Gripped By the Greatness of God
Introduction Week 2
Well … we have looked at the greatness of God, the goodness of God and that God is worthy of gratitude …
Now we prepare to move into the study … let’s learn a few things about the Human Author of this God-Breathed book called “Isaiah”
Isaiah was a Prophet of God … that is NOT a lightly taken mantle …
There are some preachers today who have been called or call themselves “Prophet” … let me say this clearly while carefully. IF you want this mantle you best be VERY sure and very clear.
There are two types of “prophesy” … Prophesy can mean “FORETELLING” or “FORTHTELLING” … that is prediction of the future or proclamation of truth … future telling or truth telling.
Moses was very clear about the qualifications of the office of Prophet
Deuteronomy 18:22 (NIV)
22 If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him.
Deuteronomy 18:20 (NIV)
20 But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, must be put to death.”
Isaiah 8:20 (NIV)
20 To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn.
So, if a person today claims to be a prophet they must be right all the time or they are NOT a Prophet.
I believe that one of my Spiritual Gifts is the Gift of Prophesy, or “Truth Telling” but I do not claim to be a Prophet … for the very reason I have already stated.
Be cautious and examine fully anyone who would choose to call themselves a Prophet, understanding these guidelines … If they proclaim themselves a Capital P, prophet and are wrong, ignore them.
Now what of THIS man Isaiah
Who is He?
Name means “salvation of the Lord” – and God’s deliverance or salvation is a primary theme to the book.
There were plenty of people in his day named Isaiah. So, as was common he identifies himself by the name of his Father. His Father was Amoz … not Amos but Amoz. He was married and his wife is referred to as “the prophetess” which can either mean she shared his gift of prophesy or simply that she was the wife of the Prophet. Which is it? We don’t know because the Word of God is silent on that. He had two sons, which were given names that were significant to the Prophesy given by Isaiah …
Shear-jashub (a remnant shall return)
Maher-shalal-has-baz (quick to plunder swift to spoil)
They point to God’s Judgment and his Restoration
Isaiah received his call in chapter 6 … the year Uzziah, the King, and his Uncle, died – 739 BC
Tradition tells us that he died after being sawed in half by Manasseh … Scripture doesn’t speak to it directly but a reference to someone faithful being sawed in half is Hebrews 11:37 and it is listed there as if they knew who that was.
Isaiah, saw God’s Glory and Understood God’s Glory not just God but Jesus himself. How do we know? Read 6:1-8 and then John 12:41 where it says “Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him”
Isaiah loved his people saying “my people” 26 times. Sometimes you get the idea with some preachers that they are just mad at people and have lost their love for the people they speak to or against. But Isaiah loved the people of God because he understood God. When you know God, you will share his compassion for people
Isaiah served from and primarily to the southern Kingdom of Judah based in Jerusalem. The kings in his life were Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, perhaps briefly Manasseh …
Uzziah was a good and godly king. But he got jealous for the office of the priest, did things that only a priest were to do and God struck him with leprosy that took his life.
His son, Jotham, was also a good king, who saw the rise of the Assyrians during his reign
His son, Ahaz, was a terrible king. He made alliances that ended with the bondage to Assyria
Finally his son, Hezekiah, reigned for 42 years and was a great king. Israel, to the north was conquered during Hezekiah’s reign but Judah staved off complete destruction until much later, when his great grandson Josiah was defeated and his sons ruled, leading to the eventual destruction of Judah in 597BC.
God prophesied TRUTH through Isaiah and he Prophesied future events, some that happened more than 150 years after his ministry began.
There are those scholars who have difficulty with prophetic words. And they will say there were TWO Isaiahs or even THREE. They believe that the later half of the book, because it refers to events more than a century later, must have been written by someone else. If that is the case, we must throw out the book of Revelation because we are still waiting for its fulfillment. We should throw out pieces of the book of Daniel because we are still waiting for some of that to be fulfilled. Other parts of Isaiah also refer to time that is still yet to be. People, the author of the book of Isaiah is the Holy Spirit of God 2 Timothy 3:16 says “all scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness” Isaiah is NOT the originator but the human author moved by God to write TRUTH. Truth for his immediate day, truth for the coming generations, truth distant future generations as well. I believe that we have ONE author of the book of Isaiah. Why do I believe that? Because the word of God does not tell us anything different and I believe the Word of God and trust the veracity of it.
