Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | January 10, 2010

God is Holy | Isaiah 6

Isaiah the Prophet

   Kingsland’s Pastor, Alex Kennedy, is preparing our church family to observe a sacred (or solemn) assembly on Sunday, January 31. In Old Testament times, sacred assemblies were occasions when God’s people gathered to repent of personal and corporate sins, to renew their covenant relationship with the Lord, and to return to the Lord in faithful love and obedience. “There is a stirring in my heart,” said Pastor Alex, “for a fresh wind of the Holy Spirit to blow through Kingsland.” Today, Pastor Alex taught us about the holiness of God. His message prompted me to review Isaiah 6 which addresses God’s holiness and Isaiah’s commission to call God’s people to return to the Lord. Please read this chapter slowly and prayerfully, soak in the meaning of each word, and live with awareness of God’s holiness.  

6:1 In the year that King Uzziah [also known as Azariah; his 52-year reign was the longest reign of any of the kings of the Southern Kingdom of Judah; cf. 2 Kings 15:2; 2 Chron. 26:3; Uzziah brought peace, prosperity, and security to Judah] died [about 740 BC; Uzziah died after a long illness caused by his improper offering of incense in the temple (2 Chron. 26:16-23)], I saw the Lord seated on a throne [Judah’s throne was empty but the God of the universe who reigns forever occupied heaven’s throne], high and exalted [higher and more exalted than any earthly monarch], and the train of his robe [majesty] filled [length of robe signified the wealth and power of a king] the temple.  

6:2 Above him were seraphs [from Heb. word “to burn” (may indicate they had a fiery appearance); one of the highest orders of angels; their purpose is to magnify the Lord], each with six wings: With two wings they covered [because of God’s holiness; this act signified humility before God] their faces [so as not to look on God’s unveiled glory], with two they covered their feet [perhaps indicates ancient display of modesty], and with two they were flying [suggests their readiness to carry out the Lord’s commands].  

6:3 And they were calling to one another: “Holy [means “to separate;” primary meaning is “otherness” or “apartness”], holy [emphasizes that God does no wrong but always does right], holy [repetition of the word emphasized God’s holiness] is the LORD Almighty [or “Lord of Hosts”]; the whole earth is full of his glory.”  

6:4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook [cf. Ex. 19:18] and the temple was filled with smoke [Moses’ tabernacle (Ex. 40:34-38) and Solomon’s temple (1 Kings 8:10-11) were filled with smoke (represented God’s presence) upon completion and dedication].  

6:5 “Woe to me [Isaiah expressed personal feelings of distress and sorrow after seeing God’s holiness]!” I cried [Isaiah cried out “Woe to me” first — he confessed his own sin before confronting others about theirs]. “I am ruined [word literally means “cut off” or “separated”]! For [note reasons why Isaiah felt he was ruined…] [1] I am a man of unclean lips [Isaiah confessed his own sinfulness and acknowledged that he was unworthy of the God he served], and I live among a people of unclean lips [Isaiah was part of a larger sinful community], and [2] my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”  

6:6 Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar [reference to the altar of incense that stood before the entrance to the holy of holies in the earthly tabernacle (Ex. 30:1-10)].  

6:7 With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for [not because of anything Isaiah had done but because of God’s grace; God cleansed Isaiah of whatever made him unable or reluctant to serve].”  

6:8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us? [these questions remind us that God works through people]” And I said [Isaiah responded immediately and affirmatively to God’s call], “Here am I. Send me! [when God asked for a volunteer to bear His message, Isaiah responded without hesitation, even before he knew the nature of the mission; our attitude should be, “The answer is ‘yes’ Lord, now, what’s the question?”]  

6:9 He said [God commissioned Isaiah for service], “Go and tell this people: ” ‘Be ever hearing [they would hear Isaiah’s unpopular message], but never understanding [sadly, the people would continue in their rebellion]; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’  

6:10 [note description of how the people would respond to God’s message preached by Isaiah…] Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes [Isaiah’s message would crystallize the Israelite’s rebellion; all of their senses would be shut off to Isaiah’s message of warning and salvation]. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.”  

6:11 Then I said, “For how long [Isaiah asked how long he must proclaim God’s message of judgment on sin], O Lord?” And he [God] answered [note that Isaiah was to continue preaching until God’s judgment had fallen on the nation…]: “Until the cities lie ruined and without inhabitant, until the houses are left deserted and the fields ruined and ravaged,  

6:12 until the LORD has sent everyone far away [exile (Assyrians destroyed Northern Kingdom about 17 years after Isaiah’s visionary call; Southern Kingdom would fall to the Babylonians more than 150 years later); Isaiah was to continue preaching God’s message until there was no one left to hear it] and the land is utterly forsaken.  

6:13 And though a tenth remains in the land [a remnant of people], it will again be laid waste. But as the terebinth and oak leave stumps [signify the potential for new growth] when they are cut down, so the holy seed will be the stump in the land.”


Responses

  1. Our family sat around the table on New Year’s and discussed this passage of scripture. We talked about how God did not personally call Isaiah, but simply asked who would go. Isaiah spoke up and said that He was willing. In the same way, God has also given us a command to go and make disciples, and I told my daughters to remember that just as Isaiah, we also need to be willing to just step up. As Pastor Alex spoke about the holiness of God on Sunday, I realized that it was the reverence and awe of His holiness that moved Isaiah into action. So, as our church dwells on God’s holiness, I will pray that it also enables us to do anything and go anywhere for Him.

  2. Kelly…

    Amen. Let’s indeed pray that as we pursue holiness we will consequently give our all to the God who loves us.

    Blessings,
    Omar~


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