Whisper Day 23: God Calls Isaiah

The Power of a Whisper Reading Plan
Day 23 Reading:
Isaiah 6:1-8

Here Am I, Send Me by Amanda Jolley

Pastor Lisa’s Journal
Scripture
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple. – Isaiah 6:1 (NRSV)

Observation
Isaiah is overwhelmed by the grandeur and power of his encounter with God. In the presence of God’s holiness and glory, Isaiah sees himself as unworthy and unclean. His humble confession is answered with divine cleansing. God then issues a call to action, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Isaiah responds, “Send me.”

I usually stop reading at verse 8. The passion and courage of Isaiah’s response is inspiring. Cue the music. Fade to black. The End. Reading further I realize God’s mission for Isaiah is incredibly painful and difficult. The people have not listened and will not listen. They will receive the consequences of their choices- destruction and exile. In time, God grace will bring forth life from the stump which remains.

Application
I am struck by how Isaiah’s call to action differs from the calls of Moses and Jeremiah.

Moses and Jeremiah
Their encounters with God are solitary and rather quiet. They hesitate to accept, making excuses about their speaking skills. (Moses makes many additional excuses) In response, God supplies what is needed to fulfill the call. God uses their names. God’s attention is clearly focused on them.

Isaiah
Isaiah’s call is far from solitary and quiet. I imagine it would be like standing in the middle of awe-full, holy circus: blindingly colorful and bright yet filtered through a milky veil of frankincense, so loud every sound rattles your bones. How could he think, breathe, let alone speak? Isaiah confesses and is cleansed by a terrifying angel bearing an equally terrifying coal. Isaiah is self aware in response to his spectacular encounter with God, but it doesn’t come across as an excuse or hesitation. God’s call hasn’t even been made yet. When it is made, God doesn’t look at Isaiah or mention his name. God sends the call out across the heavens, available for anyone to respond. Isaiah makes the courageous decision to draw God’s attention again, “Here am I; send me!”

Prayer
Lord of Hosts…Holy… Spectacular… Awe-full…
Who am I that you would notice me?
That you would cleanse and forgive?
That you would ask for a messenger… a helper?
That you would accept my willingness to serve?
Your consideration only increases your glory.
I marvel at your grace.

For a devotion on the call of Moses, click here

For a devotion on the call of Jeremiah, click here

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For more information on the Power of a Whisper campaign or for a copy of this reading plan, click here

As you read, you are encouraged to use the SOAP Method for keeping a spiritual journal, as taught at New Hope Christian Fellowship in Hawaii. For more information on this simple and powerful way of engaging the Word of God, please click here or use the simple instructions provided in the reading plan itself.

I look forward to reading your comments and to all that Jesus will do in you and through you as you learn to better listen and respond to God’s
whispers in your life. – Lisa <><

PS- For more information on the scripture translation, art and the use of this devotional in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

Day 29: Psalms of Wisdom

Today’s Reading
Psalms 90, 107, 111

For quotes and other scriptures related to Psalm 90, click here

Pastor Lisa’s Journal
Scripture
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding.
Psalm 111:10

Wisdom consists in doing the next thing that you have to do;
doing it with your whole heart and finding delight in doing it.
And this delight is the sense of the sacred.- Helen Luke

A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.
– William Shakespeare

Observation
In Psalm 111, the author praises God’s works (great, full of honor and majesty, wonderful, faithful, just) and God’s character (righteous, gracious, merciful, provider, trustworthy, redeemer, eternal covenant keeper, holy, awesome). All of this leads up to the last verse, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding.”

Application
Are we to fear God? For most of us, fear implies dread, horror, and terror. We fear bullies, monsters, or tyrants. This understanding of “the fear of the Lord” isn’t helpful or truthful. It doesn’t draw us to God or reveal the true character of God. The point of the psalmist is literally lost in translation, the translation of the word fear.

I find it helpful to replace the word fear with respect or reverence. When the deepest understandings of respect and reverence are linked with God’s awesomeness and otherness, we have a translation that draws us into worship, relationship and the pursuit of God’s transcendent wisdom.

Reverence of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all those who practice it have a good understanding.

Assuredly, Loving Souls, you should go to God with all humility and respect,
humbling yourselves in His presence,
especially when you remember your past ingratitude and sins.
– Alphonsus Liguori

Truly humble people are grounded in reality;
they neither preen under illusions of greatness
nor suffer agonies of self-hatred.
– Paula Huston, Simplifying the Soul: Lenten Practices to Re-new Your Spirit

Fullness of knowledge always means some understanding of the depths of our ignorance; and that is always conducive to humility and reverence. – Robert Millikan

Prayer
Holy, Holy, Holy Lord
Great and Faithful One
God of Honor and Majesty
Wonderful and just are your deeds
Your ways are trustworthy, gracious, and merciful
Draw us into reverent relationship with you
Save us from shallow understanding and selfish motivation
Pour out your wisdom upon us
That we may know you and adore you
And fulfill your will now and forever.
We ask this in the Name of Jesus,
Your Truth made Flesh,
Your Love made Sacrifice
Your Light to us and the world. Amen.

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You are invited to join me on a summer adventure through one of the most beloved books in the Bible, Psalms.  To download the Summer in the Psalms reading plan, click here Psalms Reading Plan

As you read, you are encouraged to use the SOAP Method for keeping a spiritual journal, as taught at New Hope Christian Fellowship in Hawaii. For more information on this simple and powerful way of engaging the Word of God, please click here or use the simple instructions provided in the reading plan itself.

I look forward to reading your comments and to all that Jesus will do in you and through you as you seek him this summer. – Lisa <><

PS- For more information on the scripture translation, art and the use of this devotional in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

Devotion: Cry, "Glory!"

Psalm 29:9, The Message
God’s thunder sets the oak trees dancing. A wild dance, whirling;
the pelting rain strips their branches.
We fall to our knees – we call out, “Glory!”

Let the knowledge of His transcendence bring us back to life. Let it flow like blood to sleeping limbs, and feel them tingle as they awake in awe. Shake life back into your hands and let them clap of His goodness. Shake life back into your legs and let them carry you running with wind and thunder. Shake life back into your chest and let your heart beat in pounding reverence. Let praise come face to ground, trembling with life and awareness that we are found by a holy God.David Crowder, Praise Habit

The longer I seek God, the more there is to find. It seems I get my head around one aspect of God’s character and another mystery appears. I feel the welcome of God’s tenderness and patience. I rest in God’s protection and encouragement. I walk in God’s strength and guidance. But what am I to do with God’s transcendent power and holiness. It’s hard to hold God’s intimacy and God’s supremacy together. – Lisa <><

Let us pray: Transcendent Lord, in the midst of ordinary days lead me to fall on my knees and cry, “Glory!” You are the Holy One, Above and Other. Knowing how deeply you know me and love me causes me to tremble. The fierceness of a tsunami does not compare to your passion for me and for the salvation of all things. Shake away my apathy and distraction. Shake my motives down at their depths so those great stones of destruction are laid waste. Shake me awake to your wild, thundering dance of true life. Amen.

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For more information on the scripture translation, art and the use of this devotional in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.