High and Lifted Up

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said:

“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!” – Isaiah 6:1-3.

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” – Luke 2:8-14.

Never has anyone spoken more eloquently of great religion than did the heavenly host on that first Christmas. They sang: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is well pleased!” (NASB).

Great religion is concerned with heaven and earth, God and people, people in relation to God and to each other. Great religion is spiritual and ethical, personal and social, individual and corporate. It encompasses the whole of life.

It is glory to God in the highest. He is the great supremely divine God, lifted high above all things He has made. He is not a prisoner of His creation nor lost in its processes. He is not caught in our narrow time frame nor limited by our geographical boundaries. His dwelling place is mystery and He walks in an unapproachable light.

pd glory to God

Isaiah in his transforming experience in the temple encountered no little god. He tells us, “In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up.” This God was not caught in the tangled web of life so familiar to Isaiah. His voice was not drowned out by the raucous voices of earth. He was lifted high above it all.

No one has written more movingly of the divinely exalted God than Isaiah. He had the right to write that way about God since that is the way he had experienced Him. Later in his book, Isaiah speaks of God who measures the waters in the hollow of His hand, marks off the heavens with a span, stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. He weighs the mountains in scales.

The psalmist also shares Isaiah’s eloquence in describing this great and mighty, exalted and mighty God. He speaks of God who makes the clouds His chariots and rides on the wings of the wind (see Psalm 104:3).

Our universe is so vast. It seems to fade away into infinity. Yet, being a created order it must have limitations. Our finite minds cannot grasp those boundaries, nor our most powerful telescopes find them. Wherever they are God stands above them like a craftsman stands above the thing he has created. He made the universe and established its boundaries.

We need to constantly remind ourselves how important this kind of God is for our worship. We pray best and worship best as we stand on the frontiers of mystery. Indeed, unless we stand there, sooner or later, we cease to pray and fail to worship. We do not worship our nor do we pray to those things we can understand. We worship the God who dwells in mystery yet who has let us know that He is loving and trustworthy. Such a God is what Christmas has revealed; such a God Jesus has disclosed and revealed.

It is glory to God in the highest. Glory is brightness, splendor, radiance, majesty, and magnificence. Such a God inspires us to worship Him, to offer Him praise and adoration.

Possibly no generation has needed to recapture the sense of the divine and supreme God more than our own. So much mystery has fled our world. Our children look up into a brilliant heaven and think, There is where we put our satellites. They are not moved to exclaim, “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is thy name in all the earth!” – Psalm 8:1, 9 (NASB).

pd earth is the lords

This is God’s world and He will see that it fulfills the purpose for which He has created it. Yet, God is not so divine that He is out of touch with our earth. Isaiah heard God saying, “Heaven is My throne and earth is My footstool.” – Isaiah 66:1. But God does more than touch earth with His feet. He is present redemptively in His world, and there is no nook or corner where He is absent.

He is the God who comes down to show concern for poor, oppressed, and enslaved people. God comes down as a liberator and redeemer. Christmas is about God who comes down to be with His people, to set them free and liberate them. The Child of Christmas would be called Immanuel which means, “God with us.” – Matthew 1:23.

Never has heaven bent so near to earth, never has God stooped so low to our need as at Christmas. Never has earth lifted its paltry hands in such hope as at Christmas. Heaven and earth! They are held together at Christmas. It is not only glory to God in the highest, it is peace among men of goodwill with whom God is well pleased. God is a moral God who has built ethical principles into the structure of His universe and these moral laws are just as strong and binding as the laws of our physical universe. They require obedience and adherence to for peace to exist.

The Christmases of our time need peace more than other Christmases in history. The shadows of conflict and poverty fall across the landscape of this whole world. “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men in whom he is well pleased.” We need to recognize this gift, this aspect of Christmas and since we are among those “in whom he is well pleased,” let us work and pray for peace this Christmas.

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Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, NKJV © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.
Where noted, Scripture taken from the New American Standard Bible®, NASB © 2020 by The Lockman Foundation.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.

About Roland Ledoux

Pastor of Oasis Bible Ministry, an outreach ministry of teaching, encouragement and intercessory prayer from the Holy Bible, the written Word of God and author of the ministry website, For The Love of God. He lives in Delta, Colorado with his beautiful wife of 50+ years and a beautiful yellow lab whom they affectionately call Bella.
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