What Makes a Kingdom?

N.T. Wright once declared, “Any kingdom is where things are as the king would have them.” As we read of King Uzziah dying, we remember back to the time of the Judges when the people began crying out for a king. God wished the people understood that they already had a king. Yet He went ahead and allowed them to have their misguided wish. And for that, Israel struggled mightily through the reigns of some very bad kings. King Uzziah did not escape this fate. His pride got the best of him, and Israel surely suffered for it.

As we consider our own lives in the times and spaces that we inhabit, the idea that the kingdom is where things are as the king would have them is good for us to remember. Those of us following and being formed by Jesus must understand that, while God’s kingdom has not yet come in full, it is already coming. He calls us to participate in this kingdom work through the power of the Holy Spirit in and around us. We are to help make things in the world more like the king would have them while remembering that God is still king.

 

An Encounter with The King

Isaiah’s experience here in the beginning of chapter 6 is much the same. He encountered the true King. The scene that unfolds before him included two seraphim—angels—calling to one another, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Armies; his glory fills the whole earth!” (Isaiah 6:3). For the seraphim to repeat the word “holy” three times is significant. The angels are indicating that this king is no ordinary ruler. His glory fills the entirety of the earth He created. And it is precisely the awareness of this great glory that causes Isaiah to quickly come face-to-face with his own brokenness after coming face to face with God Himself. God mercifully granted atonement to through the seraphim.

This picture of atonement is a foretaste of what we are able to experience through Jesus. Ephesians 1:20 tells us that God exercised this power in Christ by raising Him from the dead and seating Him at his right hand in the heavens. Jesus has taken His rightful, eternal place with God. Jesus is our king. Have you had an experience with Jesus at all like Isaiah’s experience here in Isaiah 6? Have you, too, been caught up in the glory of God? Has it caused you to deal honestly with our own propensity to sin and fall short of God’s righteous demands on our lives?

 

What is Our Response?

If so, let us not miss Isaiah’s response, for ours should mirror it as well. In verse 8, when God asks Isaiah whom shall He send, Isaiah responds, “Here I am. Send me.” Each week, the church is reminded that they are loved, sent, and never alone. To live “sent” is to realize the call on our lives to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ in all that we say and do. May we all take Isaiah’s posture. May we respond to Jesus’ call on our lives with the same, fervent, “Here I am. Send me.”

And in doing so, perhaps the world will be more and more as the King would have it.