Dabar [theme]

He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou find refuge: His truth is a shield and buckler
Psalms 91:4

Be it ours,when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of His wings. C.H. Spugeon

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Cult of the Fellowship of Burnt Lips

In Isaiah 6, there is the story of the anointing of Isaiah for the continuance of his ministry of prophecy in the land. The government of the land is in a transition as the previous ruler has been removed from power by either illness or death.

Isaiah 6:6-7 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said:

"Behold, this has touched your lips;
Your iniquity is taken away,
and your sin purged."

Isaiah had previous to this event been given a vision of God and His holiness and responds with the following exclamation denoting his awestruck reverence and dismay at being placed in the very presence of the glory of God.

"Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips."

Now why was this? Partly because after the golden years of Uzziah's reign, in which money and splendor were corrupting the hearts of the people, it was necessary that the leaders at least, or many like Isaiah who stood in the forefront, should be lifted to a higher level. You must understand from the previous chapters of his book how the dwellers of Zion, the men and women of Jerusalem, and, indeed, all the people, were being corrupted by the sin, the fashion, the worldliness, and the money making of their time, and how needful it was, therefore, that God should raise a new standard amongst them by the hand of Isaiah, who stood closest to Him.

It may be that at this time, the very prosperity of our land, the years of peace, the influx of peoples from other cultures, and the increase of wealth have been subtly undermining the religious life of our people, so that some of our Judeo-Christian foundations are being broken down. Perhaps family worship is no longer maintained as it was. The children are no longer trained, as once, in the habits of godliness. The high morale of our people, derived from our noble ancestry (developed under persecution and want), may have been disintegrating while we have devoted our energies in other directions than in whole-hearted devotion to God. At such times it is God's habit to call around Himself His Isaiahs, His servants, those who stand nearest to Him, the members of His church, and to lift them up to a new level of Christian living, that from that moment they may be the pivot on which a lever may work to lift the entire nation.

As I have studied this passage it is affirmed in me that there are certain truths which need to be understood. I have sought to fulfill the mandate as an Elder in the Church,(teaching, speaking, leading) having felt that I had a certain gifting. It is apparent to me that that gifting was for a time and place specific. As I look at Isaiah in this passage I see his need for a touch from God and that affirmation, that in spite of the changes in the land there is a need for him to continue. It may have been at that time Isaiah was thinking his ministry was completed, having fulfilled the mandate of prophesying to Uzziah until this time of Uzziah's demise. This second commissioning is part of God's maintenance program, His declaration of His positioning of Isaiah in that place at that time for His purpose. It is in the strength of this confirming vision that Isaiah is able to continue, for it is said of this people that they are hard-hearted and dull of hearing and will not respond in spite of the truths that are displayed and lived out in the prophet's life.

The question was asked What expectation? What promise? What strength? What value does your (the) conversion experience have on your sense of God's greatness and/or your view of the potential for yourself as a worker in God's Kingdom? Does it overcome complacency? Does it promote holiness? Is it a place where you are consoled and free from regret? Does it provide assurance of God's grace? Does it expose the nature of God to your heart?

F.B. Meyer says, "...fall back on the philosophy of the will. Be willing to be clean. Be willing to be made willing. (sound familiar, think P.K.) Then say to Christ: "I am eager to have my leprosy cleansed; if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean"; and immediately He will stretch forth His hand and touch you, saying, "I will, be thou clean." And you will be delivered.

This must be done by God. We work and strive to add to the Kingdom of God, both within our hearts and numerically for the Church, searching for nuances of truth and enlightenment, attempting to make more palatable and inviting the truth of the Lordship and Mastery of Christ, vainly trying to achieve that which only God can do. We desire for the deeper meaning of Godliness and hunger for teachers to expand our lives, without realizing the itchy-ear syndrome that has infected our minds and closed off the hearing and seeing of God working and calling us to personally 'work out our salvation with fear and trembling'.

Jesus said "I will be lifted up and draw all men to myself."

Hudson Taylor once said, "I used to ask God if He would come and help me; then I asked God if I might come and help Him; then I ended by asking God to do His own work through me."

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