Summary: What will be the response of our hearts to the call of God?
WHERE HEAVEN AND EARTH MEET
1. THE AWESOMENESS AND MAJESTY OF GOD (Isaiah 6:1-4)
It was the year that King Uzziah, king of Judah, died (Isaiah 6:1).
In Jerusalem, the prophet Isaiah was in the Temple, the place where the LORD God had set His tabernacle amongst His people (Leviticus 26:11-12). Here heaven and earth met, and the Temple below merged with the Temple above - of which it was a type and symbol. It was an awesome event.
Isaiah saw the LORD, enthroned in heaven, “high and lifted up” (Isaiah 6:1), and His train filled the Temple. Here the LORD was seen to be above the manipulation that hypocritical worshippers were offering (Isaiah 1:12-17; Isaiah 2:22). “The King, the LORD Almighty” (Isaiah 6:5) is set in stark contrast to the presumptuousness of King Uzziah (2 Chronicles 26:16).
The word “seraph” (Isaiah 6:2) comes from the Hebrew verb for burning. Burning was a sign of divine holiness, as had been seen at Mount Sinai (Exodus 3:2; Deuteronomy 5:23-24). The same word is used of the serpents which bit the Israelites in the wilderness (Numbers 21:6), and is echoed in Isaiah 14:29; Isaiah 30:6.
“Glory” speaks of heaviness: He ‘carries weight’ in the world. “The earth is full of His glory” - and at the cry of the voice the posts of the door moved, and the house filled with smoke (Isaiah 6:4). Manifestations of God’s ‘glory’ is evidence of His presence (Ezekiel 10:18; Ezekiel 43:4-5).
2. A SENSE OF INADEQUACY (Isaiah 6:5)
Isaiah’s awareness of his own sin, and that of his nation, set him apart from his unrepentant contemporaries. Against a background of ‘woes’ (Isaiah 5:8; Isaiah 5:11; Isaiah 5:18; Isaiah 5:20-22), his “Woe!” is a confession of being “undone” - lost, utterly ruined. Isaiah sees two reasons for his ruin:
(a) “Unclean lips.” The ‘lips’ stands for the whole person, but ‘unclean’ lips is set against the background of King Uzziah’s leprosy (2 Chronicles 26:21; Leviticus 13:45). Isaiah stands as a representative of his people.
(b) Isaiah has seen the LORD. The LORD had told Moses, ‘there shall no man see me, and live’ (Exodus 33:20). The children of Israel also perceived this to be true (Deuteronomy 5:25). This was what was in the mind of Samson’s father when he said to his wife, ‘We shall surely die, because we have seen God’ (Judges 13:22).
Now Isaiah pronounces “woe” upon himself, because he has “seen God” (Isaiah 6:5). Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 15:50) - yet faith can (Job 19:25-27). Amazingly, we are told in the last book of the Bible that the servants of ‘God and the Lamb’ - ‘shall see His (singular) face; and His name is upon their foreheads’ (Revelation 22:4).