Summary: In this sermon from Isaiah chapter 6 we explore the subject of the holiness of God and how it should impact our lives.
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. 2 Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one cried to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts;
The whole earth is full of His glory!”
4 And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.
5 So I said:
“Woe is me, for I am undone!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King,
The LORD of hosts.”
6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. 7 And he touched my mouth with it, and said:
“Behold, this has touched your lips;
Your iniquity is taken away,
And your sin purged.”
8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying:
“Whom shall I send,
And who will go for Us?”
Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”
Of all the passages in the Bible that deal with the holiness of God Isaiah chapter 6 gives us a striking description of the Holy God, high and lifted up with angles ministering in the heavenly temple and around the throne of God.
Revelation chapter 4 gives us a similar description with additional details that before the throne there was a sea of glass like crystal and the four living creatures minister both day and night saying Holy, holy, holy, Lord God almighty, who was and is and is to come.
These heavenly visions were given to men and as men they (and we) are only able to comprehend but a fraction of the holiness, majesty and glory of Almighty God but with that being said, the little that we are able to comprehend still fills us with wonder and amazement towards the great God that we serve. In the sermon this morning we are going to focus mainly on the holiness of God, what it means, what it looks like and finally towards the end what impact it should have on us who were made in His image after all the Apostle Peter reaffirms the Old Testament admonition given by the Lord to His people “Be holy, for I am holy.”
Now to understand the background behind Isaiah chapter 6 it is important to understand a little bit about what it was like to be a prophet of God. Being an Old Testament prophet was a thankless job. It wasn’t anything desirable, it certainly wasn’t anything glamorous. The prophets had the difficult task of preaching the word of God to the people and anyone who has ever read the Bible knows often the message was not always pleasant.
The Scripture tells us that there is nothing new under the sun so what was true back then is also true today. The false prophets were beloved among the people while the true prophets were despised. Why? Because the false prophets told people what they wanted to hear, the true prophets told the people what they needed to hear.
When a prophet was called by God they were very careful to record the details of their calling, which is what we read here in Isaiah chapter 6. If a prophet didn’t resist the call up front, he often would struggle with it later. The Lord told Isaiah if we were to keep reading “go and preach to the people, but they’re not going to listen to you.” So why was Isaiah so willing to accept the call? Because once he saw the Lord sitting on His throne high and lifted up, once he received that vision of heaven’s throne room, once he was confronted with the holiness of God, saying no to God was not an option! I pray that we would have that same mind here this morning.
The setting of this story where the prophet goes back to recall his ordination (if you will) was in the 8th century B.C. It was in the year that King Uzziah died. Uzziah was one of the greatest Kings Judah ever had, he took the throne at age 16 and reigned for 52 years, one of the most prosperous periods since the days of Solomon. But even though Uzziah loved the Lord he became prideful taking upon himself the duty of the priesthood offering a sacrifice which was forbidden for any king and when he did so the Lord struck Him with leprosy and he eventually died.