Isaiah 6 starts out, “in the year of King Uzziah’s death.” King Uzziah had been a very great and powerful king of Israel. He ruled for over 50 years and brought peace and security. His death meant a transfer of power and with many transitions in Israel’s history, there was a bit of unknown whether the next king would remain faithful to God. As a prophet of God, these circumstances greatly affected Isaiah.
I feel this story gives a good view of how to treat problems we encounter. I will call it the three heaven approaches of how to come above any problem you may have. In this post I describe these approaches, how to identify which approach you are using, and how to come above any problem.
The First Heaven Approach
The circumstances of our lives will always attempt to get us flustered and worried. Things happen that are not in our control, but they still impact our lives. A natural disaster, a financial crisis, a new president, a sick family member, are all circumstances that we have little control over, but impact our lives. What are we going to do when these things happen?
The first heaven approach will look at every problem by worldly standards. What do I see? And, what can I do? We know worrying about things will not help. However, there are many other responses we go to in order to give us a feeling of control but really only create a facade of hope. Our life is just a mist, and all our plans can be easily overturn (James 4:13-14).
This first heaven approach will feel the most practical of the three approached. If something happens, you adjust what you are doing to lessen the impact of the problem. We just had another outbreak of the Chicken Flu in the area we live, therefore our response is to stop eating food with chicken or eggs. It is very practical, but it is only the first heaven approach.
The Second Heaven Approach
The next approach is to focus on the spiritual realities going on around you. In Isaiah’s time, while King Uzziah did many good practices for God, the people still continued with their corrupt practices, which also continues under Uzziah’s son’s reign (2 Chronicles 27:2). It would have been very easy for Isaiah to start praying against the wicked practices of his times and release godly wisdom on the successor.
The spiritual realm is very real and powerfully effects the world which we see, for good and for bad. Many follow the powers of the air without even knowing it (Ephesians 2:2). While Jesus gave us authority cast out demons in order to advance His kingdom (Matthew 10:8), this is a dangerous place to focus our attention.
We only have limited sight into the second heaven. Demons like to lie and hide, and while we do have authority over them, they enjoy getting our focus off of God and onto them. By staying in the first heaven, demons and can hide and cause problems unhindered. But, by staying in the second heaven, we engage in battle with principalities that know the rules of warfare much better than we do.
The Third Heaven Approach
Isaiah chose the third heaven approach in Isaiah 6. King Uzziah dies, and Isaiah confers with God. What he sees reassures him that God is still in control. In fact he becomes undone in the encounter as he is reminded of God’s holiness.
Isaiah comes to God in need, but enters God’s throne room seemingly unannounced. Isaiah comes in and sees God seated on His throne with heavenly creatures flying around singing His praise. One beautiful benefit of the third heaven approach is that it reminds us that the things we are experiencing are not all about us. The world doesn’t revolve around us, but there is One who is worthy to be the sole focus of everything in our world.
The second part of the third heaven approach is that Isaiah pays attention to what is going on in this experience. After being cleansed, Isaiah hears the Lord saying, “who shall I send? And, who shall go for us?” While the world doesn’t revolve around us, God is actively trying to get us involved. Isaiah hears the voice of the Lord and gives His acceptance to the request.
How to Choose the Third Heaven Approach?
Please notice that Isaiah never brought up any of his concerns. He never mentioned Uzziah. He never mentioned any of his fears. Isaiah just went to heaven. He saw the praises of God and just responded to what he saw. Too often we get too focused on our needs that we lose focus on God. Once Isaiah came into God’s presences and adjusted his view, he heard what the Lord was already saying.
Another reason we have difficulty is that what God is saying doesn’t seem to answer our needs. There are couple things about God that will drastically help us: 1. God’s ways are not like our ways, and 2. God really likes us to have faith (and if faith made sense, it would be logic not faith).
Let us try to focus more on this third heaven approach. There may be legitimate reasons to be in the other two heavens, but let’s first get God’s perspective. The first heaven leads us to worry and striving. The second heaven leads us into fear and battle. However, the third heaven leads us into rest and hope. This is wonderful way to live.