One of the great challenges during crisis is to worship, but we must worship anyway! But, what happens often is that we find it hard to worship in crisis.
Isaiah 1:1 indicates that Isaiah preached these prophetic messages contained in the book during the reigns of Uzziah (also called Azariah), Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. Even though Isaiah’s prophecy is focused on Judah in the South, the fall of the Northern Kingdom would have happened during his ministry.
Added to the ongoing sin problem of Judah is the more immediate problem of the death of King Uzziah. Uzziah had reigned as king for 52 years. Uzziah’s reign, for the most part, had been a good reign. He had led the country well. As a result, there had been relative calm and peace in the kingdom. His death brought about this sort of national panic of “What now?” (We are not the first generation to worry about how bad things are in a nation.)
I think if you were to ask Isaiah about this time in his life, he would have confessed that he had depended upon the good reign of King Uzziah rather than depended completely upon King Jehovah. In this atmosphere of national and personal panic, Isaiah is in desperate need of a fresh encounter with God. That is exactly what he gets as is recorded in Isaiah 6.
Even though we might find it difficult to worship in the middle of crisis, we must worship because giving ourselves to worship helps us to see . . .
The Glory of God
This was a fearful time for Isaiah. The King had died. The Assyrians were coming. In the midst of these fears, while in the temple, Isaiah meets God. In this encounter, Isaiah recognizes…
God’s Sovereignty—The first thing that Isaiah saw about God was His being seated on the throne and His robe. This description is a regal scene showing the absolute reign of the King of Kings. King Uzziah is dead, but Jehovah God, the one true God is very much alive and in control. This is how worship calms our fears. We seem to need that regular reminder that God is on His throne.
God’s Holiness—Next, Isaiah saw God’s holiness. To say that we have worshipped, but not be led to see God’s holiness is foreign to true worship. True worship always ends in seeing God’s holiness.
God’s Presence—The key term of these first four verses is the idea of filling. His robe filled the temple in verse 1. In verse 2, His glory filled the whole earth. In verse 3, the Temple was filled with smoke. The idea of filling reveals that God’s presence is everywhere.
I think what we discover in this text is that when we give ourselves to worship, God calms our fears. As I remind you often, “You cannot worry and worship at the same time.”
(This post is based on the message “The Challenge to Worship” which you can watch at fbclaf.org/video)