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Image by Milad Fakurian
  • Writer's pictureFirst Christian Church of Chicago

Knocked to Your Knees

How can you tell if someone has had a real and intimate encounter with God?

For some people it seems that spiritual pride is the result. It appears to have been true for many in Ancient Israel. They were anointed by God as his people. It served as a point of tremendous pride, and for some a reason to look down on others. It sounds like a lot of people in the church today.

Here the story of Isaiah is informative. In Isaiah 6:1-4, he witnesses God in all of his majesty: living king, presiding judge, Holy One, heavyweight. This God he encounters is to be taken seriously.

So, how does Isaiah respond. Isaiah 6:5. My paraphrase: "I'm as good as dead. I'm melting because I see my sin clearly and the sin I share with the world around me, and I'm broken in God’s presence."

Let's break that down a bit. "Woe" is a term of lament. He believes he is attending his own funeral. With the Burning Ones flying around to execute God’s judgment the prospect is jarring.

What the NIV translates as "I am ruined", the KJV is closer, "I am undone". The term is metaphorical, "dissolved". Picture the wicked witch in The Wizard of Oz after she is doused with a bucket of water by Dorothy: "I'm melting!"

Here is what we see. Witnessing an encounter with God brings us to our knees. It kicked the legs from under us. It leaves us wondering if we deserve to exist in God’s presence. The wind is sucked out of our sails.

Why? Because is the presence of the brilliance of a holy God all of my brokenness is exposed. As long as I leave the light of in my home, the garbage and feces can accumulate because I don't see it. But once the light is turned on I am confronted with the shambles my house (life) has become.

I wonder if a problem in the American church is that in a culture which has cloaked itself with the ideology of being a Christian nation if many professed Christians suffer from a sense of spiritual pride because they've never had a true encounter with God. They are acquainted with him. They have heard all about Him from friends. Maybe seen him from across the room. But never been so close that God’s Glory, his weightiness could burn into their hearts.

When was that last time you had an experience with God that knocked the legs out from underneath you, and left you on your knees?

BTW - God doesn't leave us broken before himself. But that is a story for tomorrow.


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