Encounters with God firmly root us in a heavenly reality and launch us into our divine trajectory.
Jesus taught us to pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” What is happening in heaven right now and why does it matter to our lives? It matters because God intended us to live from heaven to earth, not the other way around. He intended us to live FROM Him, not FOR Him.
In order to live from heaven to earth, we must know what is happening in heaven, where God the Father is. To be sure, the Holy Spirit is both in us and upon us. He is the guarantee of our heavenly inheritance (Eph. 1:14). One day heaven will come to earth because heaven is wherever God is (Rev. 21:21). Until then, we seek to bring heaven to earth.
Isaiah 6:1-8 gives us a clear picture of heaven. I want to encourage you to read over the heavenly encounters in the Bible (Isaiah 6, Revelation 4-6, and Ezekiel 1.) Heaven is focused around the throne of God and the One sitting upon it. As we look into Isaiah 6:1-8, there are four primary themes I want to address.
4 Things That Happen When You Encounter God
1) God longs to reveal Himself, especially during times of personal change and cultural upheaval.
It was the year King Uzziah died (VS 1). He had been king for 52 years and Israel had seen great prosperity and victory…until He became prideful and stopped inquiring of the Lord. (2 Chronicles 26:5). Things were changing, fast. It was during that time of upheaval and change that God revealed Himself to Isaiah. We live in times of great upheaval and change when God wants to reveal Himself to those that are listening and watching.
2) God encounters give us clarity and fill us with His presence (VS 1-4).
Isaiah saw the Lord and what was happening in heaven – the Lord seated on His throne, angels singing, a temple filled with His presence. He had heavenly clarity. The Israelites understood the temple in Jerusalem to be Yahweh’s earthly dwelling, but now we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. All it takes is the hem of His garment to fill us because a little bit of God is more than enough. Today, God wants to give you heavenly clarity and fill you with His presence.
3) God encounters reveal our inadequacies and drive us toward repentance (VS 5-7).
When we see God and encounter Him close up, we are undone. It reveals our shortcomings just as it did Isaiah’s. There is only one appropriate response – repentance. As we turn back to God, the Lord cleanses us and forgives us. We can’t escape a God encounter without knowing how dependent we are upon Him. As you encounter God today and are undone, allow Him to forgive you and cleanse you (1 John 1:9).
4) God encounters clarify our calling and demand a response (VS. 8).
You can’t come into God’s presence and stay the same. Worship without action is no worship at all just as faith without works is dead. Isaiah’s response to God’s question demonstrates this. God said, “Who will go for us?” Isaiah’s response is classic, “Here I am. Send me.” God encounters tend to shake loose all the things that aren’t important. When we see God for who He is, clarity comes, and that clarity demands a response.
People often ask, What are the signs of an encounter with God? Here are a few:
- Peace (when we lose His peace, we’ve lost His presence
- Clarity (we see clearly in His presence)
- Faith (we have a sense of trust and energized faith after an encounter)
- Don’t try to compare your encounter to someone else’s.
- An encounter with God doesn’t have to be big and dramatic. Some of the most profound examples in scripture were subtle (Elijah and the still small voice, Samuel hearing His voice as a young boy, and Peter praying on the rooftop while he’s waiting for lunch and having a vision). God encounters aren’t always flaming bushes and tongues of fire.
- Don’t seek God for an encounter. Seek God to be with Him. The reality is, you can encounter Him every day. Relationship with God – not the encounter – is the point.
I hope you will set some time aside to encounter the Lord and remember, “When the king smiles, there is life; his favor refreshes like a spring rain.” (Prov. 16:15 NLT).