1. What do you think it means to be gripped by the greatness of God?
2. How do you long to be captured / gripped / captivated by God’s greatness?
3. Of the topics we will cover which one(s) are you looking forward to and why?
a. Holiness of God
b. Awesomeness of God
c. Sovereignty of God
d. Works of God
e. Worship of God
f. My Identity in God
This Week’s Mountain Top
On a journey there are many peaks and valleys. You can’t always see all of the path. Sometimes guides on a journey will climb a tree to get a better perspective. Or they will climb a mountaintop to get a better view of where they are headed. But from that perspective, they will get a vantage point that they can either see or remember from their current vantage point to keep them moving in the right direction. Last week, I was playing golf. On the 3rd hole, I hit a terrible first shot. My drive was pull hooked to the left into the fairway of the 18th green. From that point, I was 200 yards from the green I was trying to reach. But worse that than, I couldn’t SEE the green I was trying to reach. There was a creek lined with trees between me and the green and I couldn’t see my goal. I went around the creek and looked at the green. I then noticed that there was a tall tree behind the green. That tall tree stood taller than the trees in front of me. I couldn’t see the green, but I could see the tree behind the green. So, I went back to my ball. I knew I couldn’t reach the tall tree. But I knew that if I hit my three iron well, I could reach the green 200 yards away if I hit it AT the tree behind the green that I could see. I came around the creek and there was my ball safely on the green.
We all want the personal great Christian life that we see in scripture. But if we are honest we just can’t see it. We can’t see it happening. Too many things are in the way, pride, fears, frustrations, imperfections, failures, and much more. But above the personal perfection that we can’t see, if the perfection of Christ, the author and finisher of our faith. Aim for him. Keep striving toward him, and while we will come short we will advance toward the life of obedience that we desire.
Look at the Greatness of God
Psalm 48:1 is a verse we will memorize this week and that I quoted on Sunday. Let’s use it today as a tree standing in the distance toward the person we want to be in Christ.
Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, in the city of our God, his holy mountain.
Hebrews 12 tells us to FIX our Eyes on Jesus … the Author and Perfecter or Finisher of our faith.
What does this verse say … let’s look at it together …
1. Great is the Lord
“Pastor we covered this in the last message”
Really? So have you grasped the greatness of God?
If you have then maybe you can explain it better to me
Would we agree that we need a fuller understanding of the greatness of God?
Not only have we grasped the greatness of God, but has the greatness of God, grasped US?!?
I believe that being “gripped by the greatness of God” is grasping to know the greatness of God by experience and allowing it to grasp us and shake us.
Verse 8 in the workbook, that some of you will study this week says “we are not seeking the dramatic or bizarre – we long for the unmistakable, the genuine unveiling of the glory of God. That kind of experience happens when God penetrates our hearts through the truth of his Word and the presence of his Spirit and drives the indifference and complacency from our souls.” (Greatness of God – MacDonald p8)
We need a fuller understanding of the Greatness of God that we might walk in it.
He is the LORD God Almighty … he is in charge, Lord over, Creator and Sustainer of All things. There is nothing that is too difficult for him, nothing that is impossible for him.
Pastor MacDonald will encourage you this week that understanding and coming to grips with the Greatness of God
It comes as we allow God to Reveal himself to us.
Every time God revealed himself to someone in scripture he revealed his Greatness to them
Adam, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Rahab, Job, David, Ruth, Naomi, Daniel, Mary, Joseph, Peter, Paul
God always reveals himself to us and no matter the fashion it is or the end of seeing his Glory, his Reputation, his Greatness.
When we get that Revelation, it has the intent of giving us a new or renewed awareness of this reality, nearness. Coming to a rational mental understanding of God’s Greatness
He also reveals himself to us in a way that touches our emotions. Whether fear, joy, laughter, warmth, or other, it removes part of the shadow of our understanding and touches us deeply. And it carries with it emotions that are often unexpected. I have had plenty of people cry when they encountered God and I have myself. But I have also laughed, been filled with a holy fear, and been struck dumbfounded.
Finally Understanding the Greatness of God will affect what we want to do. It affects our will. It changes our desires and motivations. We will want to ask God, “what do you want me to do with this new revelation?”
Because Great is the Lord
But the verse then says
2. Greatly to be Praised
A. We Should Praise Him
1. What is praise? - Tyndale’s Bible Dictionary says praise is “honor, commendation, and worship” – Webster’s says it is “to express a favorable judgment of, commend; to glorify (God or a saint) by the attribution of perfections to express praise; an expression of approval, worship, value, merit
2. To Whom do we offer Praise? The ONE Lord, God … Over all, alone is worthy to be praised Isaiah 42:8 “I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols”
4. By Whom is Praise Given?
b. worship leaders
c. priests and temple singers
d. Everything that has breath (Ps 150:6)
5. When should we praise?
a. in worship
b. when we rise, when we go down at night
c. David said he did it 7 times a day
d. Ps 43:1 at all times … always on my lips
6. Where should we praise him?
a. the Temple (OT Jerusalem NT WE are the Temple)
7. How should we praise?
a. limitless ways
b. singing, dancing, instruments, poetry, obedience, service
c. songs, hymns, spiritual songs (Eph 5:14)
a. he Created us
b. he preserves us
c. he saved us
d. he is conforming us
e. he makes us victorious
f. the list is as numerous as the breathes you took today
9. Do You Praise him? How?
Is it Enough?
