In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”
At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”
In Pixar Studio’s animated film, “Up”, Dug is a a loving Golden Retriever who can talk, thanks to a special collar. He doesn’t fit in with the rest of the vicious pack of dogs who have been trained to find the beast of Paradise Falls. Apart from seeing the best in everyone, Dug is notable for being distracted in mid-sentence when he sees a squirrel.
In Isaiah 6, the prophet gets a rare glimpse into heaven and sees God as he is, covered in glory and majesty, and surrounded by praise that is beyond what is known on the earth. In the presence of God’s holiness, he sees his own sinfulness and inadequacy in stark contrast and he despairs.
Why is this passage so unusual? Why do we not see God in this light (if not this exact manifestation) more often. I propose it is because … SQUIRREL! … we get distracted.
This morning, like many Sunday mornings, as my heart was called to worship in the church service, several things clamored for my attention, each of them seemingly determined to prevent me from entering the holy place and seeing the Lord. Perhaps you’ve experienced this too. I don’t know what your distractions are; perhaps the music is too loud or too fast or too slow. Perhaps the guitar is out of tune or the vocalist is off pitch. Maybe it’s the people in front of you who are talking, or that the church is too crowded or too empty.
Maybe your distractions have nothing to do with the physical surroundings, but are internal. Health issues, family conflict, financial difficulties, impending significant choices, disappointment, or uncertainty can all call us away from God.
The thing I notice about my distractions is that they always seem to focus attention on me, and away from Him. I have found a need of the discipline of “taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” and willfully setting my mind and my heart on my God and his glory. I choose to ignore the squirrels and give my full attention to my master. And in that place, sometimes, I see the Lord. No, my vision doesn’t match Isaiah’s (I’m not sure how I would react if it did!), but I am always changed by the encounter.
How about you? Have you seen the Lord lately? Are you willing to ignore the squirrels and look to the master?
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.