraphs to cover their feet.

Cover the Feet

We find the seraphs cover their feet with two of their wings. Feet talk primarily about their walk, work, and achievements. All of these personal gains which give the seraphs the kind of prestige, popularity, and prominence in the eyes of the beholders are now declared unworthy by the seraphs and so they cover it with their wings. They shudder to exhibit all their personal glory in the presence of the glory of the Lord. To them, these personal glimpses are like garbage as Paul declared it (Philippians 3:7). This is yet another challenge to the great prophet in his personal life and in the ministry. He might be made to wonder if it is appropriate to think of him as a ‘prophet’ or as an unprofitable servant.

Feet also talk about their weaknesses because of the dirt that they gather as they travel around and minister. But when they come to the presence of the Lord, any of the filth that they might gather on their feet is quickly and consciously covered because the seraphs are fearful about exhibiting these in the light of His glory.

We should not lose track of the fact that the feet of those who declare the good news are beautiful (Isaiah 52:7). And these seraphs are the carriers of good news that our Lord is seated on the throne, high and lifted up and that His glory is unfathomable. But even such feet are not worthy to be exhibited in the presence of the glory of the Lord.  Such is the magnificent lesson coming from the temple for us in the light of our total unworthiness and the Lord’s pre-eminence that we are able to learn, along with Isaiah, through the revelation of His glory.

The Lord allows Isaiah to witness to the worship of the seraphs to teach him lessons of his unworthiness which is a lesson to every Christian everywhere at all times.

The Wings that Fly

It is the heart that flies before the wings and the body because the heart is fully sold out on the glory of the Lord. The heart is so moved as to fly swiftly to declare the glory of the Lord.  When we see that the seraphs fly and express their adoration to the Lord, we see that the seraphs can’t stand still and adore the Lord. Once they start, they can’t even stop and take a break because the glory of the Lord compels them to keep on flying and moving and expressing adoration. They are moved because of the impact of the glory and the person of the Lord that they have experienced in their hearts. They are thrilled and encompassed about His salvation which they declare.

Why do the seraphs repeat utterance about the holiness of the Lord? Apparently, they are not satisfied with uttering it once or even twice. They wanted to sing about it more and more until they are satisfied that they would have witnessed the glory and experienced it. But they realize that they can’t be fully satisfied with speaking about it that they keep on repeating it. Such repetitive worship will never lead them to boredom because it is living sacrifice and keeping on active as long as time and eternity would last. It is also likely that each of the three utterances is for each Person in the Trinity, the Holy Father, Holy Son, and Holy Spirit. They want to repeat the affirmation of His glory which is worthy to be affirmed and reaffirmed forever.

Let us now focus on the pitch and tone of the utterance of the seraphs! The seraphs can’t keep a low tone and pitch and be soft-spoken about it because of the impact it has created in them. They want to use all their energy to express themselves because this is the greatest song of the glory of the Lord which they can keep on singing. It has impacted them so much as to raise their pitch and sing about it at the top of their capacity and strength. They responded to the extent of their maximum ability to sing about Him who is seated on the Throne.  These gestures and responses are the evidence of the impact the glory of the Lord has created in the seraphs. If we are impacted by the power of His glory, our worship will rise above our routine patterns and will find that the sky is the limit to our expressions. It will thus reach the uttermost part of the earth and will turn it all upside down (Acts. 17:6).

It seems the seraphs were totally involved in serving and worshipping the Lord to the extent to which their six wings, feet, eyes, mouth, heart, emotions and body were fully embodied in it. This is a continuous activity in heaven which is difficult for the human mind to comprehend. As we are all seated in the heavenly places, it is expected that our worship today also emanates to that level in a dynamic manner.

The seraphs were shouting at the top of their voice so that all could hear their voice and their praise. Such shouts were to send shockwaves to the whole world or even the universe about the reigning Lord. They had no embarrassment or reservation as to who were all listening. They didn’t care who was listening and who was taking offense about their shouts. They actually wanted the whole world to listen to such high-level business of glorifying the Lord.

Modern science tells us that sound is very powerful and that it can move and shake up its immediate environment. So is the voice of the seraphs as they sang the praise of the Lord. The immovable door posts were moved at the power of their voice. Even today His voice moves the immovable hearts and lives of people. The space in the temple gets filled with smoke as all the empty spaces are filled by the Lord. This spectacular chain of events is capable of dynamically changing every rocky heart. But we wonder if it has sufficiently impacted prophet, Isaiah? So also, is it adequately impacting our contemporary prophets, preachers, and pastors? It seems many of our modern day preachers are like the Pharos of Egypt who has not known the real ‘Joseph’ and His glory (Exodus 1:8).

