Here Am I! Send Me!
His was a fourfold experience of worship. He saw something. He heard something. He felt something. And he did something. Isaiah saw something. "I saw the Lord seated on the throne, high and exalted" (Isaiah 6:1). John, in his gospel, tells us that Isaiah saw Jesus Christ (John 12:41). For Isaiah, the invisible became visible and the spiritual became real. It was a life-changing experience.
You and I today, in all probability, will not experience this same kind of vision, but through the pages of the Scriptures we can still behold the glory of the Lord. When we lift up the eyes of our hearts, we can see the glory of God all around us, sometimes in nature, sometimes in special experiences, sometimes in the simple ordinary events of life.
Isaiah heard something. He heard the voices of the heavenly creatures as they praised God. And then, "At the sound of their voices, the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke" (Is. 6:3-4). As Isaiah heard the angels praising God, he saw a vivid portrayal of the holiness of God as the temple trembled.
Isaiah felt something. His response to what he saw and heard, led him to cry out "Woe to me!". When we accurately see the Lord and hear from Him, we will also see ourselves as we are—and we will feel convicted.
However, Isaiah's experience did not stop there. The prophet next felt a live coal touched to his mouth and experienced the forgiveness which accompanied it. "Your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for" (Is. 6:6-7). Our worship experience is incomplete and we are vulnerable if it only produces conviction but doesn't lead to cleansing.
It is unfortunate that we often times minimize the importance of feelings in our experience of worship. While we certainly want to avoid shallow emotionalism, we dare not grieve the Holy Spirit in our desire to be "proper". I want to feel something within as I worship God—a sense of glorious wonder, a joyful acceptance, a brokenness because of my sin, a touch by His Spirit.
But if the prophet's experience stopped there, it wouldn't have been true worship. Next Isaiah did something: he surrendered himself to God for His special service. "Here am I! Send me" (Is. 6:8).
Isaiah's worship began with sight—he saw the Lord. It led to insight—he saw himself as an unclean sinner. It moved to response—he felt God's forgiveness and cleansing. And it ended with vision—he wanted to serve God. Real worship always leads to service.
Pastor Mike and his worship team take time each week to carefully craft a worship gathering that leads to this outcome. Each service starts with adoration, moves to confession, then to assurance and thanksgiving leading to the instruction from God's Word. When we come together we are doing more than just singing a few songs and listening to a sermon—we are coming to offer our whole selves to God in service.
Romans 12:1 says, "I appeal to you, therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship".
My prayer is that in this new year of 2016, in response to our gathering together each Sunday morning each one of us will say with Isaiah, "Here am I! Send me!"