Isaiah 6: 1-8
Isaiah 6 is a text that has gripped the hearts of men and women since Isaiah first wrote it.
The text can be nicely divided into three points:
1. We begin by seeing God for who he is.
2. Seeing God for who He is forces us to see ourselves for who we are.
3. And recognizing who we are and what He has done for us forces us to say, “Here am I. What do you want me to do for you Lord?”
Isaiah began this chapter telling us that it was the year that King Uzziah died. The significance of that is that Uzziah had been king for 50 years and at least until the end they had been extremely good years. But then he was gone, and all kinds of uncertainty faced the nation. The big question was, “Where do we go from here?”
The reign of Uzziah had been marked by ups and downs spiritually but he is generally viewed as a good king and Israel certainly prospered under his reign. He was the most important king since Solomon and Israel had enjoyed a lot of blessing under his leadership. For the majority of people, Uzziah was the only king they had ever known. Now he was dead. The future was truly as uncertain as ours often appears to be.
Isaiah went into the temple and there God spoke to his heart. Isaiah went into the house of the Lord because, like probably everyone else he wanted to know where to go next. Isaiah went to God’s house undoubtedly looking for encouragement and guidance and there he discovered something we all need to be reminded off. The earthly king on whom they had depended was dead but the Heavenly King from whom all blessing come was alive and on His throne. He reigns forever and of His rule there will be no end. One’s security lies not in men but in God.
First, Isaiah saw God. And what a picture he saw;
a) He saw His Permanence: He was on the throne; an earthly king had died but God was still alive and on His throne.
b) He saw Him Exalted: high and lifted up.
c) He saw a little of His glory: The description of the covered Seraphim in verse 2 and the phrase “full of glory” in verse 3 express this important truth.
d) He saw His Holiness: The angels declared not one, not twice, but three times that He was holy. It is critical that we recognize the holiness of God.
e) Isaiah saw a little of His Power: The Lord of Hosts was a military term that spoke of strength. As a name for God, it denotes incredible power.
f) He saw His Authority: Isaiah tells us that the door post shook when He talked.
g) And Isaiah saw something of the potential wrath of God against sin. He tells us that the temple was filled with smoke, a symbol used in the Old Testament to speak of judgment.
Isaiah described what he saw when he came into the presence of the almighty God who was on the throne. That was what Isaiah needed.
I encourage you to read and reread this passage often to see again and again the glory of God. God is great, powerful and majestic. One of the unique characteristics of God is that He is both transcendent or distant and imminent or close at the same time. At one and the same time He is a Holy God whose face we cannot see and live and yet He is “Our Father who is heaven.” He is all-powerful yet close enough to be felt at all times.
Isaiah saw a God full of Glory. Nothing will impact our confidence in God or our commitment to Him more than regularly coming into the house of God and focusing not upon our needs, or our problems, but upon Him as He really is. Look anew at Him and see how marvelous He is.
Notice Isaiah’s response to the vision he had of God on the throne. In view of the holiness of God he cried out, “Woe is me, I am ruined for I am a man of unclean lips (literally a sinful being) and I live among a people of unclean lips (that is sinners).” One of the inevitable results of coming into the presence of God is the realization of how sinful we really are and how much we need to be forgiven and cleansed. If, as we usually do, we compare ourselves to others around us we always seem to come out looking pretty good. When we come before the holy God, we realize just how sinful we are and how unworthy we are of His love and His blessing.
As soon as Isaiah acknowledged his sinfulness, God acted to cleanse him of it. Isaiah 6:5 is a marvelous picture of the cleansing that God offers to all who acknowledge their sinfulness. Read I John 1:8-10.
In the Old Testament the cleansing was tied into the altar and the sacrifices made there. When we come to the New Testament the cleansing is tied not to the temple sacrifices but to the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross. The sacrifice of Jesus is sufficient for all men in all times. But it must be accepted.
Having been cleansed, Isaiah discovered that he now had a responsibility to God to serve Him. It is important to note the order. We must first be right with God and then we are given the privilege as well as the responsibility of serving. We are not made right before God by our willingness to serve or by the things we do as we serve. Being made right is always a work of grace as Paul declared when he said we are saved by faith through grace not of works. But once we have experienced the forgiveness of God, we will want to serve Him,
The call of God and Isaiah’s response is recorded in v.6. Notice that God did not force Isaiah to serve. God did not even demand it of him although in the New Testament we are commanded to take the gospel into all the world. God will not force us to love Him, to accept Him, to worship Him, to serve Him but He does extend the invitation. The decision is ours. “Who will go for me?” And Isaiah, in light of the vision he had seen of God and of the cleansing that he had received responded, “I will go for you. I will do as you would have me do.”
If you read the rest of the chapter, you discover that God explained a little more fully what was implied in Isaiah’s acceptance. His ministry would be anything but easy. He would see little, or no success and he would suffer greatly as a part of his service. Serving God is not necessarily convenient and certainly seldom without a cost. In light of who God is and all He has done for us can we refuse to accept or even begin to suggest that the price is too much? He asks us to be faithful, not successful the way many define success.
What a beautiful chapter! It gives us insight into Isaiah as a man whom God would use in Israel and gives us a challenge for today and the days that are ahead. God wants 3 three things of us.
1. He wants us to see Him as He is.
2. He wants us to then see ourselves as we are and to acknowledge our sinfulness so He can forgive us.
3. He wants us to serve Him in some way out of love and thankfulness for so great a salvation so He can reach at least a remnant with the salvation that was provided for on the Cross.