Isaiah was a great Prophet and man of God. He lived around 700BC. No other prophet predicted the birth of the Messiah, Christ Jesus, to the extent as Isaiah did:
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, will call him Immanuel. Isa. 7:14 (NIV)
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isa. 9:6 (NIV)
We read in Isaiah 61: 1-4 the ministry of the Messiah and in Isaiah 53, we read about the sufferings of the Messiah for the sins of humanity.
We may wonder how he became such a great prophet, it is after seeing the vision of God, which is recorded in Chapter 6 of Isaiah. It is relevant even today for those who want to serve the Lord in His vineyard.
We can classify the vision into 4 divisions.
Vision about the Holiness of God (6:1-4)Vision about his own sinfulness (6:5)
Vision about the grace of God (6:6,7)
Vision about being sent (6:8)
1) Vision about the Holiness of God (Verse 6:1-4).
Isa 6:1-4 (NIV) In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
King Uzziah died. Who was King Uzziah?. According to II Chronicles chapter 26, king Uzziah was one of the greatest kings of Judah. He reigned for fifty-two years in Jerusalem and he did right in the sight of the LORD (II Chron. 26:4). He was the most outstanding monarch after David and Solomon. However, one day when he was strong, he became so proud, he was not satisfied of being the king alone he also wanted to be a priest in the temple. He went into the temple of God to burn incense on the “altar of incense” (II Chro. 26:16) which has to be done only by priests of the temple, who are the sons of Aaron and are consecrated to burn incense. Though Azariah the priest along with 80 other priests withstood Uzziah, he disregarded them. Immediately the LORD smote him with leprosy in his forehead and he was thrown out from the temple. Uzziah the king was a leper until the day of his death, and dwelt in a separate house, being a leper; for he was cut off from the house of the LORD.
Now Isaiah as a young man, from the royal line, was an official in Uzziah’s court. As an official in the royal court, he lived so far happily without anything to worry about and he was so secure. He had full confidence in king Uzziah and never sought the presence of the Lord so far. But, after the death of Uzziah, he felt insecure. He did not know what to do, that made him to enter the temple of God, into the presence of the living God.
Dear brothers and sisters, like Isaiah, even today, when we are prosperous and successful, we never seek the presence of the Lord. But, when we face problems or when we are struck with diseases and when all our hopes fail that makes us many a time, to go to the presence of the Lord. We can’t be like that, in all our situations, we have to seek the presence of God.
Now Isaiah with many worries in his heart, went into the presence of the Lord. Suddenly his soul was taken up to heaven, he saw a great vision of God. Physically he was in the temple, but his spirit was taken up to the heaven.
He has seen “The Lord is sitting upon the throne, high and lifted up”
God’s throne is the representation of His authority and power. He is high and lifted up, this means; no one is equal to him. No one is comparable unto him. Isaiah had to look at the highly exalted Jesus, who is in full control of the universe. King Uzziah may have been dead but God was in full control. Isaiah had to learn a lesson, as it is written in Ps. 146:3 “Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help”.
Dearly beloved of God, it is good to depend on the Lord at all times. We read in Jer 17:5 “Cursed be the man that put his trust in man”, we are not called to trust in any man but God alone. Also, we read in Isa. 2:22 “Stop trusting in man, who has but a breath in his nostrils. Of what account is he”? (NIV).
The temple was filled with His presence
We read in Kings and Chronicles, when Solomon dedicated the temple – the glory of the Lord came down from heaven and the presence of the Lord filled the temple. Isaiah had seen the same glory and presence of the LORD. Our God is an awesome God. He will never share His glory with anyone. We read in Isa 42:8 “I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols. (NIV) . Isaiah had to learn that God’s presence alone was enough to carry him through and not king Uzziah.
We read in Exo. 33:15 Moses said to God, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here” (NIV). God’s presence with us means, all His goodness is with us. Moses knew the secret that if God’s presence was with him, Pharoah could not harm him, Red sea could not stand against him as a barrier and he could be a successful leader. Dear brethren, we must know that His presence with us is the secret of all success. As the temple was filled with His presence, our lives should be filled with God’s presence as our body is the temple of the living God.
Above the throne seraphims were there : each one had six wings
Seraphims are angel like and flame like beings. In the whole Bible we read in this place only about Seraphims. Each one had six wings, with two wings they covered their face, with two wings they covered their feet and with two wings they did fly.
