Isaiah 6:1-7: Isaiah's encounter with the Living God
New American Standard Bible
6 In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. 2 Seraphim were standing above Him, each having six wings: with two each covered his face, and with two each covered his feet, and with two each flew. 3 And one called out to another and said,
“Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of armies. The whole earth is full of His glory.”
4 And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke. 5 Then I said,
“Woe to me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of armies.”
6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs. 7 He touched my mouth with it and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; and your guilt is taken away and atonement is made for your sin.”
Isaiah here shares with us his encounter with the Living God. Every person who has been used by God throughout history has been called by Him. It makes me think of the apostle Paul on the road to Damascus. Paul who was known as Saul of Tarsus, was on his way to arrest and persecute Christians. He was driven to destroy the church because he believed that those who followed Jesus Christ wanted to destroy Moses and all that the law stood for. But it was on the road to Damascus that Paul came face to face with Jesus and his eyes were open to the truth.
The year that King Uzziah died was 740 BC. It was in this year that Isaiah saw the awesomeness of God in the temple. Isaiah sees the Lord sitting upon the throne and the train of the robe filling the temple. This shows us the awesomeness and sovereignty of Almighty God. Many times, we may get focused on what is happening on this earth and begin to believe that somehow God is absent and not concerned with the affairs of earth. But God is fully involved, and He is fully in control. None compares to the Living God and Isaiah’s encounter with the Lord would not only impact him for an eternity, but it would also prepare his heart to be the prophet God called him to be. In Isaiah’s moments of discouragement through rejection of his message and call I am sure he was often reminded of this encounter he had with the Lord. For he represent the king of all kings.
The word Seraphim means burning one. In verse two the holiness of God is being revealed. In verse one Isaiah sees the Lord sitting upon His throne in fully control of all that is taking place in all of creation. In verse two we see the heavenly creatures who have to cover their face and their feet because of the. Holiness of God. They cannot look on the awesomeness of who God is and their wings covering their feet suggest humility. Isaiah is experiencing the awesomeness of who God is. God’s desire is that His people would encounter Him. That they would desire to know Him in a deeper way. The more we encounter the Lord, the more our lives will be transformed by Him. We when we come together with other members of the body of Christ our expectation should be to encounter the Living God. Sadly, too many people treat everything with the Lord as simply going through the motions.
The Seraphim who we are introduced to in verse two cry out holy, holy, holy. It speaks about the fullness and the completeness of who God is. God is holy and is set apart from all wickedness and sin. Within Him there is only perfection. This would have been overwhelming to Isaiah for the holiness of God would have made his sinfulness evident. The only way anyone is able to stand in the presence of God without fear or hesitation is because of the precious blood of Jesus Christ. Jesus said I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me. It is only through Christ that we are able to approach God without fear. It is only through Christ that our sins can be washed away and in the eyes of Almighty God we are seen as righteous.
The awesomeness of God is revealed and on display as the very thresholds of the temple tremble at His voice. In the midst of living in a world that is steeped in darkness sometimes we truly forget how awesome God is. Many times, we can begin to focus on whatever challenge we are facing at the time and can believe that somehow God is not able to move in this circumstance. Somehow whatever we are facing is greater than God. Then we read these words written in Isaiah and see how awesome God truly is. Everything was created by His spoken word. When Jesus shall return His word that He speaks will be a mighty sword out of His mouth. We must daily immerse our minds and hearts in the word of God because it is through the renewing of our minds that our lives are transformed. Through the study of God’s word we come to a right understanding of who God is.
Isaiah being in the presence of Almighty God and seeing His majesty and glory is reminded of his own sinfulness. Isaiah says woe is me for I am ruined. When we come face to face with the Living God there is nothing that is hidden. This is the wonderful benefit in drawing near to God on a daily basis in intimate fellowship. Drawing near to the Lord will remind us of the greatness of who God is and our brokenness and emptiness without Him. All that Isaiah has seen in the throne room of God has prepared Isaiah’s heart to be a messenger of the Lord. This experience of Isaiah’s life would never be forgotten. Even in the midst of great discouragement and challenge during his ministry, he would never forget his encounter with the Lord.
We saw earlier that the name seraphim means burning one. What was used to cleanse the lips of Isaiah? It was a burning coal. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. When we think of the sinfulness of humanity, it is amazing that God would choose to use any of us for His purposes and His plans. But it is God who chooses, it is God who forgives, it is God who declares righteous. It is God who provided the coal from the altar and it is God who cleansed the lips of Isaiah.
This is an important event in this whole experience Isaiah has. For this experience of encounter God’s glory prepared Him to be used by the Lord. Isaiah encountering the holiness and awesomeness of God was made well aware of his own sinfulness. But God didn’t leave him at this revelation. For the Lord had a coal placed upon his lips that was not meant to hurt him but was meant to cleanse his mouth of all sinfulness. For it is with his mouth that Isaiah would proclaim the word of the Lord to God’s people. The cleansing of his lips simply shows us that Isaiah is now ready to declare the holy word given by the Lord. The Spirit of the Lord came upon the holy prophets of old and gave them the very words to speak. When the prophet was rejected, the word of the Lord was rejected. The only way healing and restoration can be found is by embracing and walking obedience to the word of God.