Michael Youssef - God Is On The Throne
During the time of the prophet Isaiah, the nation was experiencing a severe crisis. The nation was traumatized. This crisis and the confusion that had arisen from it was the death of a good king who was the hope of the nation. And I hope that you already have turned to Isaiah chapter 6, and this king died. The Word of God said, "In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord". Let me repeat this. "In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting upon his throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple". King Uzziah reigned for 52 years. This is a very long time, even by Israel's standards. And during most of his reign, he was known to be a good king, a good man. In the time of his ruling, he brought about prosperity and peace.
In fact, next to King David and King Solomon, those two kings, Uzziah reigned the most peaceful time in Israel. It was truly a time of prosperity, but that's not all. It was not only a time of victory over the enemies, it was a time of experiencing a boom in their religious activities. Their patriotism was restored. The national policies were far more God honoring than immediately before or after. The people saw a leader, flawed as he was, and I'm gonna show you in a minute how flawed he was, but a one who feared God. In fact, in the latter years of his reign, he allowed pride to take hold of him and that pride allowed him to brag about what he has done and brought the demise of Judah. He wasn't perfect, but he was a God fearer.
Nevertheless, on the face of it, as I said he was a God fearer and a good man, and the prophet Isaiah, I like all the patriotic Israelites at the time, he was anxious about the post Isaiah time. But like all godly and wise persons, Isaiah took his anxiety, he took all of his worries, he took all of his apprehensions to the sanctuary in the presence of the Lord. He went on his knees of prayer; Isaiah, in the sense, was brooding in prayer. Have you ever brooded in prayer? I have, oh many times, brooding in prayer. And the Lord gave him a splendid vision, an amazing vision, a unique vision. Look at the words again with me, please. "In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord". He is telling us that even though he was shellshocked while good and a God-fearing king laying dead, the true king of Israel is neither dead nor he has a successor.
The true King of kings is on his throne, regardless of who's sitting on earthly thrones. And so, in the middle of his scene of anxiety, and worry, and fear, and apprehension about the future, in the middle of this uncertainty, a feeling of lostness in the midst of his loss of hope, in the midst of his grief, God gives Isaiah a renewed vision. Isaiah went into the presence of God with a crippling burden of anxiety, but he came out of the presence of God with a spring in his step. He came out of the presence of God with a lightness of heart. He came out of the presence of God with a renewed sense of mission. And he said, "Here I am, send me". Beloved, I believe the Lord today will teach us great lessons from this vision of the prophet Isaiah. This vision ought to lift up our sagging spirits. This vision ought to lighten our heavy hearts. This vision ought to strengthen our wobbly knees. This vision ought to remind us afresh of the King, our King, our only King who is on his throne right now.
And he never abdicates. He had never abdicated and will never abdicate. Please listen to what I'm gonna tell you. It's really, really important. Because we live in the New Testament, Isaiah was living in the Old Testament, but because we live in the New Testament, we have an even greater understanding than that of Isaiah because unlike Isaiah, he did not know or experience the power and the strength of the resurrected Jesus. We have greater vision than that of Isaiah. Today, our King who was crucified, buried, and for three days was in the tomb, rose victoriously over death on the third day. Our King, who was mocked, and flogged, rose victoriously never to die again. Our King, who was hated and had nowhere to lay his head, is reigning and ruling on the rim of the universe even now.
Two brief things I want to share with you about this vision. First of all, I want you to notice the circumstances that surrounding this vision. And the second thing I want you to notice is the Lord's compassion over and toward Isaiah's apprehension. It was when King Uzziah died, that Isaiah saw the Lord. I know, don't get confused as to Uzziah and Isaiah. Now, I know I pronounce Isaiah the English way, not the American way, but you understand, right? You understand my accent? It's Isaiah. Uzziah and Isaiah. Uzziah is the king. It's with a U. Isaiah with the I is the prophet of God. He saw him in his splendor and majesty.
Wouldn't you love to have a sight like that, sitting on his throne in heaven? I think we do by faith, we really do. As if God is saying to Isaiah, listen carefully please, because I believe with all my heart, this is a word from the Lord, not just to us here, but to the millions of people watching around the world, that the throne of Israel might have been vacated, but the Lord God Almighty is still on his throne in heaven. Beloved, get ready, get ready, get ready, the God of power and might is ready to manifest himself among his faithful remnant. I'm not talking about all the professing Christians. I'm talking about professing, I'm talking about faithful believers, faithful remnant.
Get ready, get ready, get ready to experience greater power than you have ever seen before in your life. In the midst of fear, pain, grief, and disappointment, God is saying, "Look at me. Look at me. I, who once was dead, I'm now alive forever. I am the only one who can give you vision for your life. I'm the only one who can send you on a mission for you and for your family. I'm the only one who can pour out my spirit of joy and peace and zest for life that no one can take away from you. I, the King of all kings and the Lord of all lords, now can be your eternal possession".
Well, the second thing I want to share with you, the amazing compassion of our Lord toward Isaiah's apprehension, the amazing compassion. God did not just show Isaiah a general revelation of his sovereign rule, he could have done that. No, no, no, but he gave him a very special revelation, a revelation of his total control of the universe, a revelation of his protection of his hurting people, a revelation of his sympathy toward his children, a revelation of his understanding of the their feelings of fear and apprehension and anxiety. And, beloved, this is a huge vision. It's a huge vision, and I pray to God, help us comprehend it, I really do. I believe with all my heart that what God is saying to us is this: just like the water takes the shape of the vessel that is carried in, our Lord shapes his presence in our lives according to our needs. Can I get an amen?
