“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord . “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.”
–Isaiah 55:8 (NLT)
“Tell us a story, Grandpa Isaiah!” Debbie and David begged.
“It’s already past your bedtime. You don’t need one.”
“Oh, come on!” David wailed. “Don’t be like Mom and Dad. We like to sleep over at your house because you’re fun.”
Debbie piped up, “Tell us that story about what happened in the temple. It’s short.”
“Oh, all right. I guess even a prophet can spoil his grandchildren. But if I do this, you have to promise to go right to sleep, and no questions unless you don’t understand something.”
“We double promise!” they both shouted.
“But I don’t understand something. What’s a prophet?” Debbie asked.
“Well,” Isaiah replied, “a prophet is someone who is sent by God, and he speaks for God. Now let’s get started.”
Isaiah cleared his throat and began. “Once upon a time, when I was very young, there was a king of Judah who lived in a grand palace.”
“You were young?” Debbie blurted out.
“Yes,” Elijah sighed. “Now please be quiet.”
“Okay,” the children promised again, crossing their hearts.
“Good. Now where was I?”
“You were telling us about the king. … Sorry!” David quickly put his hand over his mouth.
Overlooking the outburst, Isaiah went on. “King Uzziah liked to play golf, but I didn’t feel comfortable with that.”
“Why not?” David asked. Prompted by a wink from his grandfather, he said, “Oops. Sorry!”
“I was an assistant professor at the School of the Prophets back then, and I took my job very seriously. We were about to be taken away into the foreign land of Babylon, and I needed to warn the people. Nothing was going well at all.
“Now let me get back to my story. Our wives liked to shop at the local mall, so even though we looked at a lot of things differently, we all became good friends. Our families got together at his palace for dinner once in a while, but sometimes I couldn’t get away from my work.
“The people were turning from God at a faster and faster rate, so I thought we needed to talk about everything that was going on in the kingdom. But Uzziah’s wife had just given him a new set of golf clubs for his birthday, and whenever I tried to talk about his subjects’ lack of faith, all Uzziah could talk about was how he did on the course that morning. I would get irritated and make up some excuse to leave.
“Then one night, things changed. I was the prophet on call, and Uzziah’s wife texted me on my cell phone, asking me to come over immediately. As it turned out, the king had gone to be with God, like your grandmother did. Do you remember Grandma? You were probably too young.”
“I do,” said Debbie. “She made good cookies. All you get is the store-bought kind.”
“Nobody could bake like your grandmother could.” Isaiah rubbed his belly and chuckled.
“We all have different gifts from God, and Uzziah was no exception. He made some mistakes, but overall, he did a pretty good job. I was very sad, and I missed our morning meetings at the temple.
“I missed the king terribly, and all I wanted to do that year was mope around the house. But your grandmother got tired of it, and one day she sent me packing to the temple. She told me not to come back until I had cheered up.
“I hurried inside where it was quiet and I just sat there, thinking about what she had said. Then, as I began to calm down, I saw something that I’ll never forget as long as I live. It slowly became clearer and clearer. It was as though a picture had flashed on the screen of my mind, and I saw someone who I knew was the Lord!
“His face was hidden behind a cloud of smoke, and His robe gave off a blinding, otherworldly glow that filled every corner of the temple. I was filled with the presence of God.
“I was spellbound by God’s appearance, but that’s not all. He sat on a golden throne that was unlike anything I have ever seen. It looked like it had fire coming out of it, and I could hear loud peals of thunder. I was overcome, and I was no longer able to stand. I fell down before God.
“Then I heard the most beautiful music I had ever heard in my life. I wondered if I dared to look up.
“Time seemed to stand still. Then I saw angels above the throne. They also had on blinding white robes, and each one had six wings. Two of the wings covered each of their faces. Two covered their feet, and they used their last two wings to fly.
“Now I could see that these angels were singing to one another. I have never heard anything like their glorious and beautiful music before or since.
“Then I cried out, ‘God, I am a very unworthy person, and I live among people who use nothing but profanity.”
“At that moment, one of the angels touched my lips with a burning coal from the heavenly fire, and there was thunder and lightning. The angel said, ‘God has heard you and forgiven your sin.’
“Then, for the first time, I heard a refreshing voice, and I knew it had to be the voice of God. It was like the sound of running water in a peaceful river. The Lord was saying, ‘I have a very important message for My people. Who will go and take it to them?’
“I raised my head and said slowly, ‘God, if you can use me, here I am.’ Without any further delay, the Lord sent me out, and I have been able to speak His Word, because He has given me the strength to do it.
“When I drove back from the temple, I felt so much better. It was like a heavy weight had been lifted from me. I almost danced through the door, shouting at the top of my lungs, ‘Honey, I’m home! You’ll never believe what happened to me today!’
“And I know you kids will never believe it, but now it’s time for bed.”

I’m willing to bet most of us have never seen an angel as far as we know, but we have all been given the same mandate to go and tell God’s message to others. So, why aren’t we doing just that?
We have more Christian books, seminars, and translations of the Bible than there have ever been in history, but we need only look as far as the book of Isaiah. I would venture to say that just as Isaiah was lost in a fog after King uzziah died, most of us are lost in a fog as well.
When Jesus gave us the parable of the sower, He mentioned the people who are laden down with the cares of this world. This does not always have to do with backsliding overtly. This state of mind simply involves forgetting that this world is not our true home. It is a subtle invitation to take our eyes off of Christ just long enough to be sucked into the world’s mentality, which is one of independence and estrangement from God.
Secondly, just as Isaiah was touched by God’s glory, we also need to allow Him to touch us. But instead, I believe we tend to strip the gospel of its glory. Many of you reading this may be appalled, so let me explain.
our main concern often becomes making other people feel good, and we have so many methods and gimmicks which can help us accomplish this. Eternal separation from God is something that isn’t mentioned in polite circles, and financial prosperity is the buzz word for many.
For the most part, we have lost the attitude which Isaiah displayed–an attitude of humility and dependence upon God, and the willingness to come to God in childlike simplicity. Jesus said that without Him we can do nothing, but do we really believe that?
Lastly, Isaiah displays an open and willing heart. In this age of comfort, if we are not careful, we can all bow down to the god of pleasure. When the angel touched Isaiah and the prophet’s sin was removed, God was able to send him out. If Isaiah had been sent out as he was, it would have been like mopping a room with a dirty sponge. Isaiah’s sin would have made him impure if the angel had not touched his lips with God’s fire.
In the same way, Jesus told us to go into all of the world, but before we can be effective witnesses, we have to be filled with His purifying spirit. We must come to the cross and bow before Him, so that we can stand before those who are lost.
God wants to touch all of us, just as He once touched Isaiah. He wants us to confess our sins, and admit that our strength and ability only comes from a holy God.
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870.
Finally, you’re always welcome to join our Tuesday night Bible study. These studies are conducted by conference call, and they take place at 5:30 PM Arizona time. Our conference number is 712-432-6498. When prompted, press 1 for live chat rooms, and we’ll be waiting in room 31. You can press pound to bypass our friend Sharon’s intro message once you’ve entered room 31. We hope to talk with you soon!
If you have questions, comments or prayer requests for Timothy or Stephanie Burdick, please call 507-369-6861.