The Bare Soul - December 30, 2012
The Year of Decision

Isaiah 6:1 - In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple.

What will this new year bring for us? We made it through an another presidential election in the United States, and survived the Mayan apocalypse predicted for December 21. Many I talk to are cautiously optimistic about their future. Others are feeling that 2013 looks to offer no more hope then they experienced in the previous year. Things many have counted on in the past to offer them security have suddenly shifted in their present situations. Stock portfolios are not as robust as they once were and housing values struggle to maintain a semblance of their former value. Whether we wring our hands in despair, or lift them toward heaven in loving trust, God sees and knows all. No matter what goes on around us, we will only experience true hope and security through the Hope-giver. That means abandoning our expectations in anything except Christ and dying to ourselves and our ambitions. Retiring to any possibility less than this is futile in the light of eternity and prone for disappointment.

In his youth, Isaiah the prophet probably held similarly high hopes for his future as many do today. Born into a wealthy family, he was educated and trained in the priesthood. His imminent expectations undoubtedly looked good. However, Isaiah would have an encounter with God that would change his life forever. In this turning point of Isaiah's life we see a progression of "NO, WOE, and GO." Before this fateful day -- when the prophet saw the vision of the Lord "high and lifted up" -- he was what we today might consider a "good" Christian. However, in the year of King Uzziah's death, the paradigm of faith shifted in Isaiah's life forever. Uzziah's reign will always be symbolic of rebellion, pride, and arrogance as he tried to act like a priest and God smote him with leprosy (II Chronicles 26:18-20). This dreaded disease of ancient Israel is a metaphor in the word of God for sin and all its consequences. Isaiah deliberately tells us that he was diametrically changed in the year Uzziah died. Allegorically, it was the year of his death to what he thought a good follower of God should be.

Before the death of "king self" typified by Uzziah's death, he said, "NO, not me Lord!" He was probably happy with his life as a well-educated priest. But now something changed. He saw the Lord high and lifted up in the subsequent verses of this chapter and said, "WOE is me!" seeing himself in the light of God's knowledge. With godly understanding now guiding him, he accepted the role as prophet when God told him to "GO." His total disregard for his own life and total concern for God's mission became his prophetic legacy. Because of his obedience, we have his writings which have lasted more than 2700 years. God's influence on an obedient man will last well beyond his lifespan as was the case with Isaiah.

We are not told when this epiphany came to the prophet that redefined his life, but only that it came "in the year" of the king's death. Often, we will not know exactly the time or place of God's moving in our lives. We may only know it happened in a certain season, possibly over a period of time. Isaiah did not associate his vision with a particular day, because that was not important. What was critical was to know how he allowed the juxtaposition of his sin and rebellion (typified by the king) with the holiness of God and his mission as a prophet. The result was a deputation empowered by the zeal of the Lord. This was not to be just a casual prophetic word, but years of prophecy that would eventually result in Isaiah's physical death (Isaiah 6:8-13)(Hebrews 11:37).

How many of us need to come to the "year of King Uzziah's death" in our lives? How many of us need to quit being "good" Christians and see our flesh for what it is? Seeing our badness is step one. Then, it is imperative we then see His greatness which cleanses us. We must understand how the Lord has made us the righteousness of Christ in God. This, beloved, is what truly sets us free. Revelation of this sort can only result in a desire to go, say, and do whatever the Lord might lead. Is this the year of our death to any and all of our own ambitions? Is 2013 the year when we rid ourselves of the flesh and see the Lord "high and lifted up" in our lives? If we ask, He will reveal Himself. It is the great desire of His heart to reveal the truth of ourselves and of His awesome majesty!

Lord God, Holy Father, will You reveal Yourself to us in this upcoming year? Will You show Yourself to us in Your mercy, revealing our hearts while showing us Your great love? Grant us wisdom, Lord. Give us understanding according to Your Holy Spirit. Allow us to walk in great faith as we see You in Your majesty in 2013. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick

 

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