Today’s reading: Acts 7&8
But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” Acts 7:55-56
Today has been an interesting day so far. I had this post started before I went to Parks & Prayers this morning and now I’ve come back to it and I’ve just got to go in a whole different direction than what I started with. First I suppose I’ll start with Parks & Prayers, it’s a group of moms of all ages that get together once a week to lift one another up in prayer. We meet at a park or an indoor play-place so that the kids have something to do so that there’s no childcare necessary. While the children play we moms are free to share our burdens with one another. We’re all reading through the bible alphabetically so when we are finished sharing prayer requests and praying we talk about that as well…but generally we never get there in the two hours we set aside for our group time.
Listening to all these beautiful ladies’ requests I was amazed at how many were dealing with words. They were asking God for the right words to say to this person or how to deal with that situation and it struck me how wonderful God is to answer those prayers! Follow along with me on the rabbit trail that God lead me on this morning through the scriptures!
Stephen, in Acts 7, saw the heavens open and saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God. As the stones were being thrown at him the heavens opened up and he could see into the throne room of heaven! He could see the Father, he could see Jesus, he could see it! Isaiah saw the throne room of God while still alive as well. In chapter six we read:
“In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above Him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!” And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.” And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” And he said, “Go, and say this to the people…” (Isaiah 6:1-9a)
God apparently called for Isaiah, because Isaiah was suddenly whisked away to the throne room of God Almighty where he encountered angelic beings and God Himself. And what was Isaiah’s reaction? I’m not good enough! But God had a solution for that and the angel brought the coal to remove the sin from Isaiah’s mouth. How incredible is that? While Isaiah had a hot coal brought to his lips, we have the blood of Christ to atone for our sins. And with that God follows up the coal with a question. To whom He is asking the question is unknown, perhaps He is simply pondering the question out loud for Isaiah’s benefit. “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Kind of like when I want to tell my kids that we’re going to the park, but I want them to think that it was their idea, “Hmmmmm…. I wonder who would like to go to the park with me?” Both kids jumping up and down with their hands in the air reply, “OH, OH, OH MOMMY! I’LL GO, I’LL GO!” I don’t know, maybe He was actually thinking about whom He would send, but it kinda makes sense to me that since He had already called Isaiah up there it was pretty obvious who He really had in mind to do the job to begin with. So when Isaiah offers to be a part of God’s plan God then starts to explain the plan to Him. “Go, and say this to the people…” God GAVE Isaiah the words to say. Isaiah didn’t need to come up with them on his own, he didn’t have to be educated or a brilliant speaker, he only needed to be available to do God’s bidding.
What about Moses? God called him to speak for Him too. God brings Moses into His presence by luring him with a bush that is on fire but isn’t burning up. I like in Exodus 3 & 4 where it says “When the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, ‘Moses, Moses!‘” It wasn’t until God noticed that Moses was taking an interest in the bush that He actually spoke to Moses. It was at this point that God starts to explain to Moses part of His plan, that He has seen the suffering of His people and heard their cry for help and… I want you, Moses, to go talk to the most powerful man in all the world and tell him to let my people go. Now, for Isaiah it was when he realized that he was in the presence of God that he felt unworthy, for Moses it was when he was given this mountainous task that he replies to God:
“Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” He said, “But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.” Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I am who I am” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel…“
Both Isaiah and Moses were given huge tasks to do in the name of the LORD, and both questioned their own ability to accomplish those tasks. Both men were face to face with the holiness and majesty of God and asked themselves “Who am I that I would be called to do this?” And yet they are who GOD CHOSE to do those tasks. Both men were called to be God’s spokesperson and neither was able… on their own.
After a slew of questions and semi-reasonable arguments that Moses offers God to try to “help God” understand that He’s picked the wrong guy for this job Moses tries one last resort.
“Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” Then the LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.” Exodus 4:10-12
Who has made your mouth? Who has called you into His service to be His hands, His feet AND His mouth? We, like Moses, can offer up a page full of excuses as to why we are ill-equipped to fulfill the calling that He has given us; but just like Moses, it won’t do us any good. God has chosen YOU for this, so you might as well get used to the idea. God chose YOU, probably not because you were the best prepared or the best educated person for the job, but because you weren’t. I find it no small coincidence that God chose a man with a speech impediment to be His spokesperson. Because it is through our imperfections that God’s perfection shines the most brilliantly. Don’t dwell on your own inabilities; instead dwell on God’s abilities. Don’t stare at that mountain that you can’t seem to climb, stare at the One who MADE the mountain. HE is able. And because He is able, you don’t have to be. HE is perfect. And because He is perfect, you don’t have to be. HE is equipped. And because He is equipped, you don’t have to be.
The Sovereign LORD has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught. Isaiah 50:4 (NIV)
I am the LORD your God, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar – the LORD of hosts is His name. And I have put my words in your mouth and covered you in the shadow of my hand, establishing the heavens and laying the foundations of the earth, and saying to Zion, “you are my people.” Isaiah 51:15-16
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14
Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad. Proverbs 12:25
Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body. Proverbs 16:24
A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. Proverbs 25:11
Every word of God is flawless; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. Proverbs 30:5 (NIV)