By Revd Abraham Koech, Kenya
Abraham Koech is a senior Africa Inland Church pastor and Vice Principle of Kapsabet Bible College in Kenya. He shared his most recent sermon with us, full of reflections from Isaiah 6 and explains how this passage resonates in the current crisis.
It was a down time for Isaiah and the people of Judah when king Uzziah died. He became king at 16 and reigned for 52 years. He brought prosperity in the land, brought peace, extended territories and many other exploits. Yet he died. What a bad situation the people were in! The future was gloomy, people wore black apparel in mourning, they screamed, they wept, they cried. A real down time.
What should we do when we are in such a situation? In fact, we are in such hard times now due to Covid 19 pandemic. Every sector of the economy is affected. Lives are lost. Fear and worry are affecting us. What should we do based on the experience of Isaiah at such hard times as these?
1. We should see what Isaiah saw (vs.1-4)
Isaiah saw God seated on His throne. Yes, He is still on His throne! Nothing will dethrone Him. He is still king of Kings and Lord of Lords! An earthly king may have died, but the Lord still reigned. He saw the Lord in all His glory. And, it had a profound impact on the life of Isaiah.
When life seems to fall apart at the seams, we need to remember the God who is in control of it all. What appears to be a tragedy to us may be the greatest thing that could happen in our lives. (Other Bible references to look up include: Job, Romans 8:28; 2 Corinthians 4:17). We need to remember just who is in control.
Isaiah saw angels glorifying God. God is the only one to be glorified, as angels did. Glory should not go to men. Let’s not put our trust and hope in men.
He also saw God’s glory – indicative of His presence (v.4). The “house was filled with smoke”. This was a symbol of the presence of God. You will notice that God’s “train” filled the temple. That speaks of His robe. God was the central figure in the Temple. We need to remember this truth as well. We are never alone. Even during the down times of life as we are in now, we still have the presence of the Lord with us at all times (see also Matthew 28:20 and Hebrews 13:5).
Let’s see what Isaiah saw – the Lord on His throne, glorified and present with us.
2. We should sense what Isaiah sensed (vs. 5-7)
Isaiah sensed his own condition of sinfulness (v.5). When he saw the Lord, he instantly realised that there were problems within his own heart. That is what happens when you get close to Him. Moving closer to God and seeing Him as He is, reveals the shortcomings in our own lives.
Maybe Isaiah thought all was well in his life until he saw the Lord in His glory and holiness. When he did, he was made aware of his own shortcomings. Until we see God and are confronted with our own condition before Him, we will remain haughty and proud. When we come face to face with who He is and what we are, it will produce humility and confession.
Isaiah did not cry out “Woe is my neighbour!” He cried out “Woe is me!” Until we are able to see our own failures and our need for repentance before the Lord, we will never come clean. And, the sooner we come clean with the Lord about our own condition, the sooner we will see our downtime start to turn up!
Isaiah also sensed his own cleansing (vs.6-7). Thank God, the Lord does not just point out our sins, He also provides a means for our cleansing. With Isaiah, it was an angel with a live coal from the altar. With us, it is the precious blood of Jesus, 1 John 1:7-9. If we ever see Him as He is and we see ourselves as we are, then we will come before Him in humility and confess our sins.
The closer you get to Him, the worse you look, but, when that realisation comes, and we deal with it in repentance before the Lord, we will experience His cleansing and we will be able to stand in His presence and receive all He has for us. Talk about a downtime turning up! May we ask Him for cleansing as we face the coronavirus pandemic, He will cleanse us.
3. We should say what Isaiah said (vs.8)
Isaiah said, “I am available.” As soon as Isaiah gets His heart clean, he hears the call of the Lord to service. When Isaiah said, “Here am I”, he was saying, “My downtime is over and I am ready for service!”
Let’s also serve the Lord now and even after the pandemic is over. There are many ministries we can do: soul-winning, prayer, encouragement, helping in church, counselling etc. We can make use of the internet and mobile phones among other technologies.
Dear brothers and sisters, there will be times when we will be down in life! You can count on them just as surely as you can count on the sun rising and setting day by day. However, when they do come, you can shorten their duration and severity by focusing on what Isaiah saw, sensing what Isaiah sensed and saying what Isaiah said. A focused heart, a clean heart and a surrendered heart will quickly find itself on the upward path. I know that’s what I want in my life, how about you?