There are times when God needs a new kind of man. In Isaiah 6, God unveiled a renewed Prophet – not the same Isaiah that served in the reign of King Uzziah. We are not informed of lapses in Isaiah’s previous ministry… it simply was not doing the job God wanted.
This article is not remotely a critique of any or a lack of appreciation for the great pastoral/evangelical works of the distant or recent past. But as King Uzziah died … a renewed Prophet of God emerged. So …
Isaiah[6:1] In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.
Tozer wrote of his vision of a new prophet that will be very different from the norm.
“If Christianity is to receive a rejuvenation, it must be by other means than any now being used. If the Church in the second half of this century is to recover from the injuries she suffered in the first half, there must appear a new type of preacher. The proper, ruler-of-the-synagogue type will never do. Neither will the priestly type of man who carries out his duties, takes his pay and asks no questions, nor the smooth-talking pastoral type who knows how to make the Christian religion acceptable to everyone. All these have been tried and found wanting.
Another kind of religious leader must arise among us. He must be of the old prophet type, a man who has seen visions of God and has heard a voice from the Throne. When he comes (and I pray God there will be not one but many), he will stand in flat contradiction to everything our smirking, smooth civilization holds dear. He will contradict, denounce and protest in the name of God and will earn the hatred and opposition of a large segment of Christendom. Such a man is likely to be lean, rugged, blunt-spoken and a little bit angry with the world. He will love Christ and the souls of men to the point of willingness to die for the glory of the One and the salvation of the other. But he will fear nothing that breathes with mortal breath.
This is only to say that we need to have the gifts of the Spirit restored again to the Church. And it is my belief that the one gift we need most now is the gift of prophecy. “Of the sons of Issachar who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do, their chiefs were two hundred” – 1 Chr 12:32. A prophet is one who knows his times and what God is trying to say to the people of his times…. Today we need prophetic preachers; not preachers of prophecy merely, but preachers with a gift of prophecy. The word of wisdom is missing. We need the gift of discernment again in our pulpits. It is not ability to predict that we need, but the anointed eye, the power of spiritual penetration and interpretation, the ability to appraise the religious scene as viewed from God’s position, and to tell us what is actually going on….
Where is the man who can see through the ticker tape and confetti to discover which way the parade is headed, why it started in the first place and, particularly, who is riding up front in the seat of honor?…What is needed desperately today is prophetic insight. Scholars can interpret the past; it takes prophets to interpret the present. Learning will enable a man to pass judgment on our yesterdays, but it requires a gift of clear seeing to pass sentence on our own day….”
Perhaps Tozer speaks of you…If you will let God truly reign…and let the dead King Uzziah remain buried. Reflect on what a deceased King Uzziah could represent. The fallen icons of Wall St, the dethroned pillars of modern capitalism and disgraced princes, the leprous financial institutions, failures of promising well-meaning ambitions and legitimate dreams, exposed religious bigotry etc. The death of Uzziah did not only serve to punish his errant habits. Perhaps when we cease mourning or analysing Uzziah’s death and look up to God, we will see differently and move forward. The greatest value that was realised from ending Uzziah’s already leprous reign was not to correct Uzziah’s excesses but to enable Isaiah to enter His new call … i.e. recognising first his depravity and then the sin of the people, calling for repentance and prophesying of the coming salvation in the Messiah – Jesus Christ. Reflect on this. Jesus Christ is indeed coming back soon. Who is the Prophet now freed to alert us of sin, identify and clean our stains by His blood, iron out the wrinkles on the bridal gown with the “hot” press of His word and thus make us fully ready for the coming Marriage?
Indeed in the more recent past, several tough social and ethical issues have been raised, debated and tackled but King Uzziah (though leprous) vowed to uphold his unassailable fortress and positions – and few dared an open challenge. With King Uzziah dead – who will risk cosy mission field assignments, a sound reputation of a preacher, a promising future ministry career or a revered leadership position or place of influence only to be derided and isolated as a foolish ranting religious lunatic (not fanatic)? Who will cause conviction by the Holy Spirit that the best of man today is as a foul rebel…thus demolishing all of King Uzziah’s previous strongholds? Who will lead us to confess as Isaiah did “Woe is me for I am undone”?
Lord, we pray for that gift of prophetic insight. Move us beyond the knowledge You’ve enabled us to gain through education, reading, and study. We pray that we might lead as one who has seen visions of God and has heard a voice from the throne. Amen.
Our God reigns – God bless you.
(Also see (side bar) two other recent previous posts related to King Uzziah)