A true “Now What” moment
This is quite an odd introduction; won’t you think?
In the year that King Uzziah died.
Isaiah is about to tell the most amazing experience he ever had, heavens opened, the heavenly throne was visible in all its splendor and sitting on the throne none other than the Lord Himself in full majesty. An encounter that pales anything else:
Isaiah saw the Lord!
I saw the Lord; and the train of His robe filled the temple.
Now, it is said elsewhere that nobody has ever seen God. But Isaiah says that he saw the Lord. And God did not contradict him, so who am I to contradict the statement about his experience written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit?
I saw the Lord. The throne, high and lifted. The seraphim. Isaiah saw it all.
• Why would Isaiah remember that it was that particular year?
Yes, he seemed to have wanted to put a time frame to such an important event in his life, but even more than that what he was saying was: “This is real, it happened to me, and it happened in that exact year” He was talking about reality, not a wish not an ethereal memory of something good. He had experienced the reality of heaven and he wanted to tell it in all its transcending glory and majesty, but also make sure that the story came across to the reader as a real thing that happened at that time.
He was real and wanted real.
• At the precise moment, he had an encounter with the Most High. And it changed his life.
But, again, why that year? Not only a “why” Isaiah mentions it, it is also a “why” on the side of God Himself: Why did God open His heavens for Isaiah in that precise year and not the year before or the year after?
Isaiah wanted to make a point: This happened to me, for real!
God wanted to make a point: I Am here; you can count on me!
God was intent on making a statement: A big statement regarding His servant and regarding His plans. God was showing Himself to His prophet and He was showing how much He cared about him.
A bit of history in place:
Uzziah was a reformer from the throne. He came to the throne and had a spirit of reformation within, he was a restorer, one that rebuilt over destruction. He rebuilt cities. Moreover, the people considered him to be the one who restored the glory to the nation. But this was also a problem, because in turn they transferred the glory of God and make it the glory of the nation!
Now imagine: In this story Isaiah the prophet of the Lord spoke the Word from God and Uzziah enforced it. From the Bible’s account we can infer how Isaiah and Uzziah worked together. Uzziah consulted with Isaiah and Isaiah relied on Uzzieh.
Isaiah appreciated king Uzziah. Isaiah and Uzziah were a team.
Then Uzziah died.
But even worse: Before he died Uzziah committed the sin of presumption and became leprous:
16But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God, and entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense. 17Azariah the priest with eighty other courageous priests of the Lord followed him in. 18They confronted King Uzziah and said, “It is not right for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the Lord. That is for the priests, the descendants of Aaron, who have been consecrated to burn incense. Leave the sanctuary, for you have been unfaithful; and you will not be honored by the Lord God.”
19Uzziah, who had a censer in his hand ready to burn incense, became angry. While he was raging at the priests in their presence before the incense altar in the Lord’s temple, leprosyc broke out on his forehead. 20When Azariah the chief priest and all the other priests looked at him, they saw that he had leprosy on his forehead, so they hurried him out. Indeed, he himself was eager to leave, because the Lord had afflicted him.
21King Uzziah had leprosy until the day he died. He lived in a separate housed —leprous, and banned from the temple of the Lord. Jotham his son had charge of the palace and governed the people of the land.
And then he died.
Can you see Isaiah’s predicament? Can you see the picture? Isaiah was down, most probably depressed. Oh what now. NOW WHAT?
I remember the year I graduated from Lincoln High, the American Community School in Buenos Aires, Argentina. We were given a brochure with info about colleges and such. But what struck me was the cover: “Now What?”
Have you been there?
- Your parent died. Or your parents divorced.
- Your spouse got sick. A long sickness that drained your resources. Then death.
- You lost your job. Right when you bought a house.
- You finished school, college, and are ready to find your place in a world that does not seem to have a place for you.
- You fought and fought an addiction and then you fell back into it. And again. And again.
- You were working your way up to become a great player, and then the accident. And the knee went.
- You moved to the other end of the country with expectations, and it was quite the opposite of what you thought.
- You found out that your child has been doing drugs.
- You discover that your spouse was unfaithful.
- You found that the pastor of your church was caught doing porn in the church computer.
- You found that ___________ (Fill in the blanks)
• What do we do with all those “Now What” moments.
The statement from Isaiah was not to put a time frame to the encounter he just had, but rather to give a picture of what he was going through.