The seraphs and their loud and impact-oriented praises ask us as to whether there is smoke or fire in our hearts as we witness the expression of the glory of the Lord(Psalms 39:3). Perhaps we are not able to witness the fire and the smoke because we are not meditating enough to see the image of the glorified One in our hearts.

The Prophet’s silence

All the while as the events in the Throne Room unfold, we need to watch Isaiah the prophet learning great lessons that the Lord wanted to teach him. He is stunned and speechless and in a great shock. He has not seen anything like this so far in his ministry. This astounding scene has penetrated into every corner of his heart, soul, and mind. When the environment has also been impacted through the sound of the worship of the seraphs, the prophet begins to respond. When the prophet came into the temple, his mind was so much preoccupied with the apprehensions about the future of Israel and so his heart was heavy. But the unfolding events shifted his focus from his problems to the Lord God Almighty who is still on the Throne. As he witnesses heavenly worship, Isaiah forgets about his problems and the removal of the king from the throne by the Lord. When he looks at the Lord, he was compelled to look into his own heart. He was filled with repentance and he begins to utter words of confession.  

As we read the story, we might be compelled to think that the prophet has reached a level at which he would have had several questions in his heart. These questions could have been:

a.      Why these heavenly beings are so much moved as to continue to pour out praises and adoration to the Lord?
b.      Why do they never get tired of repetitive worship?
c.       Why they are moved so much as to shake up even the environment?
d.      How they are able to focus on the holiness of the Lord forever like this?
e.      Why do they show no sensitivity to the onlookers about their spontaneous worship of the Lord?

The answers to these questions might be seen in the subsequent and consequent behavior and utterances of Isaiah. He realizes the height and breadth of the sensitization of the seraphs about the greatness and glory of their Lord. We might see the prophet being challenged to examine his own heart and life to see what hinders him from offering such qualitative worship as that of the seraphs. Perhaps his preoccupation with the cumbersome situation is now giving way to the greatness of the Lord. The message from the Lord to Isaiah was to look at the seraphs and learn lessons about his own wrong disposition. At that moment, he breaks his silence and begins to speak.   
(To Continue)


Revival of a Great Prophet-3

The Seraphs’ challenge to the Prophet

As the events at the Throne Room of the Lord emerges and unfolds, we are wonderstruck at fascinating beings called the Seraphim. They are innumerable, but their overwhelming number would not let them lose their identity. They are a distinct creation of God to serve Him, worship Him and do His perfect will. They presented a great challenge as a role model in serving the Lord for the prophet about his willingness and commitment to serving, obeying, worshipping and accomplishing the Lord’s perfect will. The very sight of the seraphs and their service to the Lord was posing a great example to Isaiah.

By exposing Isaiah to the way these created beings (Seraphs) worship and serve the Lord, a challenge is posed for Isaiah to consider and re-examine his willingness to serve and commit himself to the cause of the Lord with all that he has for the service of the Lord. This is greatly pertinent for the present-day believers because whereas the Lord Jesus didn’t die for these seraphs, He died for the NT believers. So they ought to have a greater zeal to committing and serving the Lord. These seraphs and their zeal is a great embarrassment to the modern believers considering their shallow commitment to their Saviour and Lord. We call Him “Lord, Lord” (Matthew 7:21), but often do what we want with our lives. Our worship, giving, service, and commitment are often half-hearted and bound by jealousy or competition and for popularity, prestige, prominence, position, and possessions. So the events at the Throne Room were meant to spoke to Isaiah through the seraphs and its account in Isaiah Six is foreordained to speak to us in the same manner. He expects us to respond to these events befitting to those who live in the dispensation of grace.

Living Sacrifices

The seraphs are portrayed as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1). They are the “burning beings” who keep burning for their Lord. When they burn, they show light to the dark world and shed warmth to the cold hearts of people around. Isaiah as the servant of the Lord is created as a living light (Matthew 5:13) and so he is expected to burn and shine for the Lord and for the dark world that is around him. The seraphs now challenge the prophet to burn for the Lord so that those around will see the glory of the Lord through the light that he is expected to produce by burning for Him. Isaiah is reminded of the primary purpose for which he is placed among the disobedient and worldly people of the nation of Israel. This encounter of the burning seraphs thus poses a great challenge for Isaiah and for us to be willing to burn for Jesus like Jim Eliot, Graham Steins and John Alan Chou in our daily lives.

