We're turning in our Bibles to Isaiah chapter 6 for our reading tonight. If you haven't been with us previously, we're going through a series entitled 'Divine Encounters', what can happen in a moment with God - and we've been looking at various Bible characters. But if you turn to Isaiah 6, we're looking tonight at 'Isaiah In The Throne Room', but before we read we're going to pray and ask God's blessing upon our time tonight. We sense His presence already with us, but we want to really draw Him to us by faith in a more definite way. Let's pray:
Father, we come to You, we worship You, we worship You. We're about to read about how You're the Holy, Holy, Holy Lord of Hosts. We've been singing about looking into Your holiness, Lord. We don't want to be giving lip service to these kind of weighty terms. Lord, You are holy, and there is none beside You. There is no God like our God, and we just lift You up, Lord, and we worship the Lord Jesus Christ as the one Mediator between God and men. Lord Jesus, we declare tonight that You are Lord, and that You are the way, the truth, and the life, and no one can come to God the Father except via You. Lord Jesus, You have brought us to the Father, and You have made Him our Abba, and we thank You. Blessed Holy Spirit, we thank You that You have taken the things of Christ, and that You have revealed them to us, and You have brought the Father and the Son to us, Holy Spirit - and we need You tonight. We wait upon Father, Son, Holy Spirit, that our fellowship will be with You tonight. Lord, meet with us; Lord, we don't want to be talking about 'Divine Encounters', we want to have one, and we want us corporately to meet with You, and we want individually to know a touch from You. We all need it, Lord. Lord, You are the God who has delivered us, is delivering us, and will deliver us one day. We trust You for that as we wait upon You now, in Jesus' mighty name. Everybody said: Amen.
Now, verse 1 then of Isaiah 6: “In the year that King Uzziah died”, Isaiah says, “I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: 'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!'. And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. So I said: 'Woe is me, for I am undone! Because 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'. 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'. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: 'Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?'. Then I said, 'Here am I! Send me'. And He said, 'Go, and tell this people'” - and we'll end our reading there.
'Divine Encounters' has been our series: what can happen in a moment with God. We're talking about close encounters of the Divine kind, and we've been taking these well-known stories of personal encounters with God. We could say an awful lot about them, we could do expository ministry - we haven't been, because we are wanting particularly to focus on this aspect of their meeting with God and the consequence of it to their lives, and indeed wider than themselves. What happens in a moment with God? When a person is surprised by a Divine encounter, when they have a brush with the Almighty - one term that is used in Scripture is to 'come face-to-face with God', I don't think that's literal, but it's metaphorical of what it is to have one of these experiences. We highlighted, and it bears repeating again, that we believe in a personal God. If we believe in a personal God, we must be, therefore, open to personal experiences with our God. If we believe in relationship rather than religion, then we need to welcome encounters with our personal God that we are in relationship with. We said as well that a life without personal experiences would be less than half a life, equally a Christian life without Divine encounters is less than half a Christian life. Life would be very boring if we didn't have personal encounters with people, yes? Equally so, the Christian life would be very boring - and it is for many people - because they are not encountering the God who they are in relationship with.
I quoted a Christian writer and speaker who said, and I repeat again: 'The need to have a personal encounter with God, this is what builds our personal history: we must encounter One who is bigger than we are in every possible way, until He leaves a mark. It is wonderful, glorious, and scary!'. We've seen that in the life of 'Moses At The Burning Bush', 'Jacob At Jabbok' as he wrestled with God, back in December we looked at Gideon who met God through the Angel of the Lord at the winepress as he was threshing out wheat. Tonight we're looking at Isaiah, as he meets the Lord in the Throne Room. I have four points, practical points to take from this chapter to bring to you, in order again, as I've said over and over again, for you to position yourself for a Divine encounter.
