Monday, July 18, 2016

Reclaiming A Vision of God's Majesty

"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. 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. And one cried to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!" And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. 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." 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. And he touched my mouth with it, and said: "Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away, And your sin purged." 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." -Isaiah 6:1-8

Isaiah records for us a most awesome experience--Isaiah saw the Lord. He saw the Lord in all His majesty. He saw the Lord sitting on the throne of heaven. Isaiah heard the voices of the angels constantly singing God's holiness. Smoke, trembling doorposts, singing. Isaiah's vision of God was truly a most awesome experience.

Notice, first of all that Isaiah's vision of God came after the death of King Uzziah. You will remember that King Uzziah was a tremendous leader for Israel. He was the sort of king that people followed. He was strong, a good leader, and a godly man. Uzziah built cities, strengthened his army, and overthrew his enemies. However, near the end of Uzziah's life, he failed miserably when he attempted to do something that which was reserved only for the priests. Because of this failure, he lived as a leper the rest of his days. For Isaiah, Uzziah's death would have been a milestone, a date to remember. Uzziah would have been a hero of sorts for Isaiah. After Uzziah's death, Isaiah saw the Lord. Sometimes God has to remove our heroes before we can truly see the Lord in His majesty.

Secondly, notice Isaiah's response to this vision. Isaiah acknowledges his utter sinfulness in the presence of a holy God. Here we see a man that is broken because of his sin. Isaiah is literally undone at this revelation of God's holiness. Repeatedly in the Scriptures we see this same pattern. Joshua fell on his face before the commander of the armies of the Lord. Moses fell on his face at the burning bush. Paul fell on his face before the risen Christ on the road to Damascus. Isaiah see himself for who he really is as he sees the majesty of God. This is true of us as well. As we look to the Lord of hosts and see him in all his splendor and holiness, we get a very accurate picture of our own sinfulness and inadequacy to stand before a holy God. 

Third, I want you to notice Isaiah' cleansing. This angel brought cleansing to Isaiah's unclean lips by the coal from the altar. As Isaiah saw this vision of God and reeled back because of his own sinfulness, God extended grace to Isaiah and cleansed him, forgiving Isaiah of his sin. If we are to truly see God's majesty, we must do so on the basis of God's grace in Christ Jesus. In Ephesians 2 we are told that by Jesus Christ we have access to the Father. We can be forgiven of our sins and experience fellowship with God because of grace. God has done something for us that we could not do ourselves. Isaiah was undone--there was nothing Isaiah could do to fix his sinfulness. We to are undone before the holiness of God, but in Christ we can be forgiven and cleansed just as Isaiah was. 

Last, notice Isaiah's willingness to serve. When he saw the majesty of God and recognized his own sinfulness and received forgiveness of sins, Isaiah responded by offering himself in the service of the true King of heaven. Uzziah was dead. The earthly hero was no more. But Isaiah learned that God is the King and that He was looking for a messenger. 

Believer, I urge you to see the majesty of God. Don't settle for a small view of God. See him in all His glory. He is the only true God, the God of whom the angels sing night and day, "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts: The whole earth is full of His glory!" Only when we see the Lord in all His fullness do we understand who we are in all our sinfulness. Lord break us, undo us, and forgive and cleanse us. Make us suitable for your service.

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