“Welcome to our office. This used to be our oldest son’s bedroom. He was–well, he still is–really into space. My wife painted these walls. Well, let me show you. My wife painted all of these stars and galaxies on the walls. It’s the dark sky on this side of the room but as you move across the ceiling, you see the sun where the light for the room is, and then as you move to the other side of the room, it is full daylight. All of these stars have glow in the dark paint over top of them so when you turn the lights off at night, the stars come alive and it looks like you’re looking out into the night sky. The bed over there–pardon the mess–I made that. It has the phases of the moon as the handles on the drawers. Welcome to our office!”
In this time of social distancing, I find it very ironic that I have been invited into more people’s personal living space than I ever have before. I’ve gotten to see some very cool places but what really has me in awe is the level of intimacy that is offered. Here are some of where I’ve been this past week:
-While doing dishes last Sunday, I was able to go to Michael W. Smith’s living room where he played his piano for me and led me in singing some moving worship music.
-I got to see the Eifel Tower painted on Maddie’s bedroom wall (also strung with Christmas lights) and find out that she loves Paris.
-I got invited into a counseling client’s kitchen and we got to share tears over what it felt like to live in her house.
-Tenth Avenue North invited me into their studio where two of them played around with a bunch of their songs. They made mistakes, questioned which key it was supposed to be in, and joked with me about life. Oh yeah, and they sang songs that stirred my soul.
-I was invited into the living room of a Groucho Marx impersonator and got to see the duck that dropped from the ceiling during “You Bet Your Life.”
-Pastors have invited me into their homes for devotions and churches have said, “You can’t come to us, so we’ll come to you.”
If I offered you a field trip to see the very throne room of heaven (and you don’t have to die first), would you sign up? I think every one of us would say “yes!” That happens in Isaiah, chapter six.
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. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”
And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. (vs. 1-4)
You would think that this would fill Isaiah with praise and joy. We’re talking about seeing God and angels in the throne room of heaven! Instead of joy, Isaiah feared for his very life.
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!” (vs. 5)
Because Isaiah did not die first, he was still in a sinful condition. This is important to note because this will not be our condition if we die with Jesus as our Savior. In that case, our sins will all be washed away and there will be no fear. But for Isaiah, he could not behold the holiness of God without being intimately aware of his sin. It is interesting to me that the sin that Isaiah was most aware of was the sin of his lips. If you were in Isaiah’s shoes, what sin would be foremost in your mind? God did not, however, leave Isaiah in his sinful condition.
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.” (vs. 6-7)
God did not bring Isaiah this vision in order to destroy him! He provided atonement for Isaiah’s sins and, in the process, allowed him to no longer despair. Now, Isaiah was able to be present with the Lord and respond to His call.
And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” (vs. 8)
We may never have a vision like Isaiah’s. We may not be called as a great prophet. But I do believe that each of us is invited into an intimate place with God that is far greater than anything that has happened on the internet.
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” (Revelation 3:20-23)
The very throne room of heaven…inside of us…Jesus is there…a banquet is there…we can sit on His throne! Jesus is knocking, open the door.