The first thing I want you to see is the context of Isaiah's encounter was certainly not a mountaintop - and, therefore, generally speaking, the context of God-encounters is not always the mountaintop. You don't have to be on a spiritual high to have an encounter. So if you feel right away that you're rock bottom this evening, spiritually speaking, don't think for one moment that that disqualifies you from encountering God - in fact, on the contrary, it may well qualify you, as we shall see. Do you remember when we looked at Moses' encounter with the Lord at the burning bush, where was he? He was in a wilderness, and years in the wilderness preceded this encounter with the Lord. His heart was filled with disappointment, he felt probably that he had missed God's call upon his life to deliver the Israelites from Egyptian bondage. He felt a failure, but all of that paved the way to this face-to-face engagement with God. Forty years in the desert, he was nowhere we might say, he is now 80 years old; and yet that is the time that God shows up and reveals Himself to Moses.
You might be in the wilderness tonight, as we've said before, and your wilderness years that you've gone through will not be wasted if you continue to pursue the Lord. God actually, like He did for Moses, can ignite the wilderness experience for you and reveal Himself to you as the great 'I AM'. We saw that that means 'whatever you need, God will supply that need in Himself', 'I AM whatever you need' - it's an unfinished sentence. You might look at Isaiah here and say: 'But, was Isaiah not on a high, rather than being in a valley - because he sees the Lord high and lifted up, the train of His robe filling the Temple' - and this is great, it's an incredible sight of an earthquake and angelic creatures that are out of this world, seraphim and all the rest. I mean, is this not the highest pinnacle of spiritual, mystical experience? Well, no, it's not - at least, it's not preceded by a mountaintop, it's preceded by a low; because it says 'In the year the King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord'. In fact, not only did this begin with a low, it started in a place of grief, a place of mourning, loss, and sorrow. So, even in grief, you can have a God-encounter, even in your darkest hour, during what some have called 'the dark night of the soul' - that, in fact, can be a preparation for God to show up.
It was in the year that King Uzziah died that Isaiah saw the Lord. Another name for King Uzziah is Azariah, and we find out from the biblical biography of this King that he had a long and distinguished reign. At 16 years of age he took the throne, and he reigned for 52 years. Scripture testifies that Azariah, Uzziah, was a good king. I want you to turn with me, please, to 2 Chronicles chapter 26, because we have a lot of personal details about this King in this chapter. Second Chronicles 26 verse 5, it says Azariah, or Uzziah: 'sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God; and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him prosper'. So he did seek the Lord at a time when God was really speaking through His prophet. There is a principle there: as long as he sought the Lord, he prospered - and boy, this King did prosper. He is known as a great ruler, a great military commander, and also an innovator in his time, and a moderniser in society - even through technology of the age. If you look at verse 8 we see that: 'Also the Ammonites brought tribute to Uzziah. His fame spread as far as the entrance of Egypt, for he became exceedingly strong'. If you go down to verse 15, we read: 'And he made devices in Jerusalem, invented by skillful men, to be on the towers and the corners, to shoot arrows and large stones', now watch this statement, 'So his fame spread far and wide, for he was marvellously helped till he became strong'. He was marvellously helped until he became strong.
Now that term in Hebrew, 'marvellously helped', has a meaning that is equivalent to the New Testament idea of the enabling work of the Spirit. Do you understand? 'Marvellously helped' has the same sense as some terms in the New Testament talking about how the Spirit helps us. One example, we'll not look at them all, is Romans chapter 8, just listen, verse 26, you're familiar, I'm sure, with this verse: 'Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered'. It's the same terminology there, the Spirit helps us in our weaknesses, and Uzziah was marvellously helped - the inference is that God, by the power of His Spirit, helped this man until he was made strong, the verse says. What does that mean? Until he got too big for his boots!
It's hard to carry a full cup, isn't it? It's hard to steward success. That's what this man had, but he couldn't carry it. Look at what happened, because this is his downfall - we'll read verse 16 through to 21 of 2 Chronicles 26: 'But when he was strong his heart was lifted up, to his destruction, for he transgressed against the LORD his God by entering the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense. So Azariah the priest went in after him, and with him were eighty priests of the LORD; valiant men. And they withstood King Uzziah, and said to him, 'It is not for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the LORD, but for the priests, the sons of Aaron, who are consecrated to burn incense. Get out of the sanctuary, for you have trespassed! You shall have no honor from the LORD God'. Then Uzziah became furious; and he had a censer in his hand to burn incense. And while he was angry with the priests, leprosy broke out on his forehead, before the priests in the house of the LORD, beside the incense altar. And Azariah the chief priest and all the priests looked at him, and there, on his forehead, he was leprous; so they thrust him out of that place. Indeed he also hurried to get out, because the LORD had struck him. King Uzziah was a leper until the day of his death. He dwelt in an isolated house, because he was a leper; for he was cut off from the house of the LORD'.