And just as he revealed his kingly power in a unique way to the prophet Isaiah during a time of national anxiety, he will meet each one of us at our point of need. That's our God. Just as God came to Isaiah manifesting his kingly power when the throne of Judah now vacated, so will King Jesus. Hear me out, please. King Jesus becomes closer to us in our time of pain and suffering than any other time. I told you many times that I have experienced the joy of the presence of the Lord more in my brokenness than in the time of sunshine. God may empty the thrones of our dependence on anyone or anything or any entity, so that he may fill it himself.
God might permit us to go through dark tunnels, but that's so that he might lead us out of the tunnel into the brightness of his sunshine out of that tunnel. God wants us to know that whoever your Uzziah is, and whenever your Uzziah dies, we can look up to the true King. The resurrected, glorified, soon coming King Jesus, is the King of glory. And if you fix your eyes on him, if you set your heart on him, if you place your total hope only on him, losses may come and go, circumstances will change, politicians will come and go, the economic conditions will go up or down. Even death can unclasp the hands, or our hands, from the hands of loved ones, but nothing, nothing, nothing, say it with me. Nothing will take away the only one who can fill up our empty spaces.
When John the Revelator was exiled in the rocky Patmos, the island of Patmos. He saw the glorified Jesus. He saw the glorified Jesus, said to him, said, "Weep not, John, weep not. I am the Alpha and the Omega, I'm the beginning and the end and everything in between". And when we see the vision of the glorified Jesus, we can endure, now we can even thrive until that day when he comes back and we see him face to face. And it looks to me, be closer than ever. If you go down a few more verses, you notice Isaiah sees the Seraphim worshiping. These must be fearsome, awesome creatures. You know how in the Bible every time they appeared, whether to Joseph or to Mary or anybody, he always said, "Fear not".
They must be fierce-looking creatures, these angels and their Seraphim, powerful, fearsome creatures. They were worshiping the Lord in the presence of the Lord crying, "Holy, holy, holy Lord". But here today, the Bible remind us that this lift, this lofty chorus, "Holy, holy, holy," is a declaration that God is above and is separate from all the limitations and the imperfections of his creation. Today, I look at the carelessness, the carelessness, and the shallowness of the average professing Christian worship. It makes me cringe. It remind me of what God said to Isaiah that when he saw the hypocrisy of Israel's worship, God said, "I can't look at it. I gotta hide my eyes. I can't look at it". I'm wondering if God not hiding his face. Because when Isaiah saw the Lord, he did not say, "Isn't that wonderful? Oh, isn't it sweet of God to do that"?
Beloved, I hope to god that you'll never forget what I'm gonna tell you. You cannot possibly see God without also seeing your sin. You cannot possibly see God, we cannot possibly see God without recognizing our sinfulness and his amazing grace. We cannot possibly see God without totally confessing our sins and coming clean with God. It's impossible. They can claim all they want. Without repentance, there can be no salvation. And when Isaiah saw the holy and sinless angels worshiping God in the utter reverence, he becomes stricken by his unworthiness, by his unworthiness. And when Isaiah found himself in that state, woe to me, the angel flew over and went to the altar and took a burning coal from the altar, a symbol of purity, anointing. And he takes that hot coal and he marches it on his lips.
When Isaiah recognizes uncleanliness and the uncleanliness of his lips, the angel cleansed them. When David confessed to the Lord and cried buckets after he came under conviction by the prophet Nathan. And he said, "I sinned before the Lord". That confession and repentance was so dear to God that he said, "David, I'll forgive you". Anyone becomes conscious stricken by his or her sin and failure, that leads to divine forgiveness. Can I get an amen? Beloved, there is no other way. There is no other way. This is God's way. This is Jesus's way. This is the New Testament way. This is the only way. Please listen carefully. God will forgive any sin.
Let me repeat this. God will forgive any sin when it's repented of and not when it's given into rationalized, explained away, and even legalized by the government. Sadly, giving into sin is the condition of the church of Jesus Christ today. But then, Isaiah, we see this angel. Like all angels, they're divine messengers. They're sent by God. So, the Hebrew said they are ministering angels to minister to the believers. And beloved, I want to tell you the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from all unrighteousness when we repent.
Finally, I need to tell you that confession and repentance, not only will bring about forgiveness and restoration, but it'll be manifested in ministry, in service, in giving. Isaiah's response was, oh, ho hum, isn't that nice? Oh, what a wonderful sight. I must be a good guy. You know, there's some Christians actually think that God is fortunate to have them. Yeah, I felt the same way too. It's not nice of the Lord to do that. Oh, no, no, no, no. After the cleansing he said, "Here I am. Send me".
I'm pleading with you. I'm pleading with you. Don't let the conviction of the Holy Spirit that you are under right now be evaporated in the next several hours or even several days, please. Please say to the Lord, "Here I am, send me," after you confessed and you come clean with God. He has a unique mission for you and for your family, and that mission, listen to me, nobody else can do that except you. That mission is never duplicated. That mission is never imitated. That mission is never fabricated. It's for you. Your name is written all over it, you and you alone. Pick it up and start serving and ministering, and watch what God can do. I'm absolutely convinced as I'm standing here, I am absolutely convinced that God's power is gonna be manifested in ways we've never seen before as we lean on him alone.