Holy Worship

In 1995 a popular song came out by Joan Osbourne. It was titled “If God Were One of Us”. The lyrics are interesting to read considering that the song came from secular pop culture. Here are some of the lyrics:

If God had a name, what would it be
And would you call it to his face
If you were faced with him in all his glory
What would you ask if you had just one question
And yeah yeah God is great yeah yeah God is good yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
What if God was one of us

Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Trying to make his way home
If God had a face what would it look like

And would you want to see
If seeing meant that you would have to believe
In things like heaven and in jesus and the saints and all the prophets

Well… what if you were faced with God in all his glory? What would you see and would you even want to see him? In reading Isaiah 6 we can be certain that we will see at least the following three realities.

Worship calls you to see God’s holiness (6:1-4).
Isaiah saw a vision of God. God was seated on an elevated throne where his presence and robe filled the temple room. Hovering around God were seraphim (literally “burning ones”) who though they are burning with brightness they hid their faces & feet from God’s greater and brighter glory. In antiphonal praise the seraphs shout about God’s character. It is significant that they sing of his holiness above other characteristics, as well as the three-fold mention of it; “holy, holy, holy”. In Hebrew, the addition of adjectives multiplies its importance. Isaiah speaks of God’s holiness 59 times throughout his writing. Worship that does not recognize God’s glory and holiness falls short of true worship.

God’s holiness is attractive. Deep inside it is what we all desire. We long for completion, perfection and being whole. We pursue these desires in the wrong places which become idols or God-substitutes. The irony of this reality is once we encounter God’s holiness we cannot remain in his presence. It is so powerful and overwhelming that we get consumed with the weight of its significance.

Worship calls you to see sin’s influence (6:5-7).
Isaiah’s dramatic vision was overpowering. He saw divine holiness and was never the same. It ruined his old ways recognizing the sinfulness of his lips. Even more, he felt the weight of sin’s influence from the people he lived among. Isaiah’s response resulted in guilt and shame due to God’s convicting presence filling the space. However, God removed and atoned for the influence of Isaiah’s sin. The seraphs purified Isaiah’s lips with a coal from the burning altar in the temple.

When you experience guilt or shame it is important to respond appropriately. God gives you these experiences so you may seek him not run from him. He desires you to confess your sin and find forgiveness rather than avoiding the influence of your sin. God removes the influence of sin and its consequences through the atoning power of the cross of Jesus Christ.

Worship calls you to see people’s need (6:8)
Following Isaiah’s cleansing from personal and corporate sin he hears God’s voice. A person cannot hear God’s voice unless they have found atonement for their sin. God called for someone to meet the missionary task of representing God to the people. Isaiah gave the most appropriate and worshipful response he could, “Here I am. Send me”. Worshiping God fills believers that they cannot help but share this glorious, all-satisfying happening with others.

Worshiping God is not confined to a room, a building or any other location. It is without walls, without limits and goes to the center of every lifestyle; it is your life. God sees your worship in the way you interact not only when you are alone but especially when you interact with others. He expects you to represent him to all those around you.

Taking It Home
· What do you think God looks like? Describe him.
· Why is holiness attractive?
· How do worship services you attend recognize God’s holiness?
· Do you view guilt or shame as a gift from God? If not, how could you begin to see it as such?
· Is worship more an individual or corporate action? Explain.
· Respond to: “A person cannot hear God’s voice unless they have found atonement for their sin.”

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