You see, Uzziah had transgressed a law in Israel that no King should also operate as a priest. In fact, the offices of prophet, priest, and King, you know, were not meant to be combined until Messiah. Jesus is our Prophet, Priest, and King - but no one could fulfil that until He came. But here the King takes it upon himself to execute a priestly role against the law of the Lord, out of pride. We might say that he had a Messiah-complex, he was trying to fulfil a role that only Jesus would as He comes as the anointed Christ. That's often what pride is, by the way, a Messiah-complex. It appears, generally speaking, that the people of the land, and specifically even the prophet of God, had got their eyes off the Lord and put their eyes on this great King. Certainly the King had taken his eyes off the enabling Spirit of God, and put his eyes on himself and his own position - but the people were doing the same, because of the prosperity that they were enjoying from the hand of God - but then they forgot the hand that blessed them. So it was in that context that Isaiah needed to see the Lord again, something had to die in Isaiah's life before God could do something new. It was in the year that King Uzziah died that he got his eyes off the King and his eyes back on the Lord.
So, here is this principle that the context of Divine encounter is not always a mountaintop; in fact, perhaps more, it is a valley, perhaps on the contrary, it is a place where God allows us to be stripped, God allows us to go through the ringer, as it were. I'm not saying He does it, but He allows that to happen whenever we need something to die in order that the new might live. That is the second principle that I'm sharing with you tonight: something old needs to die for something new to be born. You see, we can get into a very comfortable state. I wonder, I want to ask you tonight personally: is there something that needs to die within you? In fact, could God, at this very moment, be killing something in you right now in order that His new thing might live. Now, that's a strange thing to think about, it seems a strange time for God to show up and come and meet with us, engage with us personally, and even call us further and deeper with Him. Your world could be crashing down around your ears tonight, sometimes that's the way it happens: that outward experiences conspire to set you up for a God-encounter. That's exactly what happened in Isaiah's life: it was a time of grief, a time of loss, uncertainty, he was disorientated, he was in a crisis - and it was a personal crisis for him, but it was a national crisis for the land. He wasn't even spiritually match-fit, as we will see in a few moments, he was a backslider, it would seem, to a degree. Yet God appeared to him, because something new needed to happen, something old needed to die, something new needed to be born.
Here is a warning for all of us as God's people, because we, historically and even today, have a tendency that whenever God blesses a man or a woman in history, a movement is founded - and it's not very long until that movement becomes a monument, to put it another way: an empty institution to what God did in a bygone era and a movement that was born. So often God's people make the mistake of worshipping what God did, and even the blessings that accrued from a move of God and a man of God, but fail to move into (because a movement's got to be moving, is that not correct?) move into whatever God is doing now. Jesus said that God is always at work, and Jesus said 'I am always at work'.
For Him to do His new thing in Isaiah's life, the old had to die - the old had to die, listen to this carefully, the old had to die so that Isaiah could encounter God in a new way. Boy, he got one of the greatest God-encounters in the Bible, didn't he? 'I saw the Lord high and lifted up, the train of the robe filled Temple', smoke everywhere, fire everywhere, seraphim, celestial beings that can hardly be described - that's what he's seeing. I don't know whether he's in the body or out of the body, I don't know whether it was a vision or transportation, I'm not sure, but I know it was real - something out of this world. In fact, John tells us in his Gospel, John chapter 12 that the One whom Isaiah saw sitting on the throne was the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. He saw Jesus. Have you ever seen Jesus? I mean, really seen Him, physically? Isaiah did, and he's not even a New Covenant believer - it's something else, isn't it? Please grasp this: it's in a split-second, in a split-second this man is moved from this despondency of this idol - that's what this King was to him, literally and metaphorically he was his idol, he was the people's idol - in a moment he's gone, he's plunged into the depths of despair; but in a split-second, a supernatural split-second, he is transported into the very immediate presence of Jesus Christ in the Throne Room in the Holy of Holies in Heaven!