B. We Should Praise him how? Greatly
1. do we ever praise him LESS than Greatly?
2. How do we praise him less than greatly?
a. From darkened hearts
b. From Unbelieving minds
c. From Ungrateful spirits
d. From hearts that fail to recognize his greatness and give it due
3. Isaiah 12:4-6 and in that day you will say, ‘Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name, make known his deeds among the peoples; make them remember that his name is exalted.’ Praise the Lord in Son, for he has done excellent things; Let this be known throughout the earth. Cry aloud and shout for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, For Great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel
a. in that day – the day of deliverance … Have you been Saved, Delivered from the Power of Sin, Set free from the Penalty of Death, redeemed from the Judgment we were under? … then …
b. Give Thanks – most of us do this
c. call on his name – if you don’t call to him in need you are failing to give him GREAT Praise … your praise is empty and meaningless
d. make known his deeds – tell somebody what he has done for YOU
e. make them remember he is exalted – you don’t have to be ugly or offensive but you can remind people that God is GOD
f. Praise in Song – “but I don’t sing well” … it’s not about YOU … “but they won’t let me have the microphone” – who said anything about the microphone … it’s not about you
g. Let this be KNOWN – keeping it a secret? Or do people KNOW because of YOU … GREATLY PRAISE
h. Cry Aloud / Shout for Joy – “Oh Pastor, that’s a churchy thing, that’s just a scripture” … Really … you think so? GREATLY PRAISE …
i. WHY? FOR GREAT in your Midst is the Holy One … IF God is doing something in your life … you should GREATLY Praise him … If he is NOT doing something in your life it is NOT HIS FAULT … let him have his way … Reflect on his Greatness in your midst … Is God Great in YOU? Can others See it? Greatly Praise Him
On last thing from Psalm 48
Great is the Lord
Greatly to be Praised
3. In the City of Our God, His Holy Mountain
What is the POSITION from which we offer Praise?
What does this mean?
IN the Old Testament they saw Jerusalem as the City of God. This Psalm is a song that draws the heart and attention to the city of God.
God’s people didn’t ALL live in Jerusalem but they all set their HEART on the City. They would make a pilgrimage to Judah at least once a year and all year long they would have their heart set on Jerusalem even though they separated.
If we are going to worship God in his Greatness and Give him GREAT Praise … we have worship from a different perspective a different position. We have to set our mind on Heaven
A. Recognize Our Citizenship is in Heaven
1. we are not residents of this world.
2. Philippians 3:20 – “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ”
3. Jesus said that his Kingdom is NOT of this world (Jn 18:36)
4. Rom 12:2 says not to be conformed to the Pattern of this World
5. It will free us to worship him Greatly when we let go of the things of this world, when we praise him as aliens, citizens of another place.
6. Some of us are afraid to praise greatly because “I’ve got to live here” or “I’ve got to work here”. Really? Do you HAVE to? Do you Trust God to Protect you? I’m not talking about being unnecessarily annoying or offensive. But you can’t praise him greatly if you are fearful of repercussions for worshipping him. Know the Truth. Know your rights. Know where your real citizenship is and Greatly Praise him
B. Get away From This World
1. recon yourself an alien
2. there should be times of worship when you separate yourself to a special time and special place reserved for your worship
3. separate yourself from worldly concerns or being culturally relevant. You know in the modern church, we hear a lot about being “culturally relevant” and I get it. I’ve even had promotional material from churches I’ve pastured, including this one that described my messages as “culturally relevant” … but that is to the extent that Jesus is the answer for every circumstance.
4. We need to stop trying to make God fit or be relevant to our world and instead make our world fit or be relevant to God
5. We have to Enter in to a Heavenly Mindset not a worldly mindset
6. Like Abraham … Hebrews 11:9-10 says “he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents … For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God”
C. Personal Holiness Helps us Praise Him … “IN the City … Holy Mountain”
1. Isaiah 66:2b “… this is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.”
2. the HCSB renders it “I look favorably on this kind of person: one who is humble, submissive in spirit”
3. When we live in an upright manner, we turn God’s Gaze toward us, as our gaze is on him
Great is the Lord
Greatly to be Praised
In the City of Our God, His Holy Mountain …
If you have a book, do the daily assignments this week
If you do not have a book:
Memorize Psalm 48:1 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, in the City of our God, His holy Mountain
Thursday - read this passage and focus on our Almighty God
Friday - Read Isa. 66:2 focus on our King of kings and Lord of lords
Saturday/Sunday – Read Isa 11:1-3 focus on Majesty on High
Monday - Read Isa 12:4-6 focus on the One able to keep you from Stumbling
Tuesday – Read Isa 43:18-19 focus on Alpha and Omega