This is part 1 of 3 in a series called, “The Pattern of Proper Worship” based on Isaiah 6:1-8.
What comes to mind when you think of worship? Worship is not just music. In many churches, music is the vehicle that drives the worship service, especially because we spend so much time on selecting music, holding practices, and arranging special music. Sometimes we think we are worshipping when sometimes we are just congregating. Worship is more than the church simply coming together to one location. Worship is a personal celebration of God’s majesty. Isaiah recorded his amazing encounter with God in worship, and in so doing he provided a pattern of proper worship that honors God. To worship God properly we must follow the pattern of proper worship demonstrated through Isaiah’s experience in the temple. First and foremost, Christians must exalt the holiness of God.
Isaiah was discouraged due to the death of king Uzziah, a king who had the Lord’s blessings but became lifted up in pride and suffered judgment. Although Israel’s throne was vacated, God revealed that He was still on the throne. The Lord was seated upon His throne in His majestic beauty of holiness. His greatness was so vast that the tail-end of His garments alone filled the spacious temple – Solomon was right when he said that “the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?
Truly, the Lord is exalted above all the creation. Yet He has chosen to reveal Himself to us through word and deed; to condescend to us, who are made of earthen clay. Note the contrast between the earthly king who died and the Lord who lives forever to sit upon the throne! The Lord is the Alpha and the Omega – the first and the last! He is the everlasting One who knows no beginning and has no end. He is the great I AM – the ever present and existent Lord of all. While our life is but a vapour, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, forever. He was in the beginning with God because He was God. He is the self-existent One. Forever He will be “high and lifted up” as the Sovereign King of kings!
The scene around the throne of God is punctuated by the resounding declaration of the angels who cry “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty!” In Hebrew there is no superlative form of words (signifying the highest degree of quality). In order to emphasize something of highest quality they must pile adjectives one upon another; and so in this text the angels ascribe the greatest holiness to God – holy, holier, holiest.
In all the heaven and earth there is nothing that compares to the holiness of God. Moses and the Israelites sang praises to God that emphasized God’s uniqueness, “Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?”(Exd 15:11). The magnitude of God’s perfect holiness is incomprehensible because it is not simply the best possible goodness that can be conceived and then multiplied to higher greatness. It is the absolute perfection of God in all of His glorious and harmonious attributes. Isaiah was discouraged by the epidemics of evil – the first 5 chapters are filled with descriptions of the defilement of Israel. Isaiah’s despair could only be overcome by one Person – and the Lord gave Him a vision of Himself in His holiness
We are like Isaiah – yearning for solutions that can only be found in the Saviour. There must a yearning for God – like a thirsty man in a barren desert languishing for water, like a prisoner of war desperate to taste freedom, like shipwrecked survivors looking for a passing vessel…We must yearn for God as He alone satisfies our spiritual thirst, releases us from bondage, and delivers us to safety.
Right worship begins with a right vision of the one true and living God. Yet many people don’t desire to obtain that vision of God in His holiness. If you want to know what people really believe about God, don’t read their theology books. Watch them worship. Listen to what they say and how they pray. Then you will know what they believe.
Growth and maturity in the knowledge of God must result in a personal daily revival of the celebration of the majesty of Christ. Jesus Christ is the holy, harmless, undefiled Son of God who is separate from sinners, who is higher than the heavens. He is the One who has the name above every name, and that at His name every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
Determine to learn more about the our High and Holy God, the Almighty, the Creator and Sustainer, the King eternal, Immortal, Invisible, the “only wise” God, and the supreme Lover of our souls.
We should “magnify the LORD,” “worship at his footstool; for he is holy,” and “bless [his] name for ever and ever” (Psalm 34:3, 99:5, 145:1).
Christians should follow the admonition found in the music of Audrey Mieir: “bow down before Him, love and adore Him” because “His name is Wonderful.”
Has your worship exalted the holiness of God? Purposefully exalt the majesty, holiness, and awesomeness of Jesus Christ in a personal celebration of His greatness. You will sense a new depth of admiration and appreciation for our great God!