Friday, November 30, 2007

A Sweeter Song Than Angels Sing

I'm preaching through Isaiah 6 this Sunday. What a sublime text of Scripture! For those of us caught up in the muck, mire, and mundane monotony of daily life on messy earth, we desperately need our hearts carried away from that which is fallen to that which is pristine. Isaiah does us this favor.

In this text we read the account of Isaiah's call as a prophet. Isaiah is given a vision of the heavenly throne-room. He describes a majestic being called a seraphim. Seraphim are angels that fly around the throne of God calling out, "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory" (6:3).

As I pondered that text, thoughts of God's grandness flooded my mind. God is magnificent beyond imagination. I'm sure the seraphim are as well, but not compared with God. As they sang out this perpetual chorus, the entire place was shaking. Isaiah felt the weight of the situation and fell apart at the seems. He was immediately made aware of God's purity and his own wretchedness. Isaiah pronounced a woe upon himself. In plain English, "I am damned."

Fortunately for Isaiah and us, there is a song sweeter than the song of the seraphim. The seraphim will never personally know the joy to be found in lines like, "There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Immanuel's veins," "He has washed us with his blood," "Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me," "Here in the death of Christ, I stand," "Sin had left a crimson stain, he washed it white as snow," "One with himself, I cannot die; my soul is purchased by his blood," "He to rescue me from danger, interposed his precious blood," "He sought me, and bought me, with his redeeming blood," "His oath, his covenant, his blood, support me in the whelming flood," and "My Savior loves, my Savior lives, my Savior's always there for me."

The song of the Seraphim is a terrifying refrain. When I allow my mind to wander in the thought of it, I along with Isaiah feel the weight of glory crushing upon my frail frame. But I cannot stay there. I will not. The song of Redemption beckons me to sing along. I will look beyond the Saraphim, to the one on the throne, the one from which the Saraphim hide their eyes. And I will "weep to the praise of the mercy I've found" as I see my King, my Savior, the Lover of my soul seated in regal splendor. And I will rejoice with inexpressible joy at the salvation that is mine; the salvation that angels long to know firsthand. Life is not so bad.

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