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Daily Readings & Thought for May 16th. “HIGH AND LIFTED UP”

Our reading in Isaiah today gave us thoughts that are high and lifted up! But then we contradicted ourselves – and felt as low as one can possibly be! What caused this? Meditate on the unfolding message.

Isaiah has a vision of “the Lord sitting upon a throne high and lifted up and the train of his robe filled the temple.” There are two Seraphim and one says, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the LORD of Hosts: the whole earth is filled with his glory.” [v.3] The foundations of the thresholds shook at the sound of this voice.

Now we can understand this in the sense of the absolute wonder of God’s glory in creation which we see all around us – and the wonder of our own bodies which are the crowning glory of that creation, indeed we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” [Psalm 139 v.14] . We can also understand Isaiah’s words as a vision of the future, of the glory of God at the end of the 1,000 years reign when he says, “Behold, I am making all things new” {Rev.21 v.5] when the Creator himself comes to dwell on earth (v.30).

But note the overwhelming impact this vision has on Isaiah himself, “Woe is me for I am lost! I am a man of unclean lips” [v.5] He experiences an overwhelming realization that we are all, in contrast to this perspective, nothing!

What am I, what are we, compared to the Creator of all things? We are less than nothing! Imagine Isaiah’s feelings! Can you? Can you visualize yourself in his shoes?

Then Isaiah sees in his vision a seraphim bringing a burning coal to touch his lips and he feels the wonder of cleansing and responds to the call to go and proclaim God’s challenging and condemning message to the people. God’s chosen people, yet so often failing in their responsibility to God “Here am I, send me” he is inspired to respond. Now, what sense of responsibility do we have?

It is illuminating that the phrase “high and lifted up” occurs in only two other places and both are in Isaiah. Look at the contexts in which they occur. The remarkable message of Ch. 53 actually starts from v.13 of the previous chapter, “Behold my servant shall act wisely, he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted.”

This ‘picture’ of our Lord is fulfilled in his lifting up to be with his father – but first the crushing ‘weight’ of his prayers in the garden of Gethsemane. The third place is in Ch.57 v.15 “For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose Name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place and also with him (her) who is of a contrite and lowly spirit …” Wonderful! Remarkable!

Moses, whose life we have just completed reading in Deuteronomy, learnt this before God called him at the burning bush, Paul learnt this as he was lead into Damascus!

And us? Have you, have I, experienced this? If not, then is it possible, even likely, to happen someday, especially as this world falls apart and we realize even more fully that our only source of strength is in God.

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This Days Readings


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