Summary: What Isaiah 6 teaches us about God, orselves, and our work to be done
“Seeing Things Clearly”
Intro: Recently our family went to Science Central downtown. It’s a children’s scientific museum, but it’s hardly for kids. Adults play there just as much as kids. One section there that I love is a display of brain teasers and optical illusions. You’ve probably seen the illustration of the two lines before: one with ends pointing in and one with ends pointing out. Though one looks bigger than the other, they really are the same size. How about the Lady on the bulletin cover. How old is she? Sometimes even though our eyes are open, we don’t always see things clearly. Sometimes, when we come to spiritual matters, we need God to correct our vision and help us to see clearly. God did this for Isaiah in chapter 6 of the book that bears his name. Let’s look there and see his call to ministry and how God clarified his vision. And before we start, let’s ask God’s blessing. PRAY!
Setting: Before we look at Isaiah’s vision, let’s consider the setting for the book of Isaiah. The book of Isaiah is one of the longer books in the Bible, and it can tend to be a confusing book for many. But the book of Isaiah is quoted more in the New Testament than all other OT books put together. I would encourage you to read through it with us in the next few weeks.
Isaiah was a prophet of God who lived during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah (we are told in Is. 1). We see here in chapter 6 his call comes in the year that King Uzziah died, which is 740 BC. This is only 18 years before the nation of Assyria comes down and destroys the northern kingdom and wreaks great damage to the southern kingdom. God was tired of putting up with the idolatry of the people.
After the reigns of David and Solomon, the height of the nation of Israel, the nation was split into a northern and southern kingdom. The kings of the north were all evil and worshiped idols. The kings of the south were mixed: some intensely wicked, and some who tried to follow God. Uzziah was a follower of God, yet one who sought to follow him in his own way. Talk about wrong perceptions: he thought he could worship God in his own way! One day Uzziah went into the temple and decided he would offer incense to God himself, the job God gave to the priests, and for his pride God struck him with leprosy, a deteriorating skin disease, until the day of his death.
At this time of seeking for vision and direction - for direction for leadership of the nation, both in a king, in a God, as a people - God reveals himself to Isaiah. He gives Isaiah a vision.
Read Text: Isaiah 6:1-13
I. A Vision of God - God starts by revealing a vision of himself to Isaiah. Isaiah sees him as he truly is. Far too often we have a vision of a god that is just like us. Psychologist Tony Campolo tells of the practice of the Eskimo tribes called totemism. They build totem poles, and on them they carve the images of animals that convey the strengths that the tribe sees in themselves. They carve a bear for strength, an owl for wisdom, etc. And what the people actually end up doing is worshiping an image of themselves.
Many times in America we worship ourselves in our God. We come to believe that God is all loving, and doesn’t want anyone to be unhappy. Husbands divorce their wives and marry another saying, “I can’t believe God doesn’t want me to be happy.”
We come to believe in a God who has no standards, who loves everyone and everything, who lets us do whatever we want and loves to bless us anyway, a god who wants us to be healthy, wealthy, and wise, a god who wants us to be good-looking and popular. But that’s not the God of the Bible!
What did Isaiah see when he saw the Lord?
*He saw a POWERFUL God - he saw a God who was a god of power and might. This was a God to tremble before. A God seated on his throne of judgment. A God high and exalted above all others. A God whose majesty filled the whole heavenly temple. This was a God to be feared.
2 Chr. 20:6 - "O LORD, God of our fathers, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no-one can withstand you.
Ps. 77 - What god is so great as our God? You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples. With your mighty arm you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph. Selah The waters saw you, O God, the waters saw you and writhed; the very depths were convulsed. The clouds poured down water, the skies resounded with thunder; your arrows flashed back and forth. Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind, your lightning lit up the world; the earth trembled and quaked. Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen. You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.