Lent Day 11: Respect the Presence of God
Isaiah 6:1-2a ESV
1 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. 2 Above him stood the seraphim...3 And one called to another and said, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”
When I started working in corporate America, it took some time getting used to engaging new people and going to the supervisor’s office to ask questions or participating in team meetings. However, the more time I spent in the office, the more comfortable I became moving in and out of offices and work-related settings with colleagues, and when I had to see the supervisor or the manager.
But when it came to meetings with the director or Vice-President of the area I worked in, not related to anything I did particularly wrong, but to review a file, for clarification on a project or involving a big client, there was always a level of awe and respect when I went into the “big” offices. We called it Mahogany row, because all the VP office furniture was made of Mahogany. And even though I got to know them, and talk on a first name basis, that healthy awe and level of respect never left.
As we read our scripture today there is no way of getting around the awe and reverential respect that Isaiah experiences in the presence of God. It is one thing to be in the presence of the king. It is quite another to be in the presence of “The King” of all creation.
Sometimes as believers we can get too comfortable and familiar with God and forget that he in fact is God, and not our warm cuddly grandfather. While we know he is our Father, and loves us as His children, we should always have a deep respect, awe and reverential or respectful fear, because he is the thrice Holy God.
Brueggemann shares this sentiment as he writes, “It is to be taken seriously that the genre of this passage is theophany- vision of God. That is, its complete strangeness must be respected and not explained away. The preacher must not try to make the meeting familiar to us. Its substance is the Holy God, who is never familiar to us. This text is indeed a mouthful, possible and bearable only when it is recognized that in this utterance, the real King comes near.”
By embracing him as the one who judges righteously as the Holy God, we can also experience him as the God of all comfort.
Holy God, you come to us as one unfamiliar. The power of your presence overturns all our expectations. May we hear and receive your word of danger, that we may also receive your word of comfort. Amen.