DayBreaks for 4/12/19 – The King is Dead, Long Live the King!

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DayBreaks for 4/12/19: The King is Dead – Long Live the King!

From the DayBreaks archive, April 2009:

Isaiah 6 describes a visit of Isaiah to the temple in the year that King Uzziah died.  Uzziah had been king for 52 years – a good one, too.  He’d done wonderful things, and he had been able to hold the mighty Assyrian army, under the command of Tiglath-Pileser at bay on more than one occasion.  But now, now the king is dead. 

We don’t know why Isaiah went to the temple when he did, but perhaps it was because the young man was seeking some reassurance.  The king was dead, now who would protect Judah?  Who would keep them safe, if anyone could, from Assyria?  I don’t doubt that Isaiah had some of these thoughts running through his head as he entered the temple to pray – seeking some peace in the maelstrom with Uzziah’s death.

In two places in Scripture there are retellings of visions that holy men had of our great God.  One is found in Isaiah 6, and the other in Revelation, where John had a vision of God enthroned in glory above.  There are similarities and differences between their two visions that are instructive.  Isaiah’s vision took place first – by a span of about 800 years.  Isaiah describes seeing seraphs around the throne with their 6 wings, covering their eyes, constantly singing (all day and all night forever and ever!), “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord!”  In John’s vision, 800 years later, are seraphim are still singing their never-ending song about God’s holiness, never tiring of giving Him glory.  But while there are many similarities, there are also two things that are radically different:

800 years before, only the angels were singing.  Heaven’s music was performed by a very select and elite company – a chamber choir of angels in God’s throne room.  But now, with John’s vision, that all has changed.  No longer is it just the angels who sing, but all living things in heaven and on earth join into the song! It is no longer an aria reserved for just a few chosen angelic tongues, but it has become the praise song of all creation.

Secondly – and this difference is more noteworthy and important than the first one – in Isaiah’s vision the seraphim around God’s throne use two of their wings to cover their eyes.  Even though these angels around the throne of God must be and are holy because otherwise they would not be permitted into His presence to offer their worship, they could not behold the perfection of God’s holiness.  They must cover their eyes, for His holiness is too much even for these heavenly beings to look upon.  BUT: in John’s vision, the creatures who surround the throne are “covered with eyes, in front and in back.”  Each has six wings still, but now they are covered with eyes all around, even under the wings, according to John.  They are ALL eyes.  They cannot help but to look full upon the Lord who is high and lifted up.

Why the change?  What happened in those 800 years?  John, the beloved disciple, answered the question in his apocalypse: Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne. This is the Lamb that John the Baptist had spoken of when he shouted: “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

The difference is simple, but profound.  While once man – even a man as upright as Isaiah – couldn’t look upon the Lord and even the heavenly host dared not look upon God, now, because of Jesus, the Lamb of God who has taken away the world’s sin, everyone and anyone who calls upon the name of the Lord, can look.  All of us men and women of unclean lips, because of Jesus, can now look directly upon all that was once forbidden even to angels to see. 

And that alone, is the reason that not just the angels sing around the throne after Jesus, but that all creation – even the souls of the mighty prophets who at one time dared not join in that song – can join in and sing: Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty.

Prayer: You are Holy, Lord, and we join our song to that of the living creatures to say without ceasing, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord!”  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

 

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DayBreaks for 5/16/16 – The Shining Face of God

DayBreaks for 5/16/16 – The Shining Face of God

NOTE: Galen will be out of the office and traveling next week. 

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2006:

Psalms 67:1-2 (NIV) – May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us, Selah that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations.

Scripture speaks in several places about the face of God.  We read it, but miss the tremendous meaning behind the face of God shining on us.  Let’s take a moment and consider what it means:

  1. A baby finds affirmation in the face of the parent or sibling. They like to see that smiling face above their crib, and they soon learn that if they do the right things, they bring delight to the face of the one watching, which in turn, brings delight back to the baby – they smile, laugh, and coo in response. They also eventually learn to recognize the displeasure in the face, too, when they do wrong.  We find affirmation or judgment (not sure that’s the right word to use there) in the face of the Father.  When we bring Him joy by our actions, we are filled with joy in response.
  2. The astounding, underlying fact is that this says that God pays attention to us. When we see someone’s face, they can see ours. To turn our face to someone is to give them our undivided attention, to look them in the face and be joined with them in some form of intimate connection.  As the Psalmist elsewhere says, What is man that You are mindful of him?  Or the son of man that Thou should visit him?”  It is a wonder that God should direct his face, his attention, to us.
  3. But it goes far beyond that. It says that God makes his face to “shine” upon us. This is the face of a beaming, tickled-pink, proud parent.  A baby’s first laugh, first crawling, first steps, first soccer goal, piano recital…and the list goes on…all these things make a parent’s face beam with delight and joy.  Like a groom’s face when he sees his bride appear at the end of the aisle, so God’s face beams when His gaze falls upon us – and the best thing is that His gaze is always steadily fixed upon us, never wavering!

Throughout his life, Jesus seemed to see things that the rest of us miss: the lilies of the field, a man sitting up in the branches of a sycamore tree, the blind beggar sitting by the side of the road that we’d told Jesus SAW, the possibility of a man who was more like a pile of sand being turned into a ROCK, the day when the tombs would be opened and the dead would rise.  Jesus sees with God’s eyes.  He sees US with God’s eyes.  And his face beams!

I need to take more time to try to focus on how God sees me in Christ.  I need to believe that He takes delight in ME, not just in the Mother Theresa’s or Billy Graham’s of the world.  And I need to learn to let his face shine not only upon me, but through me – that I can see others as Jesus did.

PRAYER:  Almighty God – how awesome it is to think that you see us with delight.  When our hearts are weighed down with our guilt, shame and when we look in the mirror and are disgusted by what we see, let us hear your voice of delight, and see your face of approval and love.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.