Summary: The timing of Isaish's vision is significant in itself and the vision gives three messages to people: to appreciate the majesty of God, to repent and get right with Him, and then go out and witness to His love, mercy and forgiveness.
Isaiah 6: 1- 8: Four messages. (the timing, ‘Lo’, ‘Woe’, ‘Go’)
Not one word in the Bible should be taken for granted,
so let’s begin by looking at the words “In the year that King Uzziah died”,
because these are significant
We can read about Azariah, who took the throne name, Uzziah,
when he became King of Judah,
in 2nd Chronicles chapter 26.
He was 16 when he became king in 792BC
and he reigned in Jerusalem for a phenomenal 52 years, dying in 740BC.
The first years of his reign were good years
in that he obeyed God, so God blessed him.
The writer of 2nd Chronicles says:
"He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord".
He feared the Lord and made war against the pagan Philistines.
He built defensive towers in Jerusalem
and fortified the walls of the city and dug cisterns to store water.
But the years of the latter half of his reign have been described as bad years
because he became too powerful and proud;
we would say ‘Too full of himself’.
There are strict rules in Leviticus about the upkeep of the Tabernacle
which represented God’s presence with the Israelites during the Exodus,
and these were reinforced when the Tabernacle, a portable Tent,
was replaced by the Temple in Jerusalem.
Only priests could go into the Holy Place,
and only the High Priest could go into the Most Holy Place,
and then, only one day in the year, the Day of Atonement,
but one day Uzziah went into the part of the Temple reserved for priests
and burned incense on the altar,
and because of this the Lord struck him with leprosy.
This brings to mind Galatians 6 verse 7:
‘God will not be mocked, whatsoever a man sows, so shall he reap!’
Uzziah was forced to live in a separate house for the rest of his life
and his son Jotham was the occupant of the palace and ruler of the kingdom,
and when Uzziah died
Jotham became king at the age of 25 and reigned for 16 years;
and he feared and served the Lord faithfully .
We number years since the birth of Jesus Christ (not BCE/CE).
and very few of us would date an event by saying it happened
in the 60th year of Queen Elizabeth,
but in ancient Israel and Judah
the calendar was calculated by the reign of kings,
so Isaiah was granted a vision of heaven in the year that King Uzziah died,
what we would call 740BC.
Why in that year?
It is not for us to question God's timing of events
but it might have been because people were too afraid to look to God
in the years immediately before 740BC.
They saw what God had done to Uzziah - striking him with leprosy -
because of his casualness or over-familiarity with the things of God,
and long before Paul would write his Letter to the Galatians,
they knew in their hearts that God is not mocked
for whatever we sow, so shall we reap.
So the very dating of the text tells us that we must never take God for granted.
The 1st message from the vision can be summed up in the word ‘LO’.
God is Almighty, holy and worthy of praise
but so many people are guilty of failing to give God the place and the glory,
the honour and the respect to which He is due.
By having his vision in the year that King Uzziah died,
Isaiah would have realised that God is a merciful God;
a God Who desires to bless rather than punish,
and that His anger at Uzziah and his Israelite subjects had ended.
The vision was for Isaiah,
but for him to pass on to the whole Jewish nation, and us,
because God wants everyone to know Him,
and appreciate His omnipotence and majesty.
We pray for revival;
that millions would worship Him in spirit and in truth,
LO! He is high and lifted up and His train fills the temple
and the angels cry ‘Holy, is the Lord’.
Wouldn’t it be great if as well as the angels
more mortals had that sense of ‘Lo’ and the presence of God,
even though there is no way any human can completely understand God.
He is higher than anything mere mortals can imagine,
but over the centuries He has revealed Himself to mankind
in many different ways.
In Exodus He spoke to Moses from a burning bush,
and He went before and behind the Israelites as a Pillar of Fire or Cloud,
and when Jesus was baptised, He came down in the form of a dove,
but in Isaiah's vision God revealed Himself as He wants us to picture Him,
as a mighty King sitting on a throne