Do you see what God can do? Don't give up hope! Don't give up hope! All it takes is a moment and everything can change. So what he got, and this is the third thing I want to share with you - the context is not always the mountaintop, something old needs to die for something new to be born - but he got a new revelation, and that's what we need: a new revelation of God. He got a new revelation, specifically, of the Saviour. I'm not sure what he understood about the Saviour, but if anybody understood it in the Old Testament, it was Isaiah - if you read his prophecy further on, especially the Suffering Servant, Isaiah 52 and 53 and the rest - you know that, when he met Christ that day, God the Spirit implanted something in his heart about what redemptive history was going to be. So what we need is a new revelation of our Saviour, but something more: a revelation of our sin.
Now I have often said - I don't know whether I've said it here or not - but the two greatest things, the two greatest gifts that God can give you is showing you who He really is, and secondly showing you what you're really like and who you really are; whether it's in sin, or whether it's in Christ. The first thing we get here in this encounter is a revelation of God. You remember that Moses got it, a name was revealed to Moses that nobody ever knew before for God, and of course His nature is often revealed in His name. Here we see that there is something new, especially to Isaiah, that is being revealed here, personally of God. Look at the verses just again, I know we're familiar with them and we read them, but let's read them again - and try to picture this, read it as if you've never read it before: 'I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said' - the idea is that they are overcome, they are overcome, and there is this perpetual cry one to the other. So you see it, one seraphim saying: 'Holy, holy, holy', and the other seraphim is replying 'Holy, holy, holy' - this is just going on continually. They can't get over what they're seeing. It's not because they're some kind of robots, or God's programmed them to be like this, it's because they are getting such a continual revelation of the greatness and magnificence, the majesty, the splendour, the dignity of God that they're overwhelmed and all they can do is say 'Holy, holy, holy!', and the only response is 'Holy, holy, holy!'. What was it like?
''The whole earth is full of His glory!'. And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke'. That's what we call 'Shekinah Glory', 'Shekinah' is the figures, the images, and really the manifestations that take place when God is around. 'Shekinah' is not God Himself, but it's the type of sounds, sights, smells that happen when God is about. So often the motifs of fire, smoke, light, darkness, voices - we could go on, there are others - are indicating signs that God is around. We could go through all Scripture and bear that out. Have you ever had a revelation of God like this? Well, maybe not identical to Isaiah's of course, I don't think that's out of the question - but have you ever been in a place before God where you have been overwhelmed, lost in wonder, love, and praise. A.W. Tozer, whose writings I would highly recommend, 'The Pursuit of God' is one of the greatest books I read in my youth that spurred me on to do just that, seek after the Lord. I think it's in that book, or maybe it's Leonard Ravenhill describes how A.W. Tozer would go into the study to pray to God - and he'd be, you know, suited and booted, and well-dressed, but when he entered into that study he would put on a set of overalls, and he would lie on the floor on his belly, prostrate himself in worship before the Lord, and he would just meditate upon His greatness and worship Him.
A God-encounter will mean that you get a revelation, a greater capacity to conceive - not just in your mind, I'm not talking about theological dogma here, we're talking about personal encounter with the Living God, where you are overawed by the fear of the Lord in the truest sense, because the fear of the Lord comes through love when you encounter the great God of love in such a way. Even these pure creatures, remember these seraphim are pure creatures - they've got six wings, it says with two they cover their face. I mean, they are holy themselves, and yet they cannot look on the radiant, piercing, scalding holiness of the God whom they worship - incredible, isn't it? With two they cover their face, with two they cover their feet. They are worshipping by covering their face, covering their feet, and with two they flew - so the ratio here is, isn't it, two-thirds worship, one-third service - that's interesting. If we want God-encounters we have to stop running around like the proverbial you-know-what, and we need to get before God and start to gaze. We try to - and I do it to, and discipline is not a bad thing - we try to sort of work ourselves into God's presence. There is a sense in which we may be able to enter His gates with thanksgiving, enter His courts with praise, and there are means whereby we can encounter God - but why not try beholding the Lord? We are changed from glory into glory into the same image as we behold the Lord, meditate upon Him, gaze upon Him, worship Him.
