DayBreaks for 2/27/18 – Visiting With Isaiah, #1

DayBreaks for 2/27/17: Visiting With Isaiah, #1

Isaiah 6:1 (ESV) – 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.

On Sunday, we had a guest speaker as it was our church’s global outreach Sunday. His name was Doug Fell and he was from South Africa. His message was awesome as he opened the passage from Isaiah 6:1-8 to our understanding. It was also very convicting. So, for this week, I think I’ll share with you from this amazing passage that relays the incredible story of Isaiah’s vision.

King Uzziah started out to be a good king. Sadly, he didn’t finish his reign as a good king. To some degree, King Uzziah is incidental to this story, though it sets the timeframe for Isaiah’s vision for us. He became king, as co-regent with his father, when he was just 16 years of age and he ruled for 52 years. Toward the end of his life he was struck by leprosy and he died around 740-739 BC.

Even in Israel, kings died – whether they had been good or bad kings made no difference. Every earthly ruler whether they were kings, premiers, presidents, emperors or we called by some other honorific at one time or another found themselves in the grave.

But the one that Isaiah sees in his vision is different in many, many ways – about as different as darkness is from light. When Isaiah sees the king in his vision, he doesn’t even call him by the name king, but by the term, the Lord.

The Lord is in a position of kingship: he is seated on a throne, but not just any throne, one that is high and lifted up. The image is that of a King that isn’t ordinary in any sense of the word, but of an extremely exalted King. It isn’t Uzziah who sits on this throne, for he has just died. There is only one throne in the vision and only one who is worthy and glorious enough to be seated upon it. 

Note the description of the King: not only is he seated on a lofty throne, the train of his robe filled the temple. Pause for a moment and reflect on a coronation ceremony that you may have seen on television, or in photographs. As the royal personage makes their way through the cathedral or inauguration location, they are dressed in their finest royal accoutrements. They have huge “trains” that follow them as a symbol of their importance and honor. The train may drag on the ground or be lifted by lesser humans as a sign of respect, glory and the  magnificence of the person being crowned – as if the one being inaugurated is too lofty to be soiled by the dirt on the floor. But, when all is considered, the train is fairly small compared to the building.

Not so with the king in Isaiah’s vision: his train fills the entire temple. What does that mean? It means that this king’s glory and honor and magnificence is without limit. It is overwhelming. It means that there is no room for glorifying anyone or anything else. THIS King is unlike any other king who has ever been royalty. He is different in honor and glory by magnitudes of scale.

How would you react to this King if it had been you instead of Isaiah who saw it? Stay tuned for Isaiah’s reaction in the next few days, but for now, simply dwell on the most magnificent scene of honor you have ever seen and multiply it by infinity and perhaps you’ll get a sense for the King of Isaiah’s vision. The vision changed Isaiah – the question is will it change us?

PRAYER: God of heaven and earth – how often we neglect to ponder your magnificence and the honor that is due to your name! How seldom we get a glimpse of your glory because we are too busy frantically running to and fro with our own affairs. Bring us up short and help us get even the slightest vision of you in all your magnificence, and may it change us forever! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 3/18/15: The Ascension’s First Ten Feet

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DayBreaks for 3/18/15: The Ascension’s First Ten Feet

When I am lifted up I will draw all people to myself. – Jesus, John 12:32

People like to be exalted, to be lifted up and become visible for their achievements and deeds and intellects.  I suppose it is a normal part of the human condition that we are so self-seeking.  But it’s not a good part.  Even Jesus talked about being lifted up – but he had something far different in mind than seeking something for himself. 

If you are tempted to take Jesus’ statement from John 12:32 to be referring to something flashy and glitzy, John goes on to stick in a little commentary in verse 33 to clarify the “lifting up” Jesus had in mind: it was being lifted up with nails in his wrists and feet – it was the cross. The day would come when Jesus would be lifted up again at the time of his ascension into heaven, but I think it is entirely fair (and appropriate) to say that the first ten feet of the ascension came on the cross.  Jesus’ upward journey started when the Roman soldiers hoisted him up skyward at the Place of the Skull, but it certainly wouldn’t stop there.  It continued when he was lifted up again from the dead…and once more when he lifted off from the mountain top to return to the Father.

In this, as in all things, Jesus is teaching us: if you want to fly off into glory with Jesus, you’ve got to be part of the first ten feet of the trip as well. As Scott Hoezee put it: You can’t prop up a stepladder on the side of the cross, climb it, and then meet Jesus at the top for the balance of the journey to glory. You’ve got to be crucified with him. You have to be the kernel who gets buried into death with him. “Where I am, my servant will also be.” But as a servant, it is not up to you to pick and choose the times and places you want to be with Jesus. You are with him always and everywhere or you are with him never and nowhere.

We look forward to having our bodies lifted up out of the grave when He comes again with a shout and in great glory.  It’s the first ten feet that are the hardest.  The question is: will we take that part of the journey or not?

Philippians 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Read that again carefully: it was precisely because of those first 10 feet of Christ’s rise to glory that the rest of his journey took place, and it is precisely the reason that God has given him a name above every name.

PRAYER: Jesus, we want to be partakers of your victory and to receive the glory that you have planned for us…but we aren’t so anxious about those first ten feet.  Please, PLEASE…give us courage to climb the cross and hang there with you as the starting point of our journey!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 03/27/12 – The First Ten Feet

DayBreaks for 03/27/12 – The First Ten Feet

The first ten feet must be traveled.

“When I am lifted up,” Jesus goes on to say, “I will draw all people to myself.” – John 12:32

Lest we are tempted to think that Jesus was talking about seeing his name on the marquee as the star of the show, that he was talking about his fame and popularity rising and soaring to the stratosphere, the apostle John throws in a bit of commentary in verse 33 to set the record straight and remove any mystery from what Jesus meant.  What Jesus had in mind wasn’t being raised up on a star stage, but being lifted up on the cross.  Not long hence, Jesus would get lifted up during the ascension into heaven, but the first ten feet of the ascension back to heaven came by way of a cross. Jesus’ upward journey started when the Roman soldiers hoisted him up skyward at the Place of the Skull.

All Christians look forward to the time when we fly off into glory with Jesus, don’t we?  It is something that we long for, we anticipate.  Scripture even suggests it is a motive for perseverance!  As Scott Hoezee, in Comments and Observations wrote: “So if you want to fly off into glory with Jesus, you’ve got to be part of the first ten feet of the trip as well. You can’t prop up a stepladder on the side of the cross, climb it, and then meet Jesus at the top for the balance of the journey to glory. You’ve got to be crucified with him. You have to be the kernel who gets buried into death with him. “Where I am, my servant will also be.” But as a servant, it is not up to you to pick and choose the times and places you want to be with Jesus. You are with him always and everywhere or you are with him never and nowhere.”

I sometimes fear that we’re so eager to take wings and fly with Jesus that we’re not willing to crawl up on our cross and be lifted up with him first.

PRAYER: In our hurry to get to the day when we “fly away”, don’t let us neglect the first 10 feet of the journey!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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