Summary: "A High View of God" is an exposition of Isaiah 6:1-8, which records Isaiah's life-changing vision of God in the temple and subsequent call to prophetic ministry. The point of this sermon is that your view of God is everything! Isaiah's vision teaches thr
A HIGH VIEW OF GOD
Isaiah 6 records Isaiah’s life-transforming vision of God and subsequent call to prophetic ministry. It is arguably one of the most well-known passages in Isaiah’s prophecy. And rightfully so, for it contains the dramatic testimony of a sinful man who had a violent encounter with God and lived to tell about it. Isaiah’s gaze was lifted above and beyond his physical surroundings and he received a vision of God that immediately, completely, and permanently changed his life. And God’s Spirit moved Isaiah to record his testimony in order to call you and me to a high view of God. No, we cannot have Isaiah’s personal vision of God. But we can, must, and need to have his resulting view of God. A.W. TOZER was right: “The greatest need of the moment is that lighthearted, superficial religionists be struck down with a vision of God high and lifted up, with his train filling the temple.”
In his book The Supremacy of God in Preaching, JOHN PIPER writes of using Isaiah 6 as a pastoral experiment. He preached this text, trying his best to exalt the glory, majesty, and holiness of God. But he intentionally omitted any personal applications. The test was this: “Would the passionate portrayal of the greatness of God in and or itself meet the needs of the people?” A young family was present that day, which had just discovered that their child was being sexually abused by a close relative. Several weeks later, Piper learned about the incredibly traumatic story. The husband took him aside one Sunday after service and said, “John, these have been the hardest months of our lives. Do you know what has gotten me through? The vision of God’s holiness that you gave me… It has been the rock we could stand on.”
Here’s the point: YOUR VIEW OF GOD IS EVERYTHING! Jeremiah 9:23-24 puts it this way: Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understand and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.” I repeat: A right view of God is everything. Without it, you have nothing. Only when God is put in the right perspective is everything else brought into focus. So let’s walk through Isaiah’s vision as it teaches us three essentials elements of a high view of God.
I. GOD IS SOVEREIGN.
The Bible is clear that we cannot see God with the naked eye. John 4:24 says, “God is Spirit.” 1 Timothy 6:16 says that God “dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see.” And 1 John 4:12 bluntly says, “No one has ever seen God.” Yet Isaiah says, “I saw the Lord.” How could Isaiah see the invisible God? Well, we get an indication of what Isaiah actually saw in the title ascribed to God: “The Lord.” The title “Lord” is used here in verse 1. And it’s also used in verse 3, but with a distinction. In verse 1, the L is capitalized, with the “o-r-d” in lower case letters. But in verse 3, the L is capitalized, with the “O-R-D” in small capitals. This is the translators’ way of indicating that two different Hebrew words are being used in the original. In verse 3, and throughout the OT, when the word “LORD” is in all capitals, it translates the word Yahweh. Later, vowels were added and the name was pronounced “Jehovah.” It’s the proper name of the one true God that means THE SELF-EXISTENT ONE. But in verse 1 the word “Lord” is spelled with lower case letters. It translates the word Adonai, which is a title meaning THE SOVEREIGN ONE.
Notice that Isaiah did not see God’s essential nature. Rather, he saw a vision of God’s sovereign authority; which is further indicated in the fact that God was sitting on a throne. In verse 5 Isaiah says, “My eyes have seen the King.” And let me add that John 14:39-40 declares the rejection of Jesus’ ministry to be the fulfillment of Isaiah 6:10. Then John 12:41 says, “Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory.” John says that Isaiah saw a CHRISTOPHONY – a preincarnate vision of Christ. Before the birth, ministry, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension of Christ, Isaiah saw the Lord Jesus enthroned in heaven, the Uncreated reigning over all creation. This vision of the Lord enthroned in heaven gives us a descriptive definition of the sovereignty of God.
A. THE LORD IS ETERNAL.
Verse 1 dates Isaiah’s vision: “In the year that King Uzziah died...” Uzziah was the 9th king of Judah. He took the throne at the age of 16, and reigned for 52 years. According to 2 Chronicles 26, Uzziah was “marvelously helped” by God to lead Judah to political, military, and economic greatness. But when he became strong, Uzziah’s heart was lifted up in pride to his own destruction. He defied God’s sovereignty and violated God’s holiness by intruding into priestly service. So God struck him with leprosy. And he died in isolation from the kingdom he built. But in the year Uzziah died, God revealed himself to Isaiah as the Holy One who is enthroned in sovereign authority forever. A hundred years from now, every head of state in the world today will be off the scene. But as these earthly rulers relinquish their power, God will still be sitting on his throne in heaven.