But I'm afraid there's a public health warning, because a new revelation of your Saviour will inevitably bring a new revelation of sin. If there is sin, when crutches like King Uzziah, comforts, wrong dependencies are removed, and then God reveals Himself, our secret sins are also revealed. Look at verse 5, in the presence of this awesome holiness Isaiah cries out: 'Woe is me, for I am undone! Because 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'. It's interesting, isn't it: Isaiah's strength was his weakness, Isaiah's strength was his weakness. It was the same with Moses - what was his strength? Sure, he killed a man, he believed he was the deliverer of Israel from Egypt, and he killed a man - he tried to do it in the arm of flesh. So his physical, his mental, his positional strength was his weakness; and that's what caused him to go into the backside of the desert for the forty years until he had nothing, and then God called him - until he was empty and broken himself, and then God showed up and said 'You're ready', and then Moses' retort was 'I'm not ready, I'm not going!'. It's the same with Jacob, his strength was his weakness. Remember Jabbok? What did he do? He wrestled with God, and we discovered that he was actually wrestling with himself - yes? He should have submitted, he had to be broken at that point, because his strength was his weakness.
Here we see the same with Isaiah, what am I talking about? Well, Isaiah has been called the Shakespeare of the Old Testament. I'm not a scholar of Hebrew by any means, but I'm told that the standard and quality of the Hebrew in Isaiah's prophecy far exceeds other literature. So he was no mean intellect, he had a way with words, but what's the sin that he confesses? 'Unclean lips' - isn't that interesting? His strength was his weakness - and he's a prophet too, and he's confessing unclean lips! Now I don't know what it was that he was confessing specifically, I might have to apologise to Isaiah when I see him - but was it bad language? Perhaps. Was it dirty talk? I don't know. Was it lying? None of us is beyond it, even prophets. Was it slander? We've all fallen into that trap, haven't we? Censoriousness, judgementalism, criticism - was it exaggeration? Well, many a servant of God has been guilty of that. Was it flattery? Or, perhaps, could it have been how he used his prophetic gift in some way? I don't know. Were there selfish motives involved? I'm not sure. We don't know, but we do know it was something to do with his lips, it was something to do with his speech. It appears that he became infected and affected by the people around him, so the status quo, the conditioning, he dwells among a people of unclean lips - so he had basically caved in to the pressure around him, and he was compromising in some way. But he becomes undone in the presence of this new revelation of his Saviour.
Have you ever been undone in the presence of God? I think I might have, I'm not sure - I'm just being honest. The word 'undone' means 'ruined', 'lost', nearly feeling 'it's all over for me'. It's not because we don't appreciate the adoption that we have in Christ, we're not ignoring all these wonderful grace truths of the new covenant, and God as our Abba Father. What we're talking about is: every time God shows up, to any degree other than just some invisible presence that we believe in, when He manifests His presence, men and women usually fall down as if they are dead - because He is just so great, so awesome. How could you not feel undone?
Isaiah thought he was going to die, but isn't it wonderful that where sin abounds, grace does much more abound. When he confessed his sin, in a moment - praise God! - the Saviour that was seated on that throne, in a moment, when he confessed his sin, there was an angelic being took a bloody fire-infused coal from off the holy altar, and touched his lips. With blood and fire he was cleansed from his sin in a moment! You see, when we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with the other, and the blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanses us from all sin. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Basically what this was - without Isaiah probably realising it - was a revelation of the cross: the Saviour on the throne, the sacrifice at the altar, the application of the blood. If you want a Divine encounter, you will inevitably travel the way of a deeper experience of Calvary, a crucifying of the flesh. This coal touched his lips, the cleansing power of the blood, the fire of the Holy Spirit of God transformed this man - and what did God do? The very thing that the enemy used, God takes, He cleanses, He sanctifies, and He uses for Himself. I love that! I see it regularly with people, that the very area that the devil has a victory over is the area that they take up again, God having transformed them, and smack the devil in the mouth with it.
Isaiah could say: 'Take my lips and let them be, consecrated, Lord, to Thee'. A moment with God can transform your Achilles heel, whatever your weakness is - it could be your supposed strength that actually is your weakness - but God can take, in that moment, God can meet you and God can take your weakness and make it a true strength in Him. When you give Him your weakness, His strength can be made perfect in our weakness - isn't that what Paul said? Isn't that what happened to Gideon? He's threshing wheat in the winepress, scared of the Midianites, and God comes to him and says: 'You mighty man of valour, go in this your strength'. God makes him into one of the greatest warriors that has ever lived in the history of the Bible. Don't despair over your weakness, whatever it might be. As I said at the beginning of this message, it might even be the very thing that qualifies you for a Divine encounter.
So we learn from Isaiah in the Throne Room that the context is not always the mountaintop; something old needs to die for something new to be born; a new revelation of your Saviour and your sin will be inevitable if you encounter the Lord; and finally tonight: encounters often endue the recipient for some commission. Divine encounters often endue the recipient for some commission. All of this, the spiritual pyrotechnics, the sound, the shock and awe of this Throne Room experience, it was all preparation to hear God's call into Isaiah's heart in verse 8: 'I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: 'Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?'' - there's the Trinity, right there. It was preparation not only for the call, but it was positioning Isaiah for the response in verse 9, He said: 'Go, and tell this people'. Isaiah said 'Here am I! Send me', and God said 'Go, and tell this people'.
You remember we saw this same principle in Moses' Divine encounter, that it effected the deliverance of a nation? He was being sent to Pharaoh to say 'Let my people go!', to do all these great signs and wonders as a judgement against the gods of Egypt so that that spirit of Pharaoh would be broken and God's people would be redeemed through the blood of the lamb. Divine encounters are not for selfish indulgence, they are not a charismatic collector's item, they are for a purpose! Encounters equip us to be something for God. Divine encounters are for redemptive purpose. Sure, even the Pentecostal outpouring on the early church in Acts chapter 1 verse 8: 'You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the world'. The Holy Spirit was poured out not to give us warm fuzzy feelings, not to give us thrills and spills - and some of those things might come as a by-product - but ultimately it was for the salvation of the world that the Holy Spirit was poured out, so that they would go into all the world and preach the Gospel as Jesus had commissioned them. There would be signs following, but they had to go - and that's why they were up in the Upper Room, there were 120 believers waiting for the promise of the Father that they heard from Jesus, but in the moment when (look at the Shekinah again) the sound of a mighty rushing wind, tongues of fire upon their heads, the Holy Spirit comes and what does He do? He flushes them all out of the Upper Room onto the market square, and the power of God encounters the public so that everyone hears in their own language. Pentecost pushed them onto the street, and if you're not prepared to be anything or do anything for God, don't expect a life-changing encounter.
Now, again, I'm not saying that all these men that had them were all that before it, but it would certainly quicken your experience of an encounter with God if you can say: 'Lord, here am I, here am I! Send me'. You do know, don't you, that God wants to change the world? Some people think you're kind of arrogant, or pompous, or have a secret - especially in our country - you know, people who make big statements, people are sceptical of them. When you talk about a wee meeting like this - look around you here, you know, you're not all that. It's a lovely place and all the rest, you're lovely people, but look at you - really, in the big scheme of things, what are we? Yet we believe in a great God, and I believe that if the Lord can turn the world upside down with twelve men - and they were young fellows, young fellows, not very educated some of them - if the Lord can turn the world upside down (and that was attributed to them not by anyone but secular society: 'These men turned the world upside down') because of the power of the Holy Spirit, why can He not do that with us? Do you believe that God can change the world from Loughbrickland? Hello? People down the A1 in Belfast haven't even heard of Loughbrickland, you do know that! They don't know where it is! But God can change the world in a meeting like this. 'Your head's cut! Really?'. Do not underestimate the power and effect of a Divine encounter for even one man, whether it's Moses, Jacob who became Israel - they're still around, you know, Gideon, Isaiah.
D.L. Moody had his Divine encounter, he said: 'The blessing came upon me suddenly like a flash of lightning. For months I had been hungering and thirsting for power in service, I had come to that point where I think I would have died if I had not got it. I remember I was walking the streets of New York, I had no more heart in the business I was about than if I had not been in the world at all. Well, one day, oh what a day, I cannot describe it, I seldom refer to it, it is almost too sacred and experience to name. Right there, on the streets, the power of God seem to come upon me so wonderfully that I had to ask God to stay His hand. I was filled with a sense of God's goodness, and I felt as though I could take the whole world to my heart. I took the old sermons I had preached before without any power, it was the same old truth but there was a new power. Many were impressed and converted, this happened years after I was converted myself. I would not now be placed back where I was before that blessed experience if you could give me all the world, it would be as the small dust in the balance'. Now other men had similar experiences to Moody, however other men and women equally used of God had no great manifestations like Moody but were equally filled by the Spirit. The danger is that we try to replicate somebody else's experience - that's not what it's about. But we've got to realise like Moody, who said: 'The world has yet to see what God can do with one man completely surrendered to Him' - Moody said that! What could God do with you if you had your encounter?
Let's pray. Now our meeting is almost over, but in the presence of the Lord, Who is here, will you humble yourself? Have you heard the voice of God tonight challenging some false securites, perhaps, that you've been looking to? Christians in our land are experts at looking to a doctrine, to a denomination, to a political persuasion, to a Bible version, to a religious activity. Will you choose to look away from those things and see the Lord, high and lifted up, the transcendent One who is above all of those things? 'You shall have no other gods before Me', He says - 'No idols, no obsessions, no addictions, Me', for He is worthy. As you look on His greatness, and as you see that the One sitting on that throne is the Saviour with nail-prints in His hands, maybe there are sins that you have to confess. Will you do that? Will you repent of them? Will you come to the foot of the cross? Will you allow the Lord Jesus, by His Holy Spirit, to cleanse you in whatever area you require that? Let Him take that blood-soaked, fire-infused coal from Calvary, and touch you in that very area, touch you in your mind, touch you in your mouth, touch you in your motives, touch you in your morality, touch you in what your hands do, in where your feet take you. Let Him touch you tonight, cleanse you, and set you free. There is power in the blood of Jesus, not just to forgive and cleanse you from guilt, but there is power to set you free from the power of sin and Satan. Will you take the low place, will you confess, and will you let Him touch you - and then, will you listen? Don't listen to the enemy at that point, the enemy will tell you that you're no use, you've admitted it, you did this that and the other, and you're weak - but will you not listen to him, but rather listen to the Lord who wants, in that moment of your humility, cleansing, and fitting, He wants to commission you? He wants to give you a word, He wants to call you, He wants to commend you to do something, and He wants to empower you to do it! Some of us get so drowned in the 'Woe is me!', that we can't hear the 'Whom shall I send?'. That's dangerous, that's enemy territory - the Lord wants us to move from the 'Woe' to the 'Go', 'Go, and tell this people'. Maybe the Lord is saying to you: 'Will you stop wallowing in the woe, and would you get up and go?'. 'Woe unto me if preach not the Gospel'.
Lord, I pray for this company, and I feel that You have really met with us tonight, and I thank You for that, we don't take that for granted that all. I don't entirely know what You're doing in people personally, but I believe and trust that You are working deeply; and I just pray, Father, that You would continue. I pray that the enemy will not be permitted to snatch away the seed of the word. I ask You, Lord, that it will find good ground in our hearts, and that it will bear much fruit for Your glory - because You ordained us, chose us to bear much fruit for Your glory. Lord, thank You for being with us tonight, we thank You for what You're doing, and even pray for the CD as people are listening perhaps now to this message. Lord, would You take this message, and wherever it finds a hearing would You do a miracle in somebody's life, and would You show up - and may we all, Lord, have our encounters with You. We pray that You will continue with us the rest of the night in our fellowship, our chat, we thank You for each other. We pray for every single person here, Lord, because we're not living in a bubble, we've each got our difficulties and struggles and trials. Maybe we've come away from them tonight in the home, and we just pray for those who have those struggles, that even in their low places they've seen You in the high place, and they will realise that You're able, You're able for anything, Lord. So, Lord, continue with us, and part us with Your blessing in safety until we meet again. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.
Preach The Word.
This sermon was delivered at Loughbrickland Mission Hall in Northern Ireland, by David Legge. It was transcribed from the fourth recording in his Divine Encounters series, titled "Isaiah In The Throne Room" - Transcribed by Andrew Watkins, Preach The Word.
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