I cannot imagine the life of a prophet of old. Their lives were, to borrow a phrase from Maui, straight kookie-dukes. Their lives were lived preaching the truth about the law and encouraging people toward freedom from their sin’s enslavement if they could just cling to the virtues of the law. A real prophet, those that existed, never got people excited when they opened their mouths. They proclaimed hard truths and dire consequences.
And sometimes God really jacked up their worlds.
Think about poor Ezekiel. Home boy had to lay down on his side to show what the siege of Jerusalem was going to look like. He had to lay siege to a brick. With his body. Just imagine some holy dude spooning construction material in your downtown area. Yeah… that guy did not get invited to dinner quite often.
Hosea… that guy had to, cuz God said so, name his children names like, “No More Love” and “Not My People” and “No Double Coupons.”
Isaiah…. now this guy was going on about his normal business and then he got blasted off into the stratosphere of God’s presence. He was one place, and then suddenly he was in a place where he knew he was in the throne room of God. The leaders of worship and heavenly warfare surrounded the throne and called him “holy.” They called him, “holy.” They called him, “holy.”
The thrice repeated qualifier of perfection of perfection, and ideal set apart reality convinced Isaiah of a few things, not the least of which was that he did not belong there. He groaned out loud about his reality. “I am a man of unclean lips,” and the awful people who were his beloved people. God remedied it by cleansing one thing first…
Worthy of every song we could ever sing.
Worthy of every praise we could ever bring,
Jesus the only One who could ever save
We live for you
If the greatest thing we can produce happens once in our lives, where skill, and timing, and all of the variables are in harmony, and we skate as closely as possible to perfection, it will fall short of God’s perfection. And even in its imperfect condition, only God is worthy of our best efforts. He qualifies us for it. He gives us permission for it.
Consider the entire ritual of entering into the Holy Place established in the wilderness. You had to come into the physical place and be cleaned from processes outside of yourself. Sacrifice needed to be made. Incense was burned. Prayer was lifted. And then only the one who had been sufficiently cleansed could go into intimate contact with God. The movement into the Presence is a perfect allegory for what would take its place millenia later as the curtain ripped and the body of Christ, the living tabernacle would itself render itself for a temporary destruction, and then come back to fullness of perfection and invitation for all who would sacrifice and accept greater sacrifice just for the purpose of intimate relationship with God.
Holy, there is no one like You
There is none beside You
Open up my eyes in wonder
Show me who You are and
Fill me with Your love and
Send me, in Your love to
Those around me
What a beautiful progression! We go from intimate relationship, awe, and bewilderment at His perfection to a desire to go and bring that perfection into the lives of those with whom we live. Love… the real perfect kind cannot be held. It holds. It breathes in us. It spills out of us, multiplied in a grateful heart and accelerated in the blood of one purchased by The Blood.
The sacrifice is no longer a lamb, but The Lamb. The sacrifice is no longer our bread, but the work of our hands. The sacrifice is no longer our greatest pasture produce, but our very living sacrificial lives, given in the pursuit of God’s purposes for us.
It directs our lives, changes our lives, and chastens our lives toward one goal. Experience God. Worship Him.
I will build my life
Upon Your love
It is a firm foundation
And I will put my trust
In You alone, and I will
Not be shaken
This song is wonderful because it is simple. It is a verse sung twice and a chorus sung however many times is desired. It’s a bridge, from which the title is derived and the heart of the song is delivered. The progression of worship because we are invited and qualified by God leads us to standing in awe. Standing in awe leads us to experience His love. Experiencing His love sends us out into service of other people. Service of other people eventually becomes our lives founded upon His love and His grace.
And that is a life well lived.
Even if we have to spoon bricks.
Pat Barrett, Matt Redman, Brett Younker, Kirby Kaple, Karl Martin, “Build My Life,” Worthy of Your Name. Bethel Music Publishing. 2016.