Why did they cover their faces, because they could not see the holiness and majesty of God. With all fear and reverence, they cover their faces. In Psalms 89:7 we read, “God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him” (KJV). We read in the Bible many a time, saints of God hid their faces with fear and reverence, Abraham fell on his face (Gen. 17:3), Moses hid his face (Exo. 3:6) and Elijah wrapped his face with his mantle (I Kings 19:13). Why did the Seraphims cover their feet, because they humbled themselves before the Lord. They did fly with two wings represents that they are ready to serve the Lord and willing to execute His commands. We read in Psalms 103:20 “Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of His word” (KJV). But, they all had sung one song “Holy, Holy, Holy is the LORD of hosts!: the whole earth is full of His glory”. They praised the thrice Holy God –God the Father, Jesus the Savior and Blessed Holy Spirit – the comforter and guide. When they praised God, the door posts of the temple were shaken and the temple was filled with glory. Dear brethren, if all these creatures praised the Lord, how much more we need to glorify and praise our Savior! The Bible says in Isa. 43:7 that God created us for His glory and in the same chapter verse 21 we read, He instructed us to proclaim His praises wherever we are. Our God is the one who lives in the praises of His people! When we praise Him, He comes down with His glory in order to dwell in us and to bless us.
After Isaiah had seen the vision of our highly exalted Lord Jesus Christ, he cried out, “woe unto me!” because he was a sinner.
2) Vision about his own sinfulness (Verse 5)
Isa 6:5 (NIV)”Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”
Isaiah cried out “I am undone, ruined and dead. I am a man of unclean lips and live among sinners. I have seen the King, the LORD Almighty, who is seated on the throne highly exalted”.
Whoever sees the exalted Lord, they will cry out so. In the New Testament, we read in Revelation 1:12-17, the vision that John had at the isle of Patmos of the resurrected Lord Jesus. During the earthly life and ministry of Lord Jesus, John was on the bosom of Him. He was the beloved of the Lord. But, after the death and resurrection of our Savior, John had seen Him again in Patmos, he wrote in verse 17, when I saw him , I fell at his feet as a dead man.
Dearly beloved, when we have a proper vision of our Almighty God and His holiness, then only we will come to know who we are, how sinful we are, how unworthy we are and how useless we are. We may now have many things to boast about ourselves, but these are all for till the day we have an encounter with Him. Even Isaiah had many things to boast till he had this vision. After that, he has written in In Isa. 64:6, ”all our righteous acts are like filthy rags”.
Dearly beloved, we need to have a fresh vision once again, about our Lord Jesus who is sitting on the right hand of God, high and exalted. Then only we will cry out as Isaiah did – I am undone and useless.
When Isaiah cried the Grace of our Lord Jesus came to him.
3)Vision of Grace (Verse 6 & 7)
Isa 6:6-7(NIV) -Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”
Seraphim had taken a live coal from the altar and laid it on Isaiah’s mouth and said to him your guilt is taken away and your sins are atoned for. As we know, in the temple courtyard, there is a brazen altar for burnt offering. Altar means a place of sacrifice or slaughter. The altar of burnt offering (Ex. 27:1-8) was placed in front of the entrance to the tabernacle (Ex. 40:6), where it was used for the daily burnt offering. This altar declared that entry into the presence of God must be preceded by sacrificial ATONEMENT for sin. The live coal is taken from this altar and put on Isaiah’s mouth for his cleansing. In our lives, it represents that our Lord Jesus Christ died on the Brazen Altar of Calvary as an atonement for your sins and mine. Don’t you know, there is a prayer from this altar all the time “Father forgive him”.
Whoever acknowledges and confesses that he is a sinner, the grace of Lord comes to him from the cross and forgives his sins. We read in John 1 that grace came through Jesus. Holiness of God killed Uzziah but cleansed Isaiah that is grace. Isaiah found grace in the sight of the Lord.
Live coals from the altar to the mouth must cause pain. Yes, when God cleanses us there will be a pain always, may be we have to loose our old friendships, old activities and many things we may have to give them up. If we want to be His child or if we want to be used by Him in his vineyard, this cleansing is a must. We all should know, the primary requirement for God’s service is holiness.
After Isaiah found the grace of God, he heard the calling of the Lord.
4) Vision about being sent (Verse 8)
Isa 6:8 (NIV)Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
Dear brethren, as I wrote before, God will never use a person without cleansing him first. Without deeply hurting, God cannot use anyone. He will take an impossible man and break him and use him. After the cleansing only, Isaiah was able to hear the voice of the Lord, Who will go for us, who will go for the triune God. Isaiah said “here am I Lord, send me” . I am willing to go for you and ready to do your ministry. A cleansed man and a man who has the vision of the holiness of God can serve the Master faithfully and fearfully.
Dear brothers and sisters, God wants to use every one of us. We all have this higher calling of the Lord. The Bible says we are the ambassadors of Christ. In 1 Peter 2:9, we read that “we are the royal priesthood”. If our ears are tuned properly, even today we can hear the voice of the Lord “Who will go for us?”
But are we worthy that is what we need to check out today. Do we have the proper vision of God? Do we have the vision of the Holiness of God? Are we cleansed by the blood of the lamb that is shed from Calvary? Have we found grace in the sight of the Lord? Have you heard the voice of God through the scripture? Then only, we can go. Bible says in Mathew 9:37 “the harvest is plenty, the laborers are few”. Let us go to the vineyard of the Lord and lead souls to the Kingdom of God .
May the Lord bless you with this study.