I thought I could run with the boys in the NBA until I faced one on the court. Rex was an eight-year veteran of the league and ten years my junior when he came to “our court” one Sunday afternoon. On "our court," bellies hang over shorts. On "our court," braces adorn bodies the way earrings do rock stars. One look at the personnel and it was obvious Rex was there for the run, not the competition. I had different ideas. I thought I could run with Rex—not outplay him mind you—just hold my own on the hardwood. My opinion quickly changed when Rex grabbed a rebound and drove up the floor toward my end of the court. He was a general preparing to attack. I was the lowly private poised to defend my post. This was my moment, the opportunity to prove my stuff; in my mind the chance to “make the team.” Rex faked to his right, darted to his left and shot past me the way a Ferrari roars past a Yugo. My balance was not the only thing I lost in that brief one-on-one encounter. Reality set in about the time my rear end hit the floor—I was out of my league.
I was not the first person to experience such a paradigm shift. On another day, in a different arena, Isaiah had the rare opportunity to go one-on-one with God. When he did he discovered the Almighty was in a league of his own.
“In the year King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord. He was sitting on a lofty throne, and the train of his robe filled the Temple. Hovering around him were mighty seraphim, each with six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with the remaining two they flew. In a great chorus they sang, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty! The whole earth is filled with his glory!” The glorious singing shook the Temple to its foundations, and the entire sanctuary was filled with smoke. Then I said, ‘My destruction is sealed, for I am a sinful man and a member of a sinful race. Yet I have seen the King, the LORD Almighty!” (Isaiah 6:1-5 NLT)
There is something about seeing God in all his splendor that changes us. Like my one-on-one confrontation with Rex that Sunday afternoon, seeing God magnifies his excellence and minimizes my “greatness.” “Woe is me,” Isaiah cried. Woe is a term of judgment. It is Isaiah’s serious, “Oh, oh, I am way out of my league!” Others have stepped on the court with God, all have walked off with the same thought. Job saw God and said, “My ears have heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:5,6 NIV) Ezekiel saw God up close and personal and fell face down. When Peter caught a glimpse of God’s glory, he said, “go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man.” John’s eyes viewed God and he fell at his feet as dead.
I wonder if we take God too lightly. He’s the “Big Man,” “The Man Upstairs,” “The Big Kahuna.” Certainly God is our friend and an ever-present help, but don’t we err when we reduce him to a divine big buddy? The greats of the Bible walked and talked with God, but they recognized him as so magnificent in his splendor, so mighty in his power, and so untouchable in his person that he was in a league of his own. They bowed before him and took time to praise him. That is a proper response to holiness and one we would do well to model!
FOCAL POINT: As you glance through the paper or a magazine or catch the news, let each mention of a “superstar” remind you of the One who is truly in a league of his own. Take time to praise him today.
Copyright © 2009 Tommy Kiedis, All Rights Reserved