Daily Devotional

September 28, 2018

Daybreak: Isaiah 6:1-13

“In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.” (Isaiah 6:1)

One summer during my teen years, the King Tut exhibit came to a city only five hours’ drive away from our farming community, and a group of us took the challenge of trying to get in to view it. Since the exhibit was highly advertised, it drew people from hundreds of miles around. We left home in the middle of the night to make the journey, arriving early in the morning. Even so, we waited in an extremely slow line for many, many hours before entering the front doors of the museum.

Once we were inside, we were quite thrilled at what we saw! The magnificence of those displays was beyond anything my little country girl’s heart could imagine. There was more gold in one place than I will probably ever see again in my lifetime. King Tutankhamen’s burial mask was shaped of smooth gold, and painted with the youthful, elegant features we have come to associate with these rulers of long ago. Aside from the sheer value of the gold, there was the priceless significance of these centuries-old treasures. My opportunity to view this amazing collection was certainly the chance of a lifetime.

Yet, viewing these awesome artifacts in no way gave me a feeling that I had been in the presence of a superior being. Although King Tut had indeed been a ruler in Egypt at one time, he had still been just flesh and blood. He faced the ordinary problems of life that everyone encounters — he likely experienced sickness, stubbed his toes, and even argued with another child. In spite of all I saw that day, his life and the artifacts on display did not alter me in a profound way.

However, when we come before God and truly get a vision of His majesty, our response is far different. A common impression people have is a sense of inadequacy before a Holy God, the One who created the universe and everything in it. We are mere mortals, privileged to have an audience with the King of the Ages! As we enter into His divine presence and perceive His awesome righteousness and holiness, we feel highly privileged to enter there, bowed down low in humility at His feet, His to command. It is a place that cannot adequately be depicted with words.

Each of us is invited to an audience with the King of Kings! Into this holy place we are blessed to bring our praise and our petitions. Enter in!

Background

Chapter 6 of Isaiah gives a taste of the splendor, magnificence, and grandeur Isaiah experienced in his vision of the Almighty. We note the triune nature of God in this passage: when God spoke, He used the plural pronoun, “us,” and the seraphim uttered the threefold declaration, “Holy, Holy, Holy.” Smoke — radiant glory — filled the Temple. The title, “Lord of Hosts” appears sixty-two times in the book of Isaiah, also illustrating the absolute reverence Isaiah had toward God.

Isaiah’s life was to be different from this point on. Uzziah had once been a good king, but was struck with leprosy because he intruded into the priests’ office, dying ten years later. So although King Uzziah would no longer be on his throne, the vision proved to Isaiah that God was still on His Throne in His Royal robes. His train filled the Temple, and the whole earth was “full of His glory.” This powerful vision had a lifelong impact on Isaiah’s ministry. In fact, a person cannot properly appreciate the sinfulness of mankind or the need for God’s righteous judgment until he gains a biblical perspective of God’s majesty and holiness. This vision of the Lord’s holiness gave Isaiah boldness to denounce the nation for their sins.

The seraphim (singular: seraph) are celestial beings perpetually around the Throne of God. Literally translated, seraphim means “burning ones”: they seem to be continually aglow with the presence of the Glory of God. They are thought to generally resemble humans with six wings. In Isaiah’s vision, their posture implied humility; they employed two wings to cover their eyes and two covered their feet.

At the vision of this magnificence, Isaiah declared, “I am undone” (ruined, dead). He felt fit only to be destroyed; an unregenerate man before a thrice-Holy God with no legitimate excuse. Speechless and unclean, he confessed his sinful nature. Then the angel applied burning coals from off the altar to his lips, representing God’s provision for purging man’s sin.

Isaiah’s task was to remind a forgetful nation of God’s character. God told Isaiah that the people would not listen — they would be carried away captive — but gave some hope in the message that a tenth would return. God told Isaiah to proclaim the message until the cities were devastated.

Amplified Outline

(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II.   The message of condemnation: the Holy One ofIsrael provoked, rebuking and
      judging 
      A.   Prophecies related to Judah 
            4.   God’s call of Isaiah (6:1-13)
                  a.   Isaiah’s confession (6:1-5)
                  b.   Isaiah’s cleansing (6:6-8)
                  c.   Isaiah’s commission (6:9-13)

A Closer Look

  1. What did the seraphim do?
     
  2. Why do you think Isaiah felt unclean?
     
  3. God has provided a cure for the unclean nature each of us is born with. What is that cure and how can we receive it?

Conclusion

Oh, to see the Lord, high and lifted up! Certainly this was an experience that focused Isaiah’s spiritual vision so that he never wavered. 

Reference Materials