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. Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called out to another and said, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory.” And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke.
Then I said,
“Woe is 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 hosts.”
Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs. He touched my mouth with it and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven.” Then 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 stands out as one of the greatest men of God who ever walked the earth. Who else has seen the Lord, sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple? Have others seen Seraphim proclaiming, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory”? Has another’s mouth been touched by God’s fire? Before we place Isaiah in some exalted place, far above us, let’s pause and take note of what Jesus said about such men: Isaiah, along with the other prophets desired to see what we see, and did not see it, and to hear what we hear, and did not hear it.
Peter tells us that in regard to this salvation by grace, “the prophets made careful searches and inquiries, seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but us.” Even the angels longed to see what we have in Christ.
If we trust Christ for our salvation and entrust ourselves to his care, our iniquity is taken away and our sins are forgiven. We have no basis for looking at Isaiah and thinking of him as a man on a pedestal. Our revelation exceeds his. Our experience can be as substantive as his. This great prophet may have had an encounter with God’s presence, but he was foretelling the day God’s presence would indwell us and become our life. Perhaps we should heed Peter’s council:
Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
If God wanted each of us to be caught up into the heavens as Isaiah and Paul had, it would be easy for Him to do. Those men didn’t qualify to be caught up into glory by their impeccable character. They were simply chosen to behold and to report so that we could experience a walk by faith, absorbed in the revelation of Christ in us—the hope of glory. You might protest, but I believe we are more blessed in believing, having beheld neither God nor angels. Keeping sober in spirit, fixing our hope entirely on the grace of God, preparing our minds for action—we will not be disappointed if the outcome of our lives is un-Isaiah-like.
Father, may we grasp the fullness of the mystery of Christ in us, that this world might grasp the extent of your love for them. May our hearts learn to revel in the glory that is in us in Christ. Lay hold of us, Lord, in new ways such that our minds are appropriately equipped for the kingdom actions you have given us to process. Destroy every enemy stronghold that would stand between you and the full reward of your suffering. May you hear from our surrendered mouths, “Here am I. Send me!” Amen.