All from Him and all for Him

Isaiah watches these seraphs were using all that they have in the service of the Lord. Their wings are for flying, covering and showing respect to the Lord. Their mouths are to shout out the holiness and greatness of the Lord. They fly in a hurry because they have so much to do to shed abroad the greatness and glory of their Lord. They have a lot to do for the Lord including helping to cleanse even prophets like Isaiah. All of these are ministries and responsibilities given to them by the Lord. And they are demonstrating their willing and voluntary service and commitment for the service and for the glory of the Lord. Far more than obeying any commandment to serving the Lord or expressing gratitude to Him for giving them everything, these seraphs worshiped Him for who He is. It comes from the intimacy they have with Him and the love and respect they want to show to Him because of His greatness. They gave Him back all that He gave them so that they will be completely His to do whatever He wants to accomplish in their lives.  They gave Him all their talents, treasures and time. They are fully aware of the fact that all of these were given to them out of His benevolence and love towards them and they ought to reciprocate it to Him out of their love and respect to Him. In the light of the attitude and surrender the seraphs demonstrated, Isaiah is now compelled to re-examine his worship, commitment, and love for the Lord. If Isaiah had to re-examine and rededicate himself to his Lord, how much more should we do for the Lord is a puzzling question before every New Testament believer!

The Four and the Two Wings

It is interesting that the seraphs have six wings. Why wings and why so many wings is an intriguing question. Wings are given so that they can move swiftly in their service. The six wings must have so much responsibilities and opportunities embodied in them. It certainly indicates the need for using additional cover to be part of true worship even as they move around. It seems the seraphs are desperate and passionate to serve the Lord as fast as possible. They have no time to waste and no opportunity to lose as they serve the Lord because their Lord deserves so much more than what is possible to humanly anticipate. The time, treasure and talents at their disposal could all be fully and far greatly used for the service of the Lord as they have these six wings. Do we wish we had more legs to move, more hands to work with and more mouths to declare the praise and glory of the Lord?

Out of the six wings, the seraphs used two for covering their feet and two for covering their eyes or faces showing great reverence to the Lord by being extraordinarily humble and respectful in their approach to worship and service for the Lord. Such efforts at worship come from their attitude because when they see Him, they discount themselves totally and respect Him to the utmost. For them, worship of the highest form is imperative as they see the Great Lord and offer Him Great service and Worship. Will the Lord find these qualities in us today?

Seraphim and their challenge in worship

It is interesting to note that the Seraphs used all their wings in the service of the Lord and none for their personal agenda. They used all their wings for the Lord and for His glory. They had a holy detachment with all that they had and they were willing to forsake all for Him. It was like Mary using even the last drop of the ointment for the Lord. It was like the pearl merchant who sold all that he had in order to purchase the most precious pearl that he could ever find (Matthew 13: ). They found the greatest satisfaction as they used all they had for their Lord and still wanting to give it all to Him through the fastest and loudest expressions of their commitment to Him. As the prophet watches the scenario, it speaks and challenges him to the utmost to give all that he has to the Lord at the fastest pace. How about the response of the modern day prophets, preachers and priests to the glory of the Lord? 

Covering the Face

In our vernacular, we often mention ‘angelic face’ of a person for comparative purpose. It is considered as the ultimate in beauty. These seraphs definitely have the most beautiful faces. But as they are broken and burning beings, these seraphs do not consider their beautiful faces worthy to be exhibited in the presence of the Lord of Glory. They cover their personal glory and achievement and keep it under check so that the glory of the glorious One may be fully exhibited. Their motto is that no one ought to show off anything that they have in them no matter how excellent these might be. They turn off all their personal lights with its glitter in the presence of the Shekinah Glory. They wanted all that they have to be hidden under their own wings so that no one would or could see even a glimpse of it. They show that any effort at exhibiting our personal glory might be considered competition to the glory of the Lord and will allow it all to be burned off as they burn for the Lord. All their personal glory is on the altar as a living sacrifice.  They are challenging the ‘ME-MYSELF-I’ culture of contemporary Christianity. They show that they do not have any name, titles or exhibits of their own as they stand in the presence of the Lord and minister unto His name. This scene is a serious reprimand to the prophet Isaiah as he goes into the presence of the Lord bearing his ministries and his experience in the work of the Lord. 

In essence, watching the seraphs covering their face preaches a great sermon to the prophet. He realizes that he and all that he has can best be considered worthless in the presence of the glory of the Lord. It thus preaches a thunderous message to all of us who live in the era of grace to re-examine our styles, moto, motives, approaches, and strategies in the ministry of the Lord. (To continue)