• Isaiah gave us a picture of what he was going through and how God showed up at that precise moment when he needed Him the most.
In the year that I was depressed, cast down; in the year that I thought that all was lost and all our efforts have been in vain; in the year when I thought that we were never going to make it; in the year that all my goals seemed off and unreachable; in the year that I felt like I was spitting into the sky; in the year that I was losing hope of seeing my family saved and restored; in the year when I thought revival was a thing of the past; in the year when I realized there was so much hypocrisy in the church and I felt I was alone in my quest for success; in the year that I began to realize how much immorality has undermined the nation; in the year when I had lost hope: I saw the Lord!
I saw the Lord. High and lofty. Terrible and awesome, beautiful and scary. I saw the Lord
He was sitting on a throne, high, lofty and beautiful, it was a fearful sight and yet peaceful. And the angels were all around. And seraphim: They covered their eyes, their feet and flew around the throne. The beauty of precious stones, only more precious than stones, it was the very essence of all creation in that place. I saw it, and I saw HIM.
But it was not a dream, neither was it a vision, nor an apparition. It was tangible, it was real, so real that I talked with HIM
I had an encounter with the Most High. He was sitting in all His majesty and He talked to me. He shared His desires and His concerns. And He asked me questions. He asked ME if I would be ready to go for HIM.
Do not depend on blessings
Your blessings do not depend on the powers that be, even if through them blessings come. Your blessings are from a higher level, from the one who sits on top of all governments.
Even when you have a godly government, your blessings come from the Lord, who uses any means he sees fit to send his blessings to you.
Then again: One mistake we often make is to become dependent on the blessings themselves rather than on the One who blesses.
The outcome of your testing times are determined by the closeness of your relationship with God. Even when the outcome is bad by all human standards, your perspective is different.
Psa 121:1 I will lift up my eyes to the hills— From whence comes my help?
Psa 121:2 My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.
I will lift up my eyes to the hills, I see the powers, I see good and bad and I see circumstances that are unsettling, but
My experience will not determine my future. Experience the fresh, the new vision.
Hab 3:17 Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls—
Hab 3:18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
My circumstances will not direct my steps. He makes me walk in my heights.
Hab 3:19 The LORD God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills. To the Chief Musician. With my stringed instruments.
Eph 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
Eph 2:5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
Eph 2:6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
Eph 2:7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
My finances will not depend on the world’s economy but on the economy of heaven.
The economy of heaven is obedience. It is an already set path to walk in it. Test me! But it is not about tithing.
Economy: Functionality. Eco is a derivation of the Greek oikos, meaning an extended family unit that consists of the house, members of the family, slaves, farmland, and all property.
The oikos was run by the oldest male of the family, whose role it was to tend to agriculture and to ensure that all components of the family unit were running smoothly. Thus, eco now designates a broad, self-sustained unit, as in the terms ecology and ecosystem.
The suffix –nomy is derived from the Greek nomos, meaning management, law, or principle. Thus oikonomos, the original form of economics, meant the management of the hearth and home.
It is about following the whole path established by the Lord. Why not about tithes? Because you could tithe all you want, and give all what you have, yet if your heart might not be in it and it is useless. Why? Simply because it is not about tithes.
It is about how we run our lives, family, and household.
A good friend of mine in California taught me a lesson years ago. It was in the middle of a meltdown of the US economy. He was the manager of a tire and services store. One day as I was passing through town I decided to stop to say hi! When I got to the store I was told he was not working there anymore, so my first thought was that he was yet another casualty of the meltdown, but the guys told me that he had actually bought his own store! I went to see him and I asked him: How did you do this? He said: “I live by the economy of heaven”.
It is about following the heart of God. The economy of heaven is not money, drink or clothes, all these things are secondary to the main path: The Blessing of walking in the Kingdom. Where you can do much with little money.
When my mother died I was seven and my auntie Mina raised my siblings and me. We were not rich, they were actually hard times. My aunt worked for a salary that would in today’s money be the equivalent to probably low social security. Yet we never lacked food or clothing or anything. She faithfully tithed. She gave to missions. And God knows how she managed to save some money.
She also lived by the economy of heaven.
There is only one way to experience the above reality: Cultivate a conscious relationship with the King, and intently abide in the Kingdom.
We need an encounter. We need encounter, even daily encounters with His presence. We need to come to the point where we can say with Isaiah:
These were my circumstances, but I met the King. I saw Him. He talked to me. And my